Ladies and gentlemen, I’m proud to announce that we are on the upswing out of winter and cruising towards spring. It means the days are getting longer, the temperatures and weather are wildly unpredictable, and your horse has had just enough time to ruin their first round of blankets.
In most any barns, there are stalls lined with different blanket types. Even in situations where each horse has a ‘light’, ‘medium’, and a ‘heavy’, those can vary vastly depending on the blanket. So, when you are shopping, what do all those crazy things mean in the blanket descriptions?
1. Stable vs. Turnout
Stable vs. Turnout is the most self-descriptive part of the blanket analysis process. When a blanket or sheet is described as a stable blanket, like the Amigo Insulator Lite, it is telling you that it is designed to be used within the confines of the barn. It will keep your horse warm and protect their coat from shavings and dust, but not the outside environment. A turnout sheet or blanket, like the Rhino Plus Vari-Layer Turnout adds outer layers of material that protect against wind, rain, and can stand up to horseplay, and includes additional coverage like tail-flaps and sometimes extra length. A turnout is also designed to stay breathable while being waterproof to protect the horse’s skin from becoming a petri dish – just in case they do sweat while regulating their temperature.
The blanket weight is kind of the difference between wearing a long sleeve sunshirt, and a fleece lined sweater. The problem is that, like people, some horses need a heavier wardrobe, while others prefer things one the lighter side. Good news is that there are blankets for each horse’s preference. The weight (or fill) is measured in grams. A sheet will have zero fill, basically making it a raincoat. A lightweight blanket, like this Rhino Wug generally has 80-120 grams of fill, a mid-weight, like the Loveson Turnout has 150-300 grams, and a heavyweight, like the Amigo Bravo Plus is over 300 grams. Some blanket manufacturers alter their descriptions, so it’s important to look at the grams of fill before deciding what to purchase. And there is a big difference between a 150 gram mid-weight and a 300-gram mid-weight. Knowing which suits your horse and their climate is important.
When blanket shopping, you’ll also notice a denier number. This number basically represents the durability of the blanket. Scientifically speaking, it is the thickness of the fibers of individual threads that make up the blanket’s fabric. Therefore, the higher the number, the more dense and durable the fabric is made. So if you have a horse that plays super hard, or has a pasture-mate who doesn’t like his friends to be dressed up, a 1690D blanket, like the Gastby Premium Turnout might be the one for you. If you have one that is a more mild player, a 1200D like the Tuffrider Major will hold up just fine. And if your horse is the fun police that prefers as little outside action as possible, the 600D in the Amigo Hero will be perfect.
Now, obviously not all horses are built like the fiberglass horses that model the blankets. Some have high withers, some have not withers, some have big shoulders, and some have a broad chest. Blankets like the Tough-1 Snuggit Belly Band Turnout offer an adjustable fit for optimum shoulder comfort. High neck options like the Rhino Wug provide additional coverage and relief around the wither area. The Tough-1 Poly Full Neck Turnout offers complete protection in a seamless connection, while optional neck blankets like the Tuffrider Major lets your decide which days to add neck coverage while keeping a traditional fit around the shoulder and wither area.
And finally, you just have to choose your color. You can go with something that complements your horse, or whatever the barn colors are, or whichever will embarrass them the most, especially if they are a destroyer of all things blanket related. Or you can relive your childhood and stick them in fun prints like this Tuffrider Ripstop that features unicorns!