Tag Archives: horse equipment

How Much Does it Cost to Keep a Horse

cost to keep a horseI recently saw a post in an equestrian group on Facebook asking, how much does it cost to keep a horse for a year? Many people responded. My favorite answer was 'your heart and soul'. That pretty much sums up the life of an equestrian. But, it got me thinking. Horses and the sports that go along with them are, for most of us, far more than a hobby they are a way of life.

I would hazard to guess that not many equestrians know how much they spend annually on their passion. They will know how much they spend on board, farrier, and the vet but don't always take into account clothes, necessary tack, unnecessary extras such as treats, blingy browbands, the latest style of saddle pad, or any other accompaniments that equestrian brands tell us we must have.

Below I have attempted to put together a list of expenses relating to keeping a horse. It shows three varying options. The lower end includes the basics, the middle range covers possible unforeseen expenses, and the latter has all the bells and whistles. I have then averaged out these prices. Of course, I can not include all scenarios and these prices are subject to fluctuation depending on the type of horse, discipline, and location.

I would love to hear your opinions and have some feedback.

Annual Cost to Keep a Horse*

Service Pasture
Basic Full
Full Board in a
Show Barn
Board $3,000 $6,000 $10,000 $6,333
Lessons $0 don't take
$2,600 one lesson
per week
$7,800 one lesson and
one trainer ride per
Farrier $390 barefoot
every 6 weeks
$1,040 full-set
every 6 weeks
$2,080 full-set
every 4 weeks
from the best farrier in town
Vet $400 shots and
teeth floating
$2,400 basics
plus unexpected
$6,600 basics,
lameness, chiro,
Magna Wave
Tack $500 basic needs $2,000 basic needs
and upgrades
$6,000 basic needs,
upgrades, plus new
saddle as the horse's
physique has changed
due to training
Clothes $500 barn boots,
pants, etc.
$2,500 boots, new
riding clothes
$5,000 basics plus
latest fashion trends
Showing $0 do not show $400 a few local
$8,000 six rated shows
including entries,
trainer, etc.
$500 $1,000 $3,000 $1,500
TOTAL $5,290 $17,940 $48,480 $23,903

I will admit to being frugal when it comes to spending money so it is possible that these prices are on the low side. No matter what kind of barn you board at, whether or not you show, or how often you buy new clothes, one thing is very clear, the decision to buy a horse should be given a great deal of thought and you must be sure you can afford to cover all your known and unexpected expenses.

How much do you think it costs to keep a horse for a year?

*Prices are per annum based on average prices around the Charlotte, NC area in the summer of 2019 and are subject to change.

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Basic Horse Equipment and Use

The kind of horse equipment you need will depend on which equine activity you participate in. This blog concentrates on the basic horse equipment needed to safely enjoy and ride your horse.

Horse equipment is called saddlery or more commonly, tack. It consists of a saddle (fitted with a girth, stirrup leathers, and stirrup irons) and a bridle with an appropriate bit.


The best material for tack is good quality leather. Cheap tack is often low-quality leather. It can be hard and brittle and not last as long. Tack is an expensive investment but if looked after correctly it can last you a very long time.

It is vital that:

  • the tack fits the horse and rider (more about this in an upcoming blog)
  • it is the correct type for the job you and your horse will be doing
  • you take good care of it by regularly cleaning it (more about this in an upcoming blog)

Buying Used Tack

Make sure that the leather is good quality and in good condition. Stitching should be strong and not perished. It is imperative when buying a used saddle that the tree is not broken or twisted. To check for a broken tree hold the cantle of the saddle against your hip and try to pull the pommel towards you. If it is a fixed tree there shouldn't be any movement at all. If it is a spring tree you should feel a gentle flexing that springs back into place when you release the pressure. To check for a twisted tree look from the cantle towards the pommel to make sure they are in line with each other. Also, check that the front arch under the pommel does not move or make a noise when you put pressure downwards onto it. Wrinkled or stretched leather on the seat can indicate there is probably some internal damage to the saddle and you shouldn't buy it.

