Cooler weather usually brings horse blanketing for many equestrians. While some horses do just fine without being blanketed, many horses benefit from wearing a sheet or blanket for a variety of reasons. (See our post on Why You Need a Turnout Sheet to understand the different benefits.) Many varieties of horse sheets and blankets are available, each with its own materials, design and features, but the two main categories of cool weather horse clothing are stable sheets and blankets and turnout sheets and blankets.
Location of Use
Stable sheets and blankets are intended to be used while the horse is stabled indoors, while being trailered or while being otherwise supervised.
Turnout sheets and blankets are intended to be used while the horse is outdoors in his paddock or field.
Stable sheets and blankets are not waterproof, although many feature some level of water resistance or repellency to help resist stains from manure or urine when the horse lies down in his stall.
Turnout sheets and blankets are waterproof, yet breathable, to protect the horse while he is outdoors exposed to the elements such as rain or snow. It is harmful for a horse to wear a wet blanket, so waterproofing is an important factor of a turnout.
Stable sheets and blankets are breathable and typically made from lightweight fabrics such as cotton, polyester, polypropylene or nylon. The fabric of stable blankets is often quilted to make the blanket loftier for indoor use while movement is limited.
Turnout sheets and blankets are breathable and made of highly durable materials that will stand up to the rigors and wear and tear of turnout. Since the horse will move around quite a bit while wearing a turnout, they often have nylon linings to allow the blanket to slide over the horse’s coat to help prevent rubs.
Fit of Cut
Stable sheets and blankets have a more fitted cut since they are worn indoors where the movement of the horse is restricted.
Turnout sheets and blankets are cut to allow for freedom of movement and often feature shoulder gussets or darts and other areas of flexibility that aid in comfort while the horse moves around outside.
Stable blankets can be a good additional layer underneath a turnout blanket to help keep the horse warm when temperatures drop significantly.
Turnout sheets can be layered over a stable blanket on a cold day to allow use of your stable blanket outdoors by adding a waterproof layer on top.
Whether you are trying to keep your horse clean and stain free overnight with a stable sheet or protect him with a turnout sheet or blanket from falling snow while he’s in his paddock, knowing the key differences between stable and turnout sheets and blankets will help you achieve your blanketing goal this fall and winter.