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Horse Blanket Basics

Sep 7, 2008
There are several different types of blankets that can be important additions to your tack room and definitely can help your horse in staying comfortable in all types of weather conditions. Blankets will vary in both weight and materials, depending on where and how they are to be used. Since putting a blanket on a horse can really help in keeping them warm, helping them to cool down slowly or even in keeping pesky flies away, it is a good idea to have several different blankets available to meet your horse's needs.

The most common type of blanket is the stable blanket. These can be either a heavy or lightweight fabric and are typically a cotton or cotton blend material and may be quilted for winter use. Stable blankets are used when the horse is in an enclosed area and are not usually weather proof or water resistant. Stable blankets typically have a chest strap and a belly strap that keep them loosely in place on the horse's body. There are some types of stable blankets that are tighter to the horse's body, so it is important to look around at the different styles. Many people that show their horses use stable blankets to keep the horse clean and neat after bathing and grooming and before a competition. They can be embroidered or monogrammed to add that additional personal touch.

For the summer, flysheets can be used in the same fashion. They are lightweight, breathable materials that provide additional protection for the horse from gnats, mosquitoes and other biting insects. Flysheets are great for both indoor and outdoor wear and will attach securely to the body to prevent any possible safety problems if the horse is loose with the sheet on and decides to roll.

For heavier protection when a horse is outdoors in cold or wet weather a turn out blanket that combines a quilted lining with a waterproof exterior is ideal. Turnout blankets will have several straps, one across the chest, one or two under the belly and one under the tail to keep the blanket securely in place and fairly tight to the body, even if the horse decides to lie down or roll while out on the pasture.

Coolers and anti-sweat sheets are used typically on racehorses and competition horses that work very intensely and then stop. If the horse is not walked and the cooling down process controlled, the horse will become stiff and sore, just like a person that runs and doesn't stretch or cool down properly. Coolers and anti-sweat sheets slow the rate of evaporation to allow the cool down to occur more slowly, minimizing the problems with rapid temperature changes in the joints and muscles. Coolers and anti-sweat sheets are used in combination with walking to help these performance horses stay sound and healthy.

Anti-sweat sheets fit tightly to the horse, more like a very lightweight turnout blanket, whereas coolers are very loosely fitted. If you are using a cooler the horse cannot be left unsupervised as they can tangle around the horse's legs if he or she decides to lie down and roll.
About the Author
Susanne Malloy is an avid equestrian and an editor for http://www.EnglishSaddleShop.com your complete resource for new and used English saddles, riding apparel, and tack.
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