What Is The Best Horse Blanket On The Market?

Of course, as we all know, keeping a horse comes with a lot of added extras. You’ve got the shoes, the tack, the fancy boots – but what about rugs? Unless you have a woolly mammoth of a horse who never feels the cold, you’re going to need to rug him at some point (and even if your mammoth doesn’t feel the cold he might like a little light cover after a particularly sweaty ride). But which is the best horse blanket?

This depends on what sort of rug you are looking for; be it a heavyweight winter warmer or a light turnout rug or something in between. A high quality horse blanket should have sturdy, easy to operate fasteners. You should be able to adjust the fit perfectly with generously sized leg straps.

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Best Horse Blanket Reviews

Buying a rug can be a confusing business though! We have taken the hard work out of shopping for your horse’s ideal wardrobe, and have compiled a list of the best for you to peruse…

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Horse Blankets

Price

Tough 1 Timber 1200D Waterproof Poly Snuggit Turnout Blanket, Orange, 81"Tough 1 Waterproof Turnout Blanket

A good all round rug which will keep your horse dry.

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Heavy Weight Horse Turnout Blanket 1200D Rip Stop Water Proof Black 70TOP PICK: AJ Tack Waterproof Blanket

A great winter jacket for the horse who needs to keep warm.

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HILASON 72" 1200D Waterproof Winter Horse Blanket Neck Cover Belly WRAP HOT PinkHilason Blanket With Detachable Neck

A great addition to your horse’s winter wardrobe.

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1. Tough 1 Timber 1200D Waterproof Poly Snuggit Turnout Blanket Review

Tough 1 Timber 1200D Waterproof Poly Snuggit Turnout Blanket, Orange, 81"

This great sheet is ideal for horses who are turned out without a field shelter. It is strong and long lasting, and will keep him warm and dry whilst also being comfortable.

Pros

  • 1200 denier ripstop outer shell – The durability of ripstop is legendary, so you shouldn’t have to deal with rips and tears. It is also waterproof, so will stop your horse getting cold and wet.
  • 250 grams of Polyfill inside the rug – This material is a great insulator, so it will keep your horse warm and protected against cold winds.
  • Protection around the withers – There is nothing worse than a rug which rubs raw patches into the skin, or a mane that is rubbed away by the edges of a rug. This one has fleece protection around the withers for comfort.
  • Adjustable size to fit your horse comfortably – The fact that you can play with the straps to make it customised to your horse is a great feature of this rug. It will also prevent slipping and coming to see your horse to find his rug trailing on the floor.

Cons

  • The color has been reported to be a little misleading – Although the picture looks quite autumnal, in reality some users say that it is not a very “masculine” look for their geldings!

Recommendation

This is a good all round rug which will keep your horse warm and dry in all but the very worst weather. It has the added bonus of a soft lining that will help to keep the coat shiny – perfect for those days you don’t want to spend hours grooming!

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2. AJ Tack Heavyweight Horse Turnout 1200D Rip Stop Waterproof Blanket Review

Heavy Weight Horse Turnout Blanket 1200D Rip Stop Water Proof Black 70

A fantastic, hardy, heavyweight rug which is perfect for the coldest of winters, this one is warm and waterproof and will keep your horse toasty warm and comfortable.

Pros

  • 400g heavyweight Polyfill insulation – This extra padding makes this rug ideal for a cold winter or an exposed field, even without an undersheet.
  • Tail flap to prevent rain running down the inside of the legs – I can’t imagine anything worse than having a great warm coat, which allowed rain to drip down inside! The tail flap will direct the rain away from your horse’s sensitive areas.
  • Fleece collar for comfort – Having a good thick lining around the edge of the rug where it touches your horse’s withers is a great feature and makes the rug more comfortable because it won’t rub.
  • 1200 denier ripstop outer – This means the outside of the rug is strong enough to withstand bramble scratches, and will be waterproof to prevent your horse getting cold and damp.

