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To Blanket or Not to Blanket Your Horse?

Do you start blanketing your horse when temperatures drop below forty degrees, or do you hold off until the cold below freezing temperatures hit, or do you blanket your horse at all? The truth about it all is that most horses do fine without blankets throughout winter. Of course, horses will need adequate shelter to protect them from the elements and plenty of forage and energy to generate heat.

Horse's Winter Coats:

Paint Horse Fluffy

Horse's coats are composed of two types of hair: a fluffy undercoat that acts as

an insulator and a stiffer protective coat called guard hairs. The outer coat helps to shed rain and collect moisture to keep the undercoat clean and fluffy so that the undercoat can provide insulation. The undercoat provides insulation by trapping body heat and air, it is dense and soft and acts like the lining of your jacket. The hairs are attached to a layer of muscle that moves the hair as needed to provide additional insulation. When the hair is standing up, it will give the horse a puffed-up look to trap more air in the fur to keep them warm. Their hair can even point in different directions to deflect wind and weather.


Reasons to Blanket:

  • If you have clipped your horse and they no longer have enough of their winter coat to keep them warm
  • Your horse has moved from warmer climates and hasn't adapted to the colder climate yet
  • You have an older horse that has a hard time staying warm
  • Your horse is a hard-keeper who has trouble holding weight during the cold months
  • It isn't only cold but it's wet
  • There isn't adequate shelter

Reasons not to Blanket:

  • Horse runningYou can save money and not purchase a blanket
  • Generally, horse's grow enough hair to act as their own blanket
  • When temperatures suddenly rise you don't have to worry about your horse overheating if the blanket isn't removed in a timely matter
  • No blanket repairs
  • You remove the risk of them getting caught up in their blanket

Winter Diet:

When considering your horse's comfort level during the winter months, diet is important. If you decide not to blanket your horse it is important that your horse is getting the proper amount of calories to keep them warm during the colder temperatures. Blanketing or not, diet is very important to provide your horse with the proper nutrition to keep them healthy. If your horse is a hard keeper, adding a supplement like Super Weight Gain into their diet is a smart way to keep the calories up in your horse's diet and weight on your horse during the colder months.


Horse seeking shelter from the winter cold
Besides making the important decision to blanket your horse during the cold winter months there are a number of other challenges your horse might face. From maintaining body condition to making sure they get enough water there are quite a few issues that can arise if not properly taken care of. For our comprehensive guide onHow to Keep Your Horse Thriving this Winter read our article to learn more.


It Comes Down to Your Individual Horse's Needs

There are several factors to consider when deciding whether or not to blanket your horse. One important factor is the horse's individual needs and circumstances. For example, if your horse has been clipped and no longer has enough of their winter coat, they may require a blanket to stay warm. Additionally, if your horse has recently moved from a warmer climate and hasn't had time to adapt to the colder weather, a blanket may be necessary. Another consideration is the horse's age and health. Older horses or hard-keepers may have a harder time staying warm and could benefit from the added insulation of a blanket. Ultimately, the decision to blanket or not should be based on the specific needs of your horse and the conditions they are exposed to.

1 Response

Michelle M

Michelle M

December 09, 2020

I believe it is a personal decision to go along with what YOUR horse needs whether to blanket or not.
I found out the reason I was going through so much feed was because my older/hard keeper would get cold in the night and shiver her weight off. She started wearing a blanket at night and on colder days. WHAT A DIFFERENCE, both in her and my feed bill.

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