Synthetic Tack

Synthetic tack is becoming more and more popular and can be a cheaper alternative. It is also lighter than leather which makes it easier for children to handle. If you do decide to buy synthetic tack make sure it is a reputable make as some of the non-named brands are cheaply made and do not last very long. I personally do not like synthetic tack but I have friends who swear by it so it really is a personal decision.


The metalwork on your saddle and bridle (stirrup irons, buckles, bits, etc.) should be made of top quality steel. Stainless steel is the best as it resists staining and discoloration, doesn't chip or flake, and is very durable. Nickel (often found on cheap tack) can be dangerous as it is much softer and can bend or break.


The Parts of a Bridle and Functions

  • Headpiece and Throatlash - made from one piece of leather. Together with the cheek pieces, the headpiece supports the bit. The throatlash helps to keep the bridle in place by fastening loosely under the horse's throat. When fitted correctly you should be able to fit four fingers, sideways, between the leather and the horse's neck.
  • Browband - this lies across the brow of the horse and prevents it from slipping back. It should be tight enough so as not to sag away from the head but not so tight that it causes the headpiece to rub the back of the ears.
  • Cheekpieces - these attach to the headpiece at the top and the bit at the bottom. They should be snug enough to hold the bit in place but not so tight that the bit pulls up into the horse's mouth.
  • Bit - the bit attaches to the cheekpieces and reins. It should protrude about a ¼ inch or the width of your little finger at each side of the horse's mouth. When the bridle is on the horse the bit should make the horse look as if he is very slightly smiling. Bits can be made of copper, sweet iron, or aurigan to give the bit a more palatable taste for the horse and encourage salivation. For a more robust feel, some horses prefer a bit made of vulcanized rubber. Often times you will have to try a few different bits before you find one your horse really likes.
  • Reins - attach to the bit and are used to help steer the horse. They are available in different types of material.
    • Plain leather - they look very smart but can be slippery when wet
    • Leather With Grips - these have good grip but only at certain intervals along them so can be restrictive for subtly altering the amount of contact
    • Laced or Plaited - less slippery than plain leather but more expensive and more difficult to clean
    • Rubber Over Leather - these give the best grip especially in rain or on a sweaty horse. One option with these reins is Rainbow Reins with bands of different colors. These are great for teaching novice riders where to hold the reins.
    • Rubber Reins - usually used with a rubber (rather than leather) bridle. They are very easy to keep clean as you can wash them with soap and water but are slippery and not very pliable
    • Nylon Reins - not very popular with English riders anymore
  • Noseband - the cavesson noseband is the standard type and the only kind to which a standing martingale can be attached. You should be able to fit two fingers under it at the nose. There should be a 'two-fingered' space under the projecting cheekbone.

Parts Of A Bridle

Parts of a Bridle


There are many different makes and models of saddles available. The main types are:

  • Jumping Saddle (Close Contact) - has a flat seat with the panels cut forwards. Designed for riding with shorter stirrup leathers it can have large knee-rolls which help to keep the rider's legs in the correct place.
  • Dressage Saddle - has a deep seat and straight cut flaps. It usually has extra long billets and uses a shorter dressage girth. This design allows the rider to sit deep with the correct leg position.
  • General Purpose - designed for general riding it is shaped between a dressage saddle and a jumping saddle. Due to the fact that tack is so expensive, most pleasure riders use a general purpose saddle

Saddle Sizes

It is important that the saddle fits both the horse and the rider. (More about this in a later blog).

Saddles are measured from the pommel to the cantle. Standard sizes are 15" - 18". On saddles with a cut back head, measure from the stud at the side of the pommel to the cantle. The size of the saddle is determined, generally by the size of the rider but should never be too long on a horse's back as it would put too much pressure on his kidneys.

They are available in three widths - narrow, medium, and wide. Some pony saddles are also available in extra wide. The width is determined by the shape of the horse's back and withers.

