When To Blanket A Horse? Temperature Guide for Cold Weather

Horse blanketing is a personal topic for many riders. When to blanket a horse, if you’re blanketing at all, depends a great deal on your personal horse and its needs. 

Thus, we have prepared this helpful overview on horse blanketing, including a ‘when to blanket a horse temperature’ chart, to help you understand the when, how’s, and whys of blanketing your horse.

When to Blanket A Horse: Proper Blanketing Tips

Simply put, you should blanket a horse when they are cold and seem uncomfortable. If your horse is shivering, this is a clear indication that their core body temperature is dropping and they need immediate assistance to stay warm. 

When to Blanket a Horse? Temperature Guide for Cold Weather

It is important that you address shivering immediately because if a horse lets their core temperature drop for too long, it will make them vulnerable to illnesses.

When to Blanket A Horse: Factors That Can Lower Your Horse’s Internal Temperature

Weather Changes

As the weather gets colder, it becomes more difficult for your horse to regulate themselves to a normal temperature. As such, you should start to blanket your horse as the weather starts to drop below 50°. 

And to ease your horse into having a blanket on, Equus Magazine suggests you use a quarter sheet under your saddle when riding your horse, to allow his back muscles to gradually adjust to the blanket as he moves.  

Horses Coat

When a horse’s coat is allowed to grow out in the winter months, it naturally creates a layer of hair that helps keep their temperature regulated. For horses showing in the winter, having this growth is not always an option and they need to have their body clipped. 

And if your horse’s hair is clipped, you may need to start blanketing them earlier and also use heavier weighted blankets than a horse without a clipped coat. 


Aging Horse/Illness

Horses that are not in their prime will typically need to be blanketed at the first sign of cold weather. Due to their lower muscle mass and fat, their lack of insulation makes them more likely to get ill when it is cold. 

As such, it is important that you keep an eye on horses that have a hard time eating large quantities of food, for medical reasons or otherwise, as they will not put on winter weight, and will need to be blanketed earlier. 

Find out if Horses Get Cold In The Winter

When to Blanket A Horse: How to Blanket a Horse in Winter

As we just discussed, getting your horse to a normal temperature depends on many things. In this ‘when to blanket a horse temperature guide’ from Stateline Tack, you will see that whether or not your horse is clipped, plays a major role in determining which blanket to use.

Horse Blanketing Guide

Thus, when following this guide, you should remember the other factors which may affect your horse’s normal temperature and watch them carefully to see if an increase or decrease in blanket weight is needed. 

Temperature  Horse with natural coat Horse that is body clipped
50° – 60° Sheet – No Fill Light Blanket (100 g)


40° – 50° Light Blanket (100g) Light/Medium Blanket (150g – 250g)
30° – 40° Light/Medium Blanket (150g – 250g) Medium/Heavy Blanket (200g – 300g)
20° – 30° Medium/Heavy Blanket (200g – 300g) Heavy (300g – 400 g) or Medium Blanket
Below 20° Heavy (300g – 400g)  Heavy (300g – 400g) with Blanket Liner

Blanket A Horse: Different Types of Horse Blankets

There are quite a few different types of horse blankets, but don’t worry, as there are clear guides on what type of blanket to use and when. As the Practical Horseman suggests, these two questions come into play when narrowing down your choices:

  1. Is your horse turned out in inclement weather?
  2. Is your horse clipped during the winter or left to grow a coat?

Once you know the answers to these questions, you can then take a look at the options below, and see which kind of blanket is the right fit for you. 

Different Types of Horse Blankets. When to Blanket a Horse

Turn Out Blankets For Horses

The defining features of a turnout are that, not only are they waterproof, meaning can be worn outdoors, they also come in different weights. Currently, there are two types of turnouts to use when you blanket a horse, and they are;

A turnout sheet has no filling. A turnout blanket has a filling in different weights, that will help warm your horse to a normal temperature. 

Even though they can be used as a stable blanket, the waterproofing feature serves as an additional cost, even if you don’t plan on using it.

Stable Blankets

Stable blankets also help to keep your horse at a normal temperature, but unlike turnouts, they are not waterproof and should only be used indoors. They come in a variety of weights and horse owners are expected to choose which weight to use, based on the temperature chart above. Stable blankets also come in many styles and patterns so you can personalize the look of what your horse is wearing!

Rain and Fly Sheets

While not technically considered blankets, you might get to see rain and fly sheets as options when looking for horse covers. Rain sheets help keep your horse dry in light rain, fog, and sleet, whereas fly sheets cover your horse’s neck, tail and protects bug bites in the humid seasons. Neither of these options is designed to keep your horse warm, so if you are looking out to regulating the temperature in the winter months, you should get your horse either the turnouts or stable blankets. 

When Should the Blanket Come Off?

Just as you start to blanket your horse when they are cold, you should stop blanketing them when they are warm. As the temperature rises, you can start blanketing your horse with more light-weight blankets and once it is above 50°, you can stop blanketing all together.  

When to Blanket a Horse? Temperature Guide for Cold Weather

An important note to remember is that, if a blanket gets wet at any time, remove it as quickly as possible to prevent your horse from getting chilled or rain rot.  

Keep Your Horse Happy!

You know your horse best and can see when they are comfortable and happy. As such, keep your horse warm and healthy by following the above blanketing temperature guide and tips, in order to know when or not to blanket your horse. 

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