As we head into fall, many horse owners are starting to think about blanketing and which layers they will need to keep their horses warm and dry this season. A turnout sheet or light blanket can be important elements to add to your horse’s wardrobe to protect from mud and rain as the weather starts to cool, and is equally useful in the spring when weather is warming but still retains a chill. A turnout sheet is a lightweight, waterproof sheet with no fill, which is great for turnout to protect from mud, rain or wind. A light turnout blanket will protect from mud, rain and wind as well, with the additional benefit of having a light fill to provide additional warmth. Each of these horse clothing options are not necessarily required, but are great options in certain conditions.
- Rain – Turnout sheets are primarily utilized to protect the horse from inclement weather during cooler temperatures when shelter is not available. When the weather is not cold enough to warrant a heavier blanket, horses can catch a chill and end up shivering if they become wet from rain or mud. A turnout sheet, such as the Rider’s International Supreme, will ensure their body stays dry while in their field or paddock, but is breathable and will not put them at risk of overheating or sweating underneath a heavier blanket.
- Wind – Horses with natural hair growth are able to fluff out their coat and trap a layer of air close to the body to insulate them from the cold. When it is windy, however, that warm layer of air can be difficult to maintain and this natural warming technique does not work as well. On cool days when the wind is blowing, a turnout sheet can help keep the horse warm by blocking the wind.
- Body Clipped Horses – Horses who have been body clipped may need assistance staying warm in early fall cool temperatures, even on a day with clear skies and still air. A light turnout blanket is perfect to give these clipped horses a boost of protection.
- Geriatric Horses – Older horses, or those with certain health conditions, may have a more difficult time staying warm than their younger, healthier stable mates. As with body clipped horses, these aging equines can be given a hand on cool days by wearing a light turnout blanket.
- Layering – If you’re looking to make blanketing affordable and want to limit the number of blankets you purchase, a turnout sheet, like the Northwind Turnout Sheet, can be used as a waterproof layer over a mid-weight stable blanket for the horse’s time outside.
Ultimately, each horse will react differently to cold temperatures, with some horses running warmer or cooler just like people and you will need to monitor your horse to determine what type of blanket is appropriate for them as the weather shifts. If your horse spends lots of time outdoors, having a turnout sheet or light blanket in your arsenal of blankets certainly will prove itself useful.