Anatomy Of A Saddle


The tree is the foundation of the saddle and is usually made of laminated wood but plastic and fiberglass are also used. A spring-tree saddle has a strip of flexible steel in the tree on both sides of the waist which gives the saddle a less rigid feel for both horse and rider but they are more expensive to buy. Quality saddles are usually stamped with the name or logo of the manufacturer on the panel along with the size. Sometimes it is on a metal plate. On older saddles, this was stamped onto the stirrup-bar.


The seat is the top of the saddle, between the pommel and cantle, where the rider sits. It is formed by strips of webbing stretched across the tree. It is then padded and covered with leather or a synthetic material. The deeper the seat the more secure the rider will be.

Girth Straps Or Billets

These are attached to the webbing strips that form the seat. The first strap is attached to one piece of webbing and the second and third straps are attached to another. For safety reasons, you should always attach your girth to the first strap and either the second or third, never the second and third.


These are attached to the tree. They should be open-ended to allow the stirrup-leathers to slide off should the rider fall from the horse and get their foot stuck in the stirrup. On most saddles, the stirrup-bars have a hinge that can be turned up to prevent the stirrups from falling off a horse that is being lead or lunged. NEVER ride with the bar turned up. Bars that are not open-ended or are in the shape of a sideways D (usually on a pony pad) should never be used without safety stirrups.


This is the underside of the saddle that lies against the horse's sides. Some panels have knee rolls at the front and some even have thigh rolls behind the rider's leg, all designed help keep the rider's leg in the optimal position. It usually comes down almost to the bottom of the saddle flap. A half-panel reaches halfway down the saddle flap and has a large sweat flap to stop the girth buckle from pinching the horse's skin. These are not very common anymore.


The flap is the outer part, that covers the panel, where the rider's leg lies. The size and shape is determined by the style and use of the saddle as it helps position the rider's leg correctly.


The gullet is actually the space between the bars of the saddle but is generally known as the space under the saddle and rests above the horse's spine. There should be enough clearance so that no part of the saddle is ever in contact with the horse's spine. The width of some saddles can be altered with interchangeable gullets.

Waist Or Twist

This is between the seat and the pommel. The size of the waist can greatly affect the comfort of the saddle for the rider.


The very front of the saddle. It is higher than the seat and helps provide stability for the rider. It needs to be high enough so that it does not rub against the horse's withers. The pommel of a jumping saddle is lower than that of a dressage saddle allowing the rider to ride in two-point (forward) position.


The back of the saddle that is higher than the seat. It, along with the pommel, gives the rider security in the saddle.


A small piece of leather that covers the stirrup bar to help prevent rubbing on the inside of the rider's leg.


The stuffing in a saddle is normally wool, synthetic, foam, or felt. The saddle should be stuffed evenly and never feel lumpy. As saddles get older they sometimes need re-stuffing. This can also be called re-flocking.

D Rings

Metal rings attached to the saddle and used to attach various items. The ones on the front are mainly used to connect a breastplate. They are also useful for attaching a strap for novice riders who are learning to balance and riding on the lunge. The ones on the sides near the seat can be used for saddle bags. Not all saddles have the rear D rings.

Parts Of A SaddleParts of a Saddle, Horse EquipmentIMAGE OF A SADDLE


This is what holds the saddle in place so it is vital that it fits comfortably and correctly. The size is measured from end to end including the buckles. They can be made from many different materials.

  • Leather - if correctly looked after these look very smart and are comfortable for the horse but are expensive to buy.
  • Three-Fold - is a single piece of soft leather, cut straight and folded to form three layers with two buckles at each end. Between the folds, there should be a piece of flannel or other material, which should be soaked occasionally in neatsfoot oil to keep the leather soft. The folded edge should be towards the front of the horse.
  • Balding - one piece of leather with two buckles on each end. The center part is divided into three strips. They are crossed over and stitched in the middle. This reduces the width of the girth behind the elbow of the horse where it could cause girth galls. Because the leather is in strips make sure they do not pinch the horse's skin between them.
  • Atherstone - made of one piece of leather with two buckles on each end, it is shaped similar to the Balding but it has a leather strip stitched down the center on the outside to hold the shape. This style also helps prevent girth galls.
  • Fleece - this is a synthetic material with a fleece lining designed to wick away moisture from the horse's skin. These are popular with hunt seat riders.
  • Dressage - these girths also come in various different materials and are usually much shorter than regular girths as the billets on a dressage saddle are longer.