Cons

  • Rug can shift to the side – It is worth checking the fit to make sure it is snug enough to avoid the rug slipping.

Recommendation

This is a great winter jacket for the thin-coated horse who needs to keep warm, or for those really chilly days when being exposed to the elements is no fun for man or beast. It is so well made and durable that it should last you for many winters to come!

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3. Hilason 1200D Horse Winter Waterproof Blanket With Detachable Neck Review

HILASON 72" 1200D Waterproof Winter Horse Blanket Neck Cover Belly WRAP HOT Pink

A perfect waterproof winter rug, this one will keep your best friend snugly till spring! Made of strong, long lasting materials it can withstand just about anything your horse decides to throw at it.

Pros

  • Polyester and ripstop outer – The combination of these waterproof and strong materials means this rug should last and last, and keep your horse dry while it does so!
  • Double stitched and reinforced – This is a great rug for those who like a bit of acrobatics in the field, as it is very unlikely to rip or fall apart.
  • Comes with a free belly strap – This is a great addition to a rug as it can help to lock in that little bit more warmth. The fact that it is detachable means you can use it or not, depending on the weather.
  • Comes in a huge range of colors – Great for making an eyecatching statement in the field, or for colour coordinating your horse accessories (until he rolls in the mud, that is!)

Cons

  • Clips may need replacing – It has been reported that the clips are not as a high quality as the rest of the rug, and may need swapping for more heavy duty ones.

Recommendation

This is a great addition to your horse’s winter wardrobe, and it will be worth every penny when your horse stays warm and cosy in the field instead of greeting you with irritation because he’s been cold all night.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do you wash horse blankets at home?

First, be sure that the horse blanket you have is machine washable. Most are, but check the labeling to be certain. Follow manufacturer’s special instructions to the letter.

You’ll also want to be certain that your washing machine is large enough to handle a horse blanket. If you’re able to wash large comforters, you should be able to wash a horse blanket. If not, you can always take your horse blanket to the laundromat to wash it.

2. What steps are involved in washing a horse blanket in your home washer or at a laundromat?

  • Shake and/or brush your horse blanket thoroughly to remove loose dirt, hair and mud.
  • Be sure that the detergent dispenser of the machine you are using is free of detergent build up.
  • Put the horse blanket inside a mesh washing bag. This will help keep all the straps and buckles in place and will prevent damage to your washer and your horse blanket.
  • Use the gentle cycle and mild soap. Avoid harsh detergents and fabric softeners because they may interfere with the breathability and the waterproofing qualities of your horse blanket.
  • Do not machine dry horse blankets. Hang the blanket out on the line to dry.
  • After your horse blanket has been washed and has dried thoroughly, apply a horse blanket proofing product to ensure the blanket’s waterproof properties.

3. How do you measure for horse blankets?

Follow these steps:

  • Lead your horse to an area where the ground is hard and level to be sure that he or she is standing square.
  • Get someone to help you so that you can keep your measuring device pulled tight throughout for the most accurate measurement. If you’re using a piece of string or twine instead of a tape measure, tie a knot to indicate the correct length and then measure the twine or string later.
  • Use a long piece of twine or dressmakers’ measuring tape to measure from the center of your horse’s chest, along one side (usually the left) to the center of the tail. Be certain that your twine or measuring tape runs across the widest section of the shoulder, the point.

You’ll find that horse blanket sizes correspond in even numbers with the number of inches your horse measures from mid chest to mid tail. If your horse measures an odd number of inches from front to back, go up to the next inch size. For example, if your horse measures 71 inches from mid chest to mid tail, you’ll want to order a 72 inch blanket.

4. What does 600d mean in horse blankets?

The lowercase letter D stands for Denier. This term is used to describe the waterproof qualities of a horse blanket. It is similar to thread count in bedsheets. The denier number describes the individual thread count in the yarn weave. The fabric weight is referred to as grams per square meter (GSM).

