Blanketing Myths

As blanketing season approaches, so does the conversation on when to blanket, how much to blanket or if you should blanket at all. It is a heated debate that always occurs with horse people. However, like many other topics in horse care, there is not one right way, but there are some basic myths and need busting.

Tack Tip Tuesday Blanketing Myths
  1. Putting a blanket on my horse will stop them from growing a coat.

    Putting a blanket on your horse early in the season does not prevent your horse from growing a coat. It may appear as blankets will flatten the coat, so it won’t look as thick and fluffy. It is actually the horse’s pituitary gland that recognizes changes daylight hours and produces hormones that cause a horse start growing or blowing their coat. This is one reason why horse’s with Cushing’s will have a longer coat. One way you can slow your horse from growing a coat is timed lights in the barn. This will mimic the sun and create longer “days”. The light source should be turned on to supply enough additional light to produce a total 16 hours of daylight (natural and artificial). Perception of day length must be constant from day to day; using automatic timers can make this task easy. However be prepared to blanket to keep your horse warm.

     Tack Tip Tuesday Blanketing Myths

  2. Rain sheets keep my horse warm.

    Rain sheets do not have any fill. This means they don’t add any warmth. Rain sheets are to be used in warm and wet weather as they flatten the horse’s hair and don’t allow them to stay fully and insulate themselves. See previous Tack Tip Tuesday on this topic.

     Tack Tip Tuesday Blanketing Myths

  3. Each brand is going to fit the same.

    Just like everything else in the world, all brands are going to fit differently. They have different cuts, and shapes to fits different types of horses. A blanket that is designed to fit a narrow thoroughbred will not fit a stocky quarter horse the same. Your horse’s shape and build is just as important when finding a proper fitting blanket than just measuring their length. American designed blankets go up every 2”, so you will find sizes such as 72”, 74”, 76”, 78”, and 80”. Comparative to blankets that are designed in Europe, as they will go up every 3” / 10 cm. These sizes follow the pattern of 72”, 75”, 78”, and 81”. You will also find brands that list their sizes in feet and inches, and centimeters.

     Tack Tip Tuesday Blanketing Myths

  4. The higher the denier the stronger the blanket.

    When looking at blankets, material matters more than denier.  The denier describes the tightness of weave of the material that the blanket makes. 600D is the average lower end strength of blanket. You will usually find this type in colourful, cheaper, blankets. The average blanket is made of 1000-1200D polyester. You will see some denier going up to 1680D which is the tightness weave, however still typically polyester. In contrast Horseware’s Rambo line, are made of Ballistic Nylon. Rambo’s are only a 1000D, but one of the toughest blankets on the market due to the material they are made of.

     Tack Tip Tuesday Blanketing Myths

  5. Blanketing is a one size fits all approach.

Just because your friend down the road doesn’t blanket their horses, or your other friend heavily blankets there, doesn’t mean either is the correct management for your horses. When deciding to blanket or not, or how heavy, there are many factors. Such as:

  • Easy Keeper or Hard Keeper

  • Access to warm/dry shelter out of the weather

  • In work or not in work

  • Age

  • Body condition

When in doubt, talk to your vet, coach, or trainer. My biggest recommendation is to know your horse. If they are showing signs like loosing weight, developing skin issues, or unable to access shelter, blanketing might be a good idea.