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The Best Beginner’s Guide to Winter Horse Blankets

The Best Beginner’s Guide to Winter Horse Blankets

When Does a Horse Need a Blanket? My first winter season at the barn had me dumbfounded by the never-ending maze of horse blankets. I mean, when do you use them?

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When Does a Horse Need a Blanket?

My first winter season at the barn had me dumbfounded by the never-ending maze of horse blankets. I mean, when do you use them? And good grief, how heavy should they be? Everyone seemed to have their own theory, their own way of doing things, making it nearly impossible to navigate through the labyrinth of conflicting advice. And now, here we are again, with the topic resurfacing, throwing me right back into this bewildering world of equine outerwear. It’s like a never-ending rollercoaster of confusion.

waterproof Horse sheet

When big Falls icy grip begins to creep in, horse owners everywhere are faced with a common dilemma: When should we start using winter horse blankets? My friend Tricia has already made her move and even sought my opinion – and of course, I felt humbled considering her wealth of experience. But let me tell you, it’s a whole other level of confusion!

Whether you’re new to horse apparel or a seasoned equestrian, understanding the nuances of horse clothing, the right temperatures, and different fill types can be invaluable. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the world of horse winter blankets, including waterproof options, sheets, hoodies, and turnout gear.

When Is the Ideal Time to Start Using Horse Blankets?

Determining when to start using winter horse blankets depends on various factors:

  1. Temperature Thresholds: Keep an eye on the thermometer. As a general rule, when daytime temperatures consistently drop below 40°F (4°C) or nighttime temperatures dip below 20°F (-6°C), it’s time to think about equine winter clothing.
  2. Horse Coat Condition: Assess your horse’s natural coat. Horses with thin or clipped coats may need blankets earlier in the season compared to those with a thick, natural coat.
  3. Body Condition: Consider your horse’s overall body condition. Horses with lower body fat may require blankets sooner to maintain their body temperature.
  4. Wind and Moisture: Windy or wet conditions can make horses feel much colder. If your area is prone to strong winds, rain, or snow, investing in waterproof horse blankets or turnout gear can provide extra protection.

It’s time to tap into the wisdom of your glorious barn. That’s right, your barn might just be brimming with suggestions. Take a moment to consult your trusted barn manager and see what she’s got to say about the blanketing, styles, and brands. Hey, while you’re at it, why not chat up your fellow borders and find out what they’re up to? What types do they suggest? Why? Knowledge is power, my friends! When you visit those stores and online sites, you will be running into an assortment of blankets, that I promise you will be overwhelmed with.

Personally my first fall season, I interviewed my fellow borders, for their suggestions and also messaged my horses former owner to see what she had used with him, to gather more Intel about my horse. Does he grow a nice thick coat in the winter? At what temperature did she blanket? What were her favorite brands and why?

This is not a cheap endeavor, and you want to make the right choices.

Breaking Down Winter Horse Blanketing Temperature Ranges, Fill Types, and Sizing

Understanding temperature ranges and fill types for horse blankets is crucial to ensure your equine companion stays warm and comfortable. When you are looking for the perfect blanket you will notice on each listing contains several items you will want to understand.

HORZE Glasgow Lightweight Waterproof Horse Turnout Blanket (100g Fill) – Dark Blue – 69 in

What are we looking at?
  • Lightweight
  • Waterproof
  • 100g fill ( see below)
  • Color
  • Size 69
  1. Lightweight Horse Blankets (0-100g Fill): Perfect for milder winter conditions or as a transitional option in fall or spring, with temperatures ranging from 40°F to 60°F (4°C to 15°C).
  2. Medium-Weight Horse Blankets (200-300g Fill): Suitable for most winter conditions when temperatures drop below freezing, typically between 20°F to 40°F (-6°C to 4°C).
  3. Heavyweight Horse Blankets (300g+ Fill): Reserved for extremely cold climates or horses particularly sensitive to cold. These blankets provide ample insulation in temperatures below 20°F (-6°C).
  4. Waterproof Horse Blankets: Essential for wet and snowy conditions, these blankets keep your horse dry and warm, preventing chilling due to moisture.
  5. Other Horse Apparel: In addition to blankets, consider horse sheets, hoodies, sweaters, jackets, and turnout gear as additional layers to customize your horse’s winter attire.

Horse blankets come in a range of sizes.

We have everything from petite ponies to robust draft horses, and each of these beauties deserves a blanket that fits them just right.

Starting at the smaller end of the spectrum, we have the mini horse blanket sizes. They’re typically around 36-40 inches in length and will keep your mini horse cozy and stylish, because why settle for anything less?

Moving on to the average horse blanket sizes, we’re talking about your regular-sized horses here. These blankets usually measure between 66-84 inches, providing a comfortable fit for most horses. Whether you have a sleek Thoroughbred or a sturdy Quarter Horse, there’s a blanket out there with their name on it.

