Since horse blankets are used for so many different reasons, it shouldn’t be surprising for you to find that there are several different types of blankets. It is important to use a horse blanket to cover your horse while he is cooling down. Of course, horse blankets are also essential for sheltering horses from harsh weather or protecting them from horseflies and gnats.
When most people think of horse blankets, they probably picture the traditional stable blanket, which is designed to be worn when your horse is in the stable or in other enclosed areas. For older horses or horses that are ill, you may want to look for thick, quilted stable blankets, while horses that have recently been clipped may do best with a lighter weight blanket. If you don’t mind investing a bit of money in your blankets, you can have them designed in your choice of colors and even have them monogrammed with your stable’s initials.
If your horse needs to be protected from the cold but will be spending time in the pasture, you will want to use a turn out blanket, instead. These blankets are made with waterproof materials and are designed so that it is hard for them to become twisted around if the horse decides to roll around in the grass. Except for these added features, the turn out blanket is quite similar to the stable blanket.
The cooler is not actually considered a blanket by most horse enthusiasts. Instead, they refer to it as a sheet. Most race horses need a cooler to keep them from catching a chill as they cool down after a race or a fast workout. If you don’t compete in high speed events and only go on leisurely trail rides with your horse, you don’t need a cooler. People who do use a cooler on their horse should be sure to remove the sheet when they are not with the horse, since it does not strap on securely and could become tangled around his legs, with lethal results.
If you are at all concerned about the safety of using a cooler on your horse, you may want to take a look at the anti-sweat sheet, which is a fitted sheet that fastens like a stable blanket. You can use an anti-sweat sheet on your horse and leave him safely in an enclosed area, such as his stall for a few minutes, but you should never just leave him to cool off on his own, even if he is wearing the anti-sweat sheet, since his joints and muscles could stiffen up if he is not cooled down properly.
Finally, if your horse is being annoyed by flies or gnats, you may want to add a flysheet to your equipment. The flysheet is made with a very light material that breathes well, but protects your horse from receiving painful bites from horse flies.