Livestock

Our picks for the 4 best heavy-duty horse blankets

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Sometimes, staving off Mother Nature requires something really heavy duty. That goes for people and for animals. With horses, having great, breathable insulation as well as an effective moisture barrier means a lot during some of the lowest temps. So what are the best winter horse blankets on the market — the stuff you break out during the real deep freezes?

We had to delve into many of the specific features of horse blankets to find out, including the shell and liner material and their waterproofing abilities, as well as how the buckles and straps (surcingles) are situated to allow for movement and versatility. The best horse blankets on the market are going to put a premium on these features, and if you want to keep your horses happy and healthy — and to help them avoid shedding excessive weight in the winter — these are some of the things you as a buyer should look out for, too.

The list below features our favorite heavy-duty horse blankets, and they’ve helped to keep our animals happy when the winds are whipping through their shelters or they want to go for a stroll through the snow.

WeatherBeeta ComFiTec

WeatherBeeta Comfitec Essential, Standard Neck

WeatherBeeta always gives you great bang for your buck — and no blanket out there has held up on our animals season after season as our WeatherBeetas have. They feature a strong and durable 1200-denier ripstop outer with repel shell coating that is both waterproof and breathable. Those are especially valuable features to have if you live along the mountains or the water, where weather patterns can shift in a heartbeat, meaning you get a surprise chilly popup rainstorm or weird waves of humidity rolling through.

Among this horse blanket’s features are:

  • 210T polyester lining
  • Traditional shoulder gusset for natural movement
  • Twin adjustable buckle front closures
  • Adjustable and removable leg straps
  • Standard tail flap
  • Low cross surcingles


best winter horse blanket

Tough-1 Extreme Poly Turnout Blanket

This Tough-1 Turnout Blanket features a 1680-denier waterproof ripstop poly outer shell with 210 lining and 250 grams of poly fill for great heat retention. The adjustable Snuggit neck is really one of the best things about this blanket, because it allows you to customize the fit of this blanket to your horse. If you’ve ever had a horse that doesn’t always like to be blanketed, no matter how cold it is, you’ll understand the value in a good fit like that.

Among this horse blanket’s features are:

  • Fleece wither protection
  • Crossed surcingles with elastic ends
  • Adjustable leg straps with elastic ends
  • Adjustable double buckle front with snap closure
  • Shoulder gussets and rear surcingle gussets allow freedom of movement


winter horse blankets

Amigo Bravo 12 All-In-One Heavy Turnout

Though it’s the priciest of the bunch, it also comes with a built-in neck cover — hence the “all-in-one” part of the name. It’s design for maximum security and comfort — specifically geared toward narrower-built horses. The fully integrated design includes double front closure, leg arches, cross surcingles, reflective strips and shine enhancing polyester lining.

Among this horse blanket’s features are:

  • 1200 Denier polyester waterproof
  • Breathable outer
  • Polyester lining with fiberfill in blanket.


rambo horse blanket

Rambo Stable Plus w/Vari-Layer

This blanket is sure to provide your horse lots of warm comfort and protection during winter. Created with 1000 denier ripstop texturized polyester outer, the microfibre lining with 450g thermobonded fibre fill makes it an extremely tough stable rug ideal to keep your horse warm in the stable. Moreover, it comes with vari-layer technology that makes the blanket lighter yet more thermally efficient. The patented v-front closure allows free movement for the horse to graze by wrapping around the point of the shoulder and relieving pressure on it.

One big thing to note: This is a stable blanket, which means it’s not going to have the waterproofing properties of other blankets on this list.

Among this horse blanket’s features are:

  • Detachable hood included
  • Comes with vari-layer technology
  • Includes patented v-front closure
  • Has microfibre lining and tail flap


How do I determine the right size for a horse blanket?

Of course, you have to take care to buy the correct size. This is vital to make sure your horse is comfortable and that it is getting all of the protection it needs from the elements. Measurements are in inches, and generally are taken from the center of the chest to where the tail hair begins, as the horse is standing square. This video is a good one for helping you figure out where to measure to get your blanket sizing correct:

Should horse blankets be used?

This is one of the most hotly-debated topics in the equine community. And our reply is that oft-despised cop-out answer of “it depends.” But hear us out. People who are against the use of horse blankets say this: “The domestic horse is the same as its wild counterpart: it has the same abilities and needs to survive. Basically, they do not need anything more from the human than only to provide keeping conditions that this species is supposed to have by dictate of nature.” 

We tend to hold off as long as possible to put a blanket on a horse going into the cold months — we want the horse’s coat to grow long and its natural protection to take effect. However, we have one thoroughbred that’s a particularly hard keeper, who has cribbed since the day we got him, and is difficult to keep weight on during the winter. He definitely gets a blanket for a lot of the cold season, as he has a tendency to drop weight, and we don’t want him burning off through shivering what little fat he may have tried to store up in the fall. 

The opposing example is our former BLM mustang, who hates being blanketed and doesn’t get extra insulation unless it’s super cold or if it’ll be cold for a particularly long stretch. She is younger than the thoroughbred and has spent less time of her life in a stable, so her needs are different than the thoroughbreds.

So, as we said, it depends. You know your animals, so please do what you feel is right for them and don’t feel that there’s a one-size-fits-all approach to it.

What is denier ripstop?

This is a type of nylon with excellent water-repellent capabilities. In the equestrian and various other outdoors industries, this type of material is used for outer-shell garments and wherever rain- and snow-protection is needed. Specifically, denier refers to the weight of the single strain of the nylon if it was stretches over 9,000 meters in length. That weight is measured in grams. So, for example, a 1680-denier waterproof ripstop nylon is a heavier material than a 1200-denier nylon — and, by extension, it’s likely stronger, better-insulating, and more durable.

 

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