Stirrup Irons

These should be made of stainless steel and be the correct size for the person riding the horse. They should allow ½" at each side of the rider's boot. Rubber treads help to stop the foot from slipping. It is very dangerous for a person to ride with stirrups that are too big, allowing their foot to slip all the way through. Children and small adults who, if they got their foot caught in the stirrup and fell off, might not be heavy enough to pull the stirrup leather off the stirrup bar should use safety stirrups.

  • Peacock or Safety Stirrups - these stirrups have a thick roll of rubber along the outside of the iron. This rubber will easily snap off if someone falls from the horse making it far less likely that they will get their foot caught in the stirrup. The disadvantages are that it does not hang level as it is heavier on one side. The rubber perishes over time and needs to be replaced. They have also been known to bend under extreme pressure.
  • Bent Leg - these have a curve or bend on one side. The bend should be to the outside and bend towards the front. They hang straighter than the Peacock style but you may find that your foot slips out of them until you get used to how they feel.

It is essential to use a safety stirrup with a saddle that does not have an open-ended stirrup bar.

Stirrup Leathers

The stirrup leather passes through the stirrup bar and the gap in the top of the stirrup iron. They have a buckle to adjust the length. All leather stretches over time so make sure the holes are still level on each one. It is a good idea to regularly swap over the left and right leathers as the left one will stretch more because of the rider mounting from that side. Stirrup leathers should be shortened periodically at the buckle end so that they don't always wear in the same place. They can be made of different types of leather and other materials.

  • Ordinary Leather - if this is top quality leather it looks the smartest but can break under extreme pressure. They are usually used for showing.
  • Rawhide - these are virtually unbreakable and usually used by cross country riders. They can look thick and clumsy.
  • Buffalo Hide - these are also virtually unbreakable but are reddish in color and don't always match the color of the saddle. They are more prone to stretching than other leathers.
  • Synthetic - made from a synthetic material they are easy to clean. The thin material kind are flexible but crack and flake easily. The thick rubber kind aren't very pliable making it difficult to adjust the length.


There are four different types of martingales. They are all used to help control the horse.

  • Running - this is attached to the girth and passes between the forelegs and through the neck strap. It then splits into two and each piece has a ring on the end. The reins pass through the rings. When fitted correctly the ring should reach up into the horse's throat or back to the withers. It should only come into play if the horse lifts his head too high. It should not be used to keep the horse's head down. The buckle on the neck strap should be on the left side and allow four fingers clearance between the strap and the withers. The straps with the rings on should not be twisted when passing the reins through.
  • Standing - this is attached to the girth and passes between the forelegs and through the neck strap. It is then attached to the back of a cavesson noseband (or the cavesson part of a flash noseband). It should be long enough to reach up to the horse's throat or back to the withers. The buckle on the neck strap should be on the left side and allow four fingers clearance. It is used to stop the horse from raising his head above the level of control. A standing martingale is more restrictive than a running martingale.
  • Irish - this is two rings connected with a strap approximately 4" long. It is used under the horse's neck with the reins passed through it. It is used to keep the reins in place and close to the horse's neck and to help prevent them from coming over the horse's neck should the rider fall off. It is often used in horse racing.
  • Bib - this is a combination of a running and Irish martingale. A bib fills the space where the running martingale divides into two. It is fitted the same way as a running martingale and has the same effect but also keeps the reins closer together.


There are various different types of breastplate but they are all designed to prevent the saddle from slipping backward. They attached to the D rings on the front of the saddle and between the forelegs and onto the girth. They should be tight enough to be effective but not so tight that they interfere with the horse's movement.