Now, for those of you who are fortunate enough to have a larger-than-life equine companion, we have the horse blanket sizes that cater to draft horses. These gentle giants need some extra fabric to stay warm, so blankets for drafts generally range from 84-90 inches.

My horse is a Thoroughbred, 16.2 hands and takes a 74

Dura-Tech Horse Turnout Blanket | Light Weight – 100 Grams | Equine Size 72 – Navy | Euro Fit Protection | Waterproof, Windproof & Breathable | Criss-Cross Surcingle

  • Lightweight
  • 100 Grams
  • Size 72
  • Navy
  • Waterproof, Windproof & Breathable
  • Criss-Cross Surcingle

Here’s how a Criss-Cross Surcingle works on a horse blanket:

  1. Two Crossed Straps: Instead of a single strap that goes around the horse’s belly, a Criss-Cross Surcingle has two separate straps that cross over each other, creating an X shape.
  2. Adjustable Fit: Each strap usually has multiple adjustment holes or buckles, allowing you to customize the fit of the blanket to your horse’s body.
  3. Secure Closure: The crossed straps are fastened securely on either side of the blanket, typically using buckles, snaps, or Velcro closures.

The Criss-Cross Surcingle design offers several advantages:

  • Secure Fit: It helps to keep the blanket in place, preventing it from shifting or slipping during your horse’s movement.
  • Even Pressure: The crossed straps distribute pressure more evenly across the horse’s belly, reducing the risk of discomfort or chafing.
  • Freedom of Movement: It allows for a greater range of motion in the shoulder and chest area, which can be beneficial for your horse’s comfort and mobility.
  • Adjustability: The multiple adjustment points on the straps allow you to fine-tune the fit to suit your horse’s body shape.

Criss-Cross Surcingles are commonly found on stable blankets, sheets, and cooler blankets. They are particularly useful for blankets that are designed for use in a stall or when the horse is not actively exercising, as they provide a secure and comfortable fit for these situations.

WeatherBeeta ComFiTec Premier Freedom Pony Detach-A-Neck Medium Horse Rug, Purple/Navy/Mint, 69″

  • Detach-A-Neck
  • Medium Fill (Warm 220g polyfill)
  • Color: Purple/Navy/ Mint
  • Size 69″

Finding the right blanket size for your horse

To determine your horse’s blanket size, follow these steps:

  1. Measure Your Horse’s Length: Start by measuring your horse from the center of their chest (where the base of the neck meets the chest) to the point of the buttock. This measurement will give you the length of your horse.
  2. Measure the Drop: The drop is the distance from the withers (the top of the shoulders) to the bottom edge of the blanket. Measure from the highest point of the withers, over the point of the shoulder, and down to where you want the blanket to end. This measurement ensures that the blanket covers your horse adequately.
  3. Consider the Horse’s Build: Different horse breeds and individual horses have varying body shapes. Consider your horse’s build when choosing a blanket. Some may have broader chests or longer bodies, so be sure the blanket fits comfortably without being too tight or too loose.
  4. Consult the Manufacturer’s Sizing Chart: Most horse blanket manufacturers provide sizing charts that correlate measurements to blanket sizes. Check the specific brand’s chart to find the size that matches your horse’s measurements. These charts often categorize sizes with terms like “Small,” “Medium,” “Large,” or by specific measurements (e.g., 72″, 75″, 78″).
  5. Check for Adjustability: Some blankets come with adjustable features such as buckles, straps, or snaps that allow you to fine-tune the fit. This can be helpful if your horse falls between two standard sizes.
  6. Consider Your Horse’s Specific Needs: Think about the type of blanket your horse needs. For example, turnout blankets are designed for outdoor use and need to accommodate freedom of movement. Stable blankets are for use in stalls and may have a different fit.
  7. Test the Fit: Once you’ve selected a blanket size, try it on your horse. Make sure it sits comfortably and doesn’t restrict their movement or rub against their skin. Watch for any signs of discomfort or chafing.
  8. Ask for Expert Advice: Talk to your barn manager, and equine barn buddies with the same size horse as yours. If you’re uncertain about your horse’s blanket size, they can offer guidance and assistance in finding the right size.


Investing in appropriate winter horse blankets and apparel is essential for your horse’s comfort and well-being during the colder months. By keeping an eye on temperature changes, evaluating your horse’s unique needs, and selecting the right type of blanket and fill material, you can ensure your equine friend stays snug and healthy throughout winter. Don’t forget to explore the wide range of horse supplies and equipment designed to keep your horse cozy and stylish during the chilly season. When in doubt, consult with experienced equestrians or equine professionals for personalized guidance on horse clothing and gear.

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