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Turnout rugs - which horse blanket is the right one?
If you want to or have to cover your horse in the paddock in winter, sooner or later the question arises: With what? Sure, it should be a turnout blanket, also known as a paddock blanket, outside blanket or paddock blanket, because after all it is intended precisely for this: To keep the horse warm during the winter paddock ? The following article addresses this question.
The manufacturers kindly inform us with the meaningful information about the ceiling thickness in g / m², i.e. grams per square meter. But what does this information mean in practice?
Unlined horse blankets
Contrary to what the name suggests, these blankets have an inner fabric, also known colloquially as lining. So the name is a bit confusing. What is meant is that these blankets come without a warming insulating layer between the inner and outer fabric. That is why they do not have the insulation designation g / m², because this describes the weight of the wadding that is located between the inner and outer fabric.
Unlined horse blankets are particularly suitable for the transition season, as they do not warm or warm them very little. Above all, they protect the horse from rain and wind. This makes them the right choice on rainy late summer or autumn days or on particularly drafty paddocks, e.g. on a hill. For the winter, if at all, they are only suitable for robust roads with natural winter fur, i.e. unscored, in order to protect them from too much moisture.
Lined horse blankets
They are now, the actual winter blankets. Between the inner and outer fabric there is a layer of insulating material, mostly cotton wool or high-tech fibers such as carbon fiber or Goretex (the latter rustles a lot - please be careful if the horse is sensitive to such noises).
The thickness of the padding is also a measure of its ability to insulate heat. Thin lined blankets, often labeled Light, come with around 100g / m². These blankets are only slightly warmer than unlined blankets and are therefore particularly suitable for the transitional seasons or for "nature boys" as protection from snowfall or freezing rain.
Blankets with approx. 200g / m² are still relatively thin, but warm enough for a clipped or partially clipped horse to get along well with outside temperatures of around 0 ° C. For horses in winter fur, such a blanket is even sufficient for the entire winter (apart from occasional drops in temperature into the double-digit minus range).
The next level is around 400g / m². These horse blankets are very heat-insulating and are also suitable for horses that have to perform in winter and that have therefore been sheared down to around -10 ° C. These blankets are usually too warm for horses with natural fur.
Turnout rugs with 600g / m² or even 800g / m² are actually only something for really temperature-sensitive horses, horses after surviving illness, or at temperatures "beyond good and bad" (where you can again discuss whether a horse is under - 15 ° C really has to go out). For most horses, these blankets are too warm, which causes the horses to sweat under the blanket. This creates evaporation cold and the animal cools down despite the blanket.
A simple test of whether the blanket thickness fits both the horse and the season: Simply visit the horse in the paddock and put your hand deep under the blanket. Here it should be warm but not hot and under no circumstances humid. It is best to test this when the horse has just played a little with its comrades, because even then it must not sweat under the blanket.
Important: The following applies to horse blankets: If in doubt, it is better to choose the thinner than the thicker blanket. If the horse freezes a little, it will move around and get a little more fur in the long run. If the horse sweats under the blanket, the unfortunate combination of a blanket that is too thick, a sweaty horse and a cold wind leads all too quickly to the undesirable result of a surprising vet bill.
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