Basically, higher denier numbers mean stronger material with a thicker weave. You will generally find horse blankets with these designations:

  • 600D
  • 1200D
  • 1680D

The higher denier numbers are significantly more expensive than 600d, but they are also significantly more durable and long-lasting.

In terms of performance, breathability and waterproofing are the same for all three weights of fabric. Additionally, one advantage of the 600d option is that the blanket is significantly lighter weight and easier to handle. A full size horse blanket in a 1680d weight can be quite heavy and difficult for small rider to put in place.

5. Do horses really need to be blanketed?

Young healthy horses who are acclimated to their environment and are allowed to maintain their winter coat probably do not need to be blanketed, unless you live in an area that has extremely severe cold temperatures.

Horses that have just been moved from a warmer climate to a cooler climate may need to be blanketed during their first winter but may not during the second winter.

Show horses and foxhunters, who are kept clipped year-round, probably need blanketing in the winter months to make up for their lack of natural winter coat.

Old horses and those recovering from illness or starvation should probably be blanketed during cold weather to help them stay warm and retain calories.

6. Can blanketing be harmful to horse?

Horses can become too hot when blanketed if they don’t really need to be. If you’re going to keep your horse in a blanket, you’ll need to check on him or her frequently to make sure the blanket is staying in place properly and hasn’t gotten caught on something. You must always choose the correct type of blanket for the season and weather conditions.

7. What kind of weather causes horses to need a blanket?

If your horse is subjected to cold wind and/or rain, he or she is naturally likely to become chilled and need a blanket. If the air is still and the temperature is very cold, your horse may not need a blanket. Surprisingly, a layer of snow on horse’s back can act as insulation and help keep the horse warm.

In very severe weather, it’s better to provide your horse with shelter than to provide him or her with the blanket.

8. Will blanketing my horse stop his winter coat from growing?

Your horse’s coat grows in a natural cycle every year. Coat growth is triggered by the winter and summer solstices, and use of a blanket will not stop this cycle. Coat growth is triggered by the change in daylight and not by changes in temperature.

Using a blanket will cause the winter coat to grow in shorter because the length of the hair is affected by temperature. When your horse’s body is consistently covered by a blanket, there is no need for growth of a very long winter coat. If you want your horse to stay relatively shorthaired through the winter, be sure to blanket his neck as well as his body so that the hair won’t grow long on the neck.

9. What are the most important features to look for in a high quality horse blanket?

  • A good horse blanket should have a U-shaped cut back at the front to allow free movement of the withers. This is especially important in high shouldered or high withered horses. If your horse has low withers, you may need to add a surcingle or a roller to the blanket to help keep it in place.
  • Good blankets have ample straps to prevent slipping and shifting. For example, straps that encircle your horse’s hind legs will keep the blanket from turning over completely and ending up on your horse’s stomach.
  • A well fitted horse blanket will completely cover the horse’s barrel and will hang to just below the stifles and elbows. Be careful not to get a blanket that is too oversized, though. Blankets that are too loose will rub and shift and can cause your horse to get tangled up and injured.

10. Why do some horse blankets cause bald spots and rub marks?

If your horse’s blanket is too loose or too tight or otherwise poorly fitted, it will naturally rub bare places in the hair coat. Poor fit is not always the culprit, though. Sometimes your horse’s conformation will cause rub marks.

To prevent permanently damaging the horse’s hair coat, be sure to keep the blanket clean, change it often and provide good grooming whenever you change the blanket. Additionally, you may wish to provide some padding by pinning or sewing soft cloth (e.g. cloth diapers) inside the horse blanket at the points where friction seems to be occurring.

Ointments such as aloe vera or vitamin E oil may help prevent chafing.

11. Are high-tech, synthetic materials really better than traditional materials?

The best blankets are waterproof, lightweight and breathable. Additionally, they should be dirt repellent and tear resistant. Modern, high-tech, synthetic fabrics embody all of these qualities, but they do cost significantly more than old-fashioned, traditional materials.