This is used to stop a saddle or roller from slipping forwards. It is a loop that fits around the horse's dock and a strap which fastens onto the D ring on the back of the cantle. The part that fits around the dock can be made of soft folded leather but the more expensive ones are hollowed leather filled with crushed linseed which, when warmed by the horse's body heat, releases oil through the leather which reduces the chance of rubbing. They are most often used on small ponies with flat withers.

Saddle Pads

These come in all shapes and sizes and are used, under a saddle, to provide extra padding and to keep the underside of the saddle clean. They are fitted with webbing on each side and at the bottom. One saddle billet should pass through the webbing at the top and the girth should pass through the webbing at the bottom. This helps prevent the pad from slipping backward. When tacking up pull the pad up into the gullet of the saddle so that it doesn't put pressure on the horse's spine. Also, make sure that it lies flat under the saddle. If it is wrinkled in any way it will be uncomfortable and could cause pressure points on the horse's back. Pads can be fitted or rectangular in shape. Fitted pads should be the correct size for the saddle and be slightly bigger, about 2" all the way around. Generally, fitted pads are used for hunt seat riding whereas rectangular pads are used for dressage, jumpers, and cross country.

Types of Saddle Pads

  • Cotton Covered Foam - these are very popular and available in many different colors. They are easy to look after and can be machine washed. They are only semi-absorbent and shouldn't be used if they are damp. They should be washed regularly.
  • Sheepskin - these are the best as it is a natural fiber and absorbs sweat easily however they are expensive to buy.
  • Synthetic Sheepskin - these vary in price and quality. The types that absorb sweat are suitable but the other kinds should be avoided.
  • Felt - although not used very often anymore they are absorbent and good at minimizing pressure or concussion. They are expensive and difficult to keep clean.

No matter what kind of riding you do or what kind of tack you own it is very important to look after it and keep it clean and in good repair.

Previous Blog: Grooming A Horse
Next Blog: Tacking-up, Removing, and Maintaining Tack (Coming soon)

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Twelve Equestrian Products I Love

horse products
Our Shetland, White Rose Buttercup

More and more equestrian companies are inventing and developing new and innovative equestrian products and trying to convince us that we can not live without them. Some are useful, others, not so much.

Over the years I have amassed a large collection of equestrian items. Some have proven to be invaluable whereas others were a waste of money.

I have put together, in no particular order, a list the 12 equestrian products (and some non-equestrian products) that I use on a regular basis that help me do my job.

