Editor's note: We have created a series of articles for StableManagement.com on products for horses and their humans. In the next few weeks we hope you enjoy these tips and insights into items that we use, need and want for ourselves and our horses.
Ask 20 horse owners which winter blankets are their favorite and chances are you’ll receive 20 different answers. Weatherbeeta, Amigo, SmartPak, Schneiders Saddlery, Rambo and Tough 1 brands are mentioned most often. For every batch of positive reviews, there’s a horse owner who didn’t like the product for one reason or another. When shopping for blankets this season, here are a few things to keep in mind to make a purchase that meets your needs.
Buckle front-closures were once the only choice for securing a blanket. Many manufacturers still use them. But they can be hard to maneuver with gloves. Consider blankets with heavy-duty snaps for an easy on/easy off.
Horses can be tough on blankets. Snags, rips and tears reduce a blankets waterproofing and insulating qualities. Many makers offer a warranty or guarantee for a specific length of time. Blankets come with a one-, three- or five-year guarantee (and some have a lifetime guarantee). The price usually reflects those options. Denier is a term used to describe how tightly woven the fabric is. The higher the number, the more rip resistant. Typically, the lowest denier is 420, then it ranges up to 600, 1200 and 1680 being the highest option.
The warmth of blankets are measured by the grams of fill ranging from light weight (0-100 grams) to medium weight (150-250 grams) and heavy weight (300+ grams). Manufactures are experimenting with a variety of insulating fabrics to improve breathability while keeping horses warm and dry. For example, Schneiders has a Tekno-Fleece insulation layer designed for fluctuating climates and their Armorflex Warrior Turnout Line has a Bamboo Charcoal Lining to absorb odor and reduce static electricity.
When deciding whether to blanket your horse consider his age, body condition, living situation and the weather conditions of your area. Their natural coat is designed to keep a horse warm if he or she has a windbreak and a shelter to get out of wet conditions.