For these reasons, horse blankets made of modern, high-tech, synthetic materials are longer-lasting and need far fewer repairs than old-fashioned blankets. In the final analysis, even though you may have much higher initial outlay, you’ll get more for your money with a horse blanket made of more up-to-date materials.

12. How do you know if your horse is too cold or hot in a horse blanket?

Just as with people, too much heat causes sweating and too much cold causes chills. You should check under your horse’s blanket frequently to make sure that he is not sweating. Perspiration will occur first under the blanket and then around the neck and ears.

Chill is unusual in horses under any circumstances, but a horse who has been left out in inclement weather in a blanket and become soaked and then chilled will exhibit shivering and general discomfort.

13. Should you blanket immediately after riding?

Wait until your horse has cooled down and all sweat has dried off. It’s always a good idea to finish a ride with a grooming session and a dry towel rubdown. You can also help your horse cool down by draping a light cooling blanket over him and walking him.

14. Is it a good idea to layer blankets?

If your horse is clipped short in the wintertime, and you have very severe winters, it can be a good idea to layer his clothes just as you would yours. Use a cotton sheet for the inner layer, a thick wool blanket for the mid layer and a tightly woven, waterproof, windbreaker type horse blanket for the top layer.

15. Is it necessary to blanket horses during winter transport?

In an enclosed trailer with windows just kept open for ventilation, a horse who is not usually blanketed will probably not need a blanket for travel. Horses who are usually clipped and usually blanketed will need a light blanket for winter travel.

16. What type of material are horse blankets made of?

There are several different types of horse blankets intended for different purposes, and each is made out of a different sort of material. Examples include:

  • Synthetic fleece
  • Woven cotton
  • Poly-cotton
  • Nylon
  • Mesh
  • Wool

Horse blanket construction also varies depending upon the purpose of the blanket:

  • Horse sheets are made of lightweight material and have no fill.
  • Horse blankets are intended to keep a horse warm and are usually made of quilted materials.
  • Stable sheets and blankets are intended to be worn indoors and have no waterproof qualities.
  • Turnout sheets and blankets are intended to be worn in the pasture and are treated with waterproofing materials.

17. How do you keep horse blankets from shifting back on high necked horses?

Good measuring is the key to preventing shifting in horse blankets. Be sure that the blankets you have fit your horse correctly right from the start.

Remember that a good quality blanket will be equipped with bias surcingles that crisscross under your horses belly. This will help prevent having the blanket shift.

Additionally, look for horse blankets with a contoured topline rather than a flat top line. Having the blanket cut so that it is tailored for the shape of the horse will go a long way toward having the blanket stay in place.

18. Why are people against horse blankets?

Old-fashioned horse men and women believe that horses can and should be kept in such a way that they acclimate to their environment and have no need of horse blankets. If you live in a fairly temperate climate, and your horse is young and in good condition, this can be a successful way to keep a horse.

As we’ve mentioned, though, horses living in challenging environments, those that are clipped during the wintertime, seniors and those suffering from health challenges may need the support and comfort of a blanket.

Consult with your veterinarian to determine whether or not your horse would benefit from blanketing.


Conclusion

Horse blankets or rugs are an essential part of horse owning and training, especially if you live in a cold part of the world or keep your horse in a place where he has no shelter. Rugs can help keep the horse warm, meaning he has to expend less energy doing it himself so he will keep weight on better, and generally stay in better condition and be healthier. Also, it’s no fun standing out for hours in the cold and wet, is it? Your horse will thank you for his nice new warm winter jacket!

Sam Ellis
Sam is a founder and editor of Horses & Foals. In personal life he is a proud father of a boy and twin girls. He believes it is more important than ever before to encourage children to experience the joy of horse riding. Horses make as much sense as the sunshine in our world.


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