  1. Fly Spray - I have tried every fly-spray available. Some work better than others. Some don't work at all. The thing I don't like about, most, of the commercially available products, are the chemicals used to kill or repel flies. This is why we decided to create our own. 49% water, 49% white vinegar, 2% cedar oil. Mix together in a large container and put into spray bottles. It not only smells good but it is also harmless to the horses and can safely be used on people.
  2. Fly Masks - No matter how well your fly spray works the effect only lasts a certain amount of time. During the hot summer months, when flies are more prevalent, our horses are in their stalls relaxing under the welcome breeze of their stall fans (see #3). They spend the nights out in the pastures. To give them relief from flies and gnats, after the fly spray has worn off, we make sure they each have a carefully fitted fly mask. I prefer the kind that covers the horse's ears to keep out the annoying bugs.
  3. Stall Fans - Our stall fans are invaluable in the blistering heat of the summer. They keep the air circulating in the barn and help to keep the horses cool and stress-free. Having heard so many horror stories of box fans catching fire we invested in some high efficiency, closed motor fans. Yes, they are more expensive but even on the lowest setting, they are more powerful than a regular box fan. They are also safer as dust cannot get into the moving parts of the motor.
  4. Hose Reel - Not only is it dangerous but it also looks unsightly to have a water hose strewn across the barn aisle. At each end of our barn, we have a hose that we use to fill and wash water buckets and also bathe horses. When it's not in use it is carefully and easily stored in our wall-mounted hose reel.
  5. Sun Protection - I can not stress enough the importance of protecting your skin from the sun. According to The American Society for Dermatological Surgery skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 3.5 million skin cancers in over 2 million people are diagnosed annually. There is no such thing as a safe tan, even if you tan easily without burning. I never leave the house without sunscreen, my sun hat, and my sunglasses. I use the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen. It goes on easily and is non-greasy (which I love). It also has a very unique handle set-up making it easy for me to spray my back. I use, year-round, Neutrogena Age Face Lotion on my face. It goes on smoothly and works great alone or under make-up.
  6. Hay Nets - Some equestrians swear by hay nets and some will not use them. That discussion can wait for another day. I use them because we have so much grass that our horses, when stalled, really don't need to be filling their faces with hay. Of course, it isn't safe to allow a horse to go for long periods of time without food so I feed them good quality hay in a slow-feeder hay net. It keeps them occupied and their digestive system full without allowing them to gorge.
  7. Pestle and Mortar - I know not everyone will need a pestle and mortar. We do because our cute, little Shetland has Cushings and needs daily medication. Originally, I was breaking up the medicine and mixing it in with her low-carbohydrate feed but after a while, she decided she didn't want to eat it anymore. So, now, the only way to ensure she gets the correct amount of medicine is to pulverize it into a powder, mix it with water, and administer it, orally, with a syringe. I couldn't do this without our pestle and mortar.
  8. Footwear - I absolutely love my Ariat H2O boots. They are the most comfortable footwear I have ever owned. I wear them every day. They are made of soft, durable leather that is also waterproof. I wear them around the barn and also ride in them. The sizes run big so I recommend you get a ½ size smaller than you usually wear.
  9. Water Container - According to healthline.com the average adult should consume 8 x 8oz glasses of water daily to prevent dehydration. This amount increases drastically in hot conditions. I am not only an equestrian but also an advocate for reusing and recycling as much as possible. I do not purchase bottled water. Instead, I use our delicious well water and carry it to the barn with me in my Yeti Rambler. I add ice first then fill it up and it keeps my water cold all-day-long no matter how hot the weather gets.
  10. Shaving Fork - How annoying is it when the tines on your shaving fork break rendering it useless? I was lucky enough to stumble upon The Forever Fork four years ago. Yes, that's right. I have been using the same shavings fork for four years and it's still going strong. I have banged it, accidentally, against the wall more times than I care to remember. Horses and children have knocked it over. I have even run over it with the trailer I use to collect manure and it still didn't break. I can not emphasize enough how amazing this product is. It is more expensive than a regular fork and worth every single penny.
  11. Schooling Tights - When the weather is hot and sticky it can be less appealing to ride. But, ride we must. Whether for pleasure or to achieve a goal it is important to keep ourselves and our horses in the best condition possible. My go-to riding pants for summer are Kerrits Ice Fil Tec Tight. They are comfortable, flexible, and breathable.
  12. Gate Latches - There are so many different gate latches available these days it's difficult to know where to start. I've tried a few and always come back to the Tough-1 Qwikee Gate Latch. They are easy to install and, if positioned high enough, easy to open and close while riding on the trails. We have them on all our gates.

I hope you have found this list interesting and informative. What are some of your must-have equestrian products?

This list mostly applies to the summer months. I will write another blog later in the year to include winter items.

Disclaimer: We do not warranty any of these companies or products. These are items we use/have used and find them suitable for our needs. You should research these products before purchasing them. We are not sponsored by any of the aforementioned companies or products. These products have been bought by us for our own use. The links are affiliate links.

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A Comprehensive Guide to Buying the Right Horse Blanket

How do you know which is the right horse blanket for your horse?

The weather starting to cool down so our thought turn to how we can keep our horses comfortable during cold, inclement weather. You want to be sure he is warm and dry but with the multitude of blankets available to choose from, and the expense incurred when buying one, you need to be sure you get the right one for your horse.

Here is a guide to help you decide which is the right horse blanket for you.

