Winter Blankets are a great way to protect your horse from the elements. Although horses do acclimate to cooler temperatures better than we do, sometimes they need a little extra help staying warm. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Make sure the blanket you choose is the right size. An accurate measurement of your horse is the best way to ensure proper sizing. Blankets are measured in inches measuring from the middle of your horses chest in a horizontal line down his side all the way to the middle of his rear. Most blankets are adjustable giving a few inches to spare either way.
- Make sure the blanket is the right material. Blankets basically come in waterproof, water-resistant, and regular forms. If your horse will be outdoors at any point there could be precipitation, a waterproof blanket is important. Water resistant blankets are only good for indirect precipitation or when the blanket will only be worn for short periods of time such as transporting. Standard blankets with no water protection should only be used if the horse is protected from the elements. Even with no chance of rain or snow a simple heavy dew can soak these blankets and make your horse colder than if there was no blanket on at all.
- Be sure to check on your horse every 24 hours. At least once a day you should pull the blanket off and check for spots where moisture may be getting in or the blanket is rubbing on the skin. This is the easiest way to detect if your blanket is properly protecting your horse.
Aside from blankets, the best way to keep your horse protected from the cold is to make certain that he or she has proper shelter and hay. Reducing the ammount of wind and precipitation that a horse comes into contact with will also reduce the affect cold witll have on them. It is also important to keep hay available because the digestion process actually works to produce heat to keep them warm.