Winter is coming and the temperatures will drop any day now – it’s time to think about proper winter care for your four-hoofed friend. If your horse wears a blanket, here are some tips to make blanketing safer and easier.
Tip 1: Turnout blankets or stable blankets?
Once you’ve taken a look at your horse’s level of wintertime activity and local climate, as well as taken into account if he’s clipped, it’s time to decide what (if any) blankets you’ll use to keep him comfortable this winter. Blankets fall into two main categories depending on indoor versus outdoor use: turnout blankets and stable blankets. A turnout blanket is generally made of a durable fabric (measured in denier) and is designed to allow for a wide range of motion from the horse; just like the Noble Outfitters Guardsman™ Turnout Blanket. Blankets designed for indoor-only use are called stable blankets. A stable blanket is not waterproof; a horse should never be turned out in a stable blanket if there is a threat of inclement weather.
Tip 2: How many deniers? And what about the fill?
Turnout blankets come in a variety of weights, including medium- and heavy-weight. Key terms while shopping for a new blanket are “fill” and “denier.” Fill refers to the “stuffing” in a blanket and is traditionally made of polyester. It’s measured in grams and is designed to keep a horse warm. Denier refers to the outer covering of a blanket. It measures the coarseness of the blanket fiber; the higher the denier, the tougher the blanket. A medium-weight turnout typically has 180 to 200 grams of fill and is used when temperatures are between 25 and 35 degrees F. A heavy-weight turnout usually offers 300 to 440 grams of fill and is designed for the coldest weather or for fully clipped horses. The Noble Outfitters Guardsman™ Turnout Blanket is offered in both 200 and 340 grams of fill for both weather options.
Tip 3: High neck, tail flap or both?
How much protection does your horse need? Think about blankets with a high neck, tail flap or removable neck cover. The high neck is traditionally found in turnout blankets, this cut sits higher on the horse’s neck to prevent water from entering the blanket. The tail flap has a similar function but on the other side of the horse. It’s designed to keep wind, rain, and snow from blowing under a horse’s blanket. Finally, neck covers usually cover the horse all the way to the poll. Sometimes blankets come with a detachable neck cover that can be easily connected if necessary, just like the Guardsman™ Turnout Neck Cover.
Tip 4: Is your horse a Houdini?
There are plenty of ways how to prevent your horse from getting out of the blanket you secured on him just minutes before. You can use belly bands, belly straps or leg straps. Belly bands are wide bands of fabric used in place of straps to keep a blanket secure. Belly straps are made from nylon are designed to keep the blanket from shifting. If they are set at an angle on the blanket, they are designed to be crossed; if not, they are meant to be pulled straight under a horse’s belly. Finally, leg straps that are helpful to prevent horses from removing their blankets; they should be crossed. However, some horses have a Houdini-like power to get out of any blanket, belly straps or not. The Noble Outfitters Guardsman™ Turnout Blanket features two front patent-pending 360° Quick Connect™ buckles on the front closure along with a 4-inch hook and loop for added security on the interior. The same buckles are also on the two belly straps. Since they are made from a heavy-duty copolymer plastic resin construction, they have a breakaway threshold of 200 lbs., important for safety.
Tip 5: But does he even like the blanket?
Blankets are like human coats, some fit great, feel great and look just right, while the other are made from itchy fabric, are a little too tight or look like a potato sack when they get wet. If you want a blanket your horse will really like, try the new Noble Outfitters Guardsman™ Turnout Blanket. This innovative turnout design is engineered to naturally move with the horse. The comfort collar and withers feature is uniquely designed with memory foam to contour and adapt to the horse’s anatomy. The comfort collar eliminates wear points, while the deep cut “V” neck allows movement when feeding or sleeping. The scalloped hem gives a contoured fit with a shape based on muscle anatomy of the horse reduces bulk around mid-section. The full shoulder gusset is crafted for freedom, while the forward placement allows for more range of motion.
Do you have any tips on choosing the right blanket? Add them in comments below!