What kind of blanket should I buy?

There are literally hundreds of different styles and types of blanket available, and they can be very expensive, so you should first ask yourself does my horse need a blanket at all.

Most horses can survive, year round, outside, even in extreme climates providing they have adequate body hair and a place to shelter from the wind. In higher elevations or very exposed pastures, even an unclipped horse could benefit from some extra protection in the form of a blanket. A horse who has been clipped (hair removed from its body) MUST wear a blanket while it is turned out during inclement weather but also while stabled. Horses are better at generating body heat while in the pasture as they have the option to move around more. A stabled horse is far more likely to feel the cold.

Once you have decided your horse needs a blanket then you have to make sure you get the right one.

There are basically two different types of horse blanket:

Stable Blanket

Stable blankets are used, as the name would suggest, while the horse is in the stable. They are NOT waterproof and should not be used outside. They are generally made of a quilt type material and fitted to the body. Hoods, usually sold separately, can also be used for more complete coverage of horses with a full body clip.

Turnout Blanket

Turnout blankets are waterproof and come in two different types: standard or combo. A standard turnout blanket covers from the withers to the tail whereas a combo also has a detachable hood to cover from just behind the ears down to the withers.

What size blanket do I need?

How to measure a horse blanketIn order to know what size of blanket to buy you need to measure your horse. If possible get someone to help you with this.

  • Stand your horse, squarely, on a level surface
  • With a flexible tape measure, measure from the center of the horse's chest (over the highpoint of the shoulder) to the rear of the hind leg (level with the point of the buttocks).
  • If the size you measure is not available from the manufacturer, round up to the next size

Will it keep my horse warm enough?

Blankets are generally filled with either Polyfill or Fiberfill and measured in grams. The amount of filling will determine how warm the blanket will be. Knowing how much fill your blanket will need is decided by the following factors:

  • The environment in which your horse will live. Take into consideration not only the weather but also his accessibility to shelter.
  • The condition and length of your horse's coat, and whether or not he is clipped

Below is a chart to help you decide how much fill your blanket will need:

Fill Warmth
Sheet - no fill Provides protection from wind and rain
100 gram fill Light warmth
150 gram fill Light to medium warmth
200 gram fill Medium warmth
250 gram fill Medium to heavy warmth
300 gram fill Heavy warmth
400 gram fill Very heavy warmth

Can my horse wear the same blanket all winter?

It would be very convenient for all concerned if your horse could wear the same blanket all winter long, and some do. However, some days are warmer than others, even in winter (especially if you live in the lower states). Therefore it is a good idea to have at least two stable blankets and two turnout blankets.

Below is a chart to help you decide when to use which blanket:

Temperature Horse with a Full Coat Horse with a Body Clip
50 - 60° F Sheet Light blanket (100g)
40 - 50° F Light blanket (100g) Light to medium blanket (150-250g)
30 - 40° F Light to medium blanket (150g-250g) Medium to heavy blanket (200g-300g)
20 - 30° F Medium to heavy blanket (200-300 g) Heavy (300-400g) or medium (200-300g) with blanket liner
Below 20° F Heavy (300-400g) Heavy (300-400g) with blanket liner

Will the blanket be strong enough not to rip?

Some horses can wear the same blanket season after season and some are so destructive they only have to walk out of the stall and the blanket is in pieces. No matter how much care you take to remove loose boards and projecting nails, accidents will happen. One thing to consider is the strength of the outer material, also known as 'denier'. The thicker the material the stronger it will be.

The following chart will give you an idea of how resilient your blanket will be:

Denier Strength
210 Very light strength
420 Light strength
600 Medium strength
1200 Heavy strength
1680 Extra heavy strength
2100 Super heavy strength

Now you know which kind of blanket you need, how warm and strong it needs to be all that is left is to decide what color to buy. Nowadays that's a whole other subject. Just remember, your horse doesn't care what color or design the blanket is but he will be more content if he is comfortable and warm (not too hot) during the winter. Happy shopping!