Horse Blanket Tips

As winter approaches, be prepared to keep your horse cozy.

As winter approaches, be prepared to keep your horse cozy.

Visit Weatherbeeta for help selecting a horse blanket.

If your horse is snuggling into a blanket this winter, make sure it fits him properly.

Here are some tips:

  • The blanket should be snug around the neck, with the spine of the blanket ending at the top of the tail.
  • Surcingles should be adjusted so that you can barely get your hand sideways (about 4 inches) between the horse and the surcingle. Adjust leg straps the same way. You want them loose enough so the horse can walk and move comfortably, but not so loose that he could get a hoof caught.
  • Crossing the leg straps at the center (between the horse’s back legs) helps reduce the chance of a hoof getting caught. Always snap to the same side of the blanket as the strap originates.
  • To measure for a new blanket, start at the center of his chest, along his side, ending in the middle of his tail. If the measurement you get is an odd number, 77 for example, round it up to the next number.

Be a better horseman! Learn how with AQHA’s Horse Training Techniques with Martin Black. Martin shows you how to look at things from your horse’s perspective to improve communication.

Washing turnout rugs and blankets

From AQHA Corporate Partner Weatherbeeta

Take your turnout rugs/blankets and stable rugs/blankets to a professional rug/blanket cleaning service that has the specialty equipment needed.

Hand-washing will, however, help to prolong the life of your rug/blanket.

Follow these simple steps:

  1. Remove excess dirt.
  2. Hand-wash at a cool temperature using a non-biological soap (washing in hot water can damage the waterproof nature of the fabric). 
  3. Drip dry. Do not tumble dry. 
  4. Always store in a cool, dry place.

Most WeatherBeeta rugs and blankets are sold with their own handy storage bag – the perfect container for them when not in use.

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11 thoughts on “Horse Blanket Tips”

  1. I always wondering when you should blanket your horse. My horses are outside most of the day and in the barn at night. Since they will have a good winter coat would they need blankets?

  2. My vet wants one of my mares to lose 150 lbs. How do you put a horse on a diet? She is out in the pasture at all times, except on cold winter nights or when it is raining. All of her life she has been grained at night during the winter and when we have to feed hay, it is wonderful quality. I have not feed this horse grain since early last spring. I think she has lost some weight–but clearly not enough. She is 15 hands. I’d appreciate any advice.

  3. I have had a similar problem with my mare Carlene. The vet said she needed to lose around 175 lbs. Since last September, she has lost over 100 lbs. This is how we did it. My barn manager took Carlene completely off grain, just a handful to mix with her supplements. She gets hay twice a day, and one carrot a day only with no sugar treats. I exercise her five days a week at least 40 minutes per session. She gets peppermint tea mixed with herbs, and low sugar/low stach treats from a company that specializes in food for insulin resistant, and overweight horses. My next step is to analyze her hay to check its composition, since she has about 75 more lbs to go.
    I hope some of this helps.



    Hello Gail,

    Our horses are out all the year round with an open box on the fields. The only time they go in the box is when it rains hard or is too hot. We only use blankets (other than after they have sweated) when the temperature drops suddenly by more than 15 or 20 degrees Celcius, or when it goes under minus 30 degrees Celcius.
    I believe it is dangerous to blanket horses that are kept outdoors unnecessarily as they lose their winter coat very quickly, and their natural ability to withstand temerature extremes.

    There are of course other opinions and I don’t want to criticise others just because they have a different point of view! Take the advice of your vet, he knows yours horses and the local conditions.


  5. This is the first time I am trying to keep my horse from getting a winter coat. I am told to blanket her and keep her on lights. Could you tell me more specific on how to propertly do this for the betterment of the horse and me. So far, I find it alot of work. I want her coat ready for show season. This horse lives in Mo. if that helps

  6. I have 2 horses in the same pasture and one is way more dominant. He keeps biting my horse, I want to protect my horse, dont really want to be a slave to blanketing, and dont have another penning option…..suggestions?

  7. I am also trying to keep my horse from getting too much of a winter coat. I am told to blanket him and in order to get him to shed out nicely in early spring to keep him on lights for 12 hours a day commencing February. Could you tell me more specific on how to propertly do this . I live in Ontario Canada, and it gets pretty cold.

  8. Gail,

    The decision to blanket your horse depends on a couple of things.

    1. How cold does it get where you live?
    2. Do your horses run warm or cold?
    3. When your horses are in at night does your barn get toasty?

    I can speak on personal experience. I did not body clip one of my mare’s last year and like your horses she was out all day and in at night. The heaviest blanket I put on her was a medium weight. I live in New Jersey so it can get pretty cold here and every time I checked her she was warm under her blanket but never hot.

    The idea of a blanket just makes sense to me. Even if your horse has a good winter coat you would still want something that would block the wind or rain or snow from your horse’s coat. When a horse gets wet they can get chilly. If you feel your horse runs warm and has a really good winter coat then you can try a Weatherbeeta medium light blanket. This is perfect because it is more then a sheet and less then a medium weight blanket. I would not think you would have a need for a heavy weight blanket unless you were to clip your horses.

    So, yes I would blanket your horses. Just keep checking them, make sure they are not hot or sweaty underneath them. I do recommend that you use a blanket that is waterproof and breathable; all Weatherbeeta turnout blankets are. Just because they say ‘turnout’ doesn’t mean you can’t use them in the barn as well.

    For more information on our Weatherbeeta blankets, please visit

  9. The blanket on our horse keeps sliding to one side no matter what we do. How can we stop this?


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