Tack shops and online equestrian supply shops offer countless cold-weather apparel options for horses. Veritably, a horse-loving shopper needs a glossary of horse blanket styles to rein in excess spending and select the appropriate garments for an equine. Consider this list of several types of horse garments and their generally intended purposes.
Coolers – A horse cooler is a blanket made of fleece, terrycloth or wool. A horse might wear either a fitted or a square cooler after a strenuous schooling on a cold day to prevent a chill. Equine coolers are not waterproof, and they tend to pick up stall shavings and other debris, so they are not meant for extended unsupervised wearing or outdoor turnout.
Dress sheets – A dress sheet is a fancier horse blanket, which is usually sewn of cotton duck or another sturdy lightweight cotton or polyester blend. Though not waterproof, this tailored garment keeps a horse clean and neat while stabling indoors at a horse show or clinic.
Exercise blankets – A horse exercise blanket is a partial covering, which drapes over the horse’s saddle and rump during working warm-ups in the riding arena on a wintry day. Made of wool or fleece, the horse exercise blanket may also help to wrap and keep the equestrian warm during such sessions. This horse garment is ideal for use while waiting one’s turn in the show ring or during an equestrian training clinic.
Fly sheets – A horse fly sheet is a mesh garment, used to protect a horse from bothersome insects in the pasture. Primarily used in the summer months, a fly sheet may be accompanied by a matching fly mask. Fly sheets offer little or no protection from rain, snow, wind, or other weather conditions.
Rain sheets – A rain sheet is a lightweight waterproof equine garment that shields the horse from heavy downpours in turnout during the warmer months.
Rugs – A horse rug is a heavy-duty winter garment, most often tailored like a puffy parka for the horse. Quilted or smooth, the rug is most suited for extreme winter climates or extra cold days, particularly for short-coated horses or those who have been body-clipped. A rug is made to be waterproof and includes sturdy leg straps. Some rugs even have wide belly bands for a snug fit and added security.
Stable blankets – A stable blanket is a lightweight equine garment that a horse wears for indoor comfort and cleanliness. Produced in cotton, flannel, fleece, or wool, the stable blanket is not usually weatherproof, as it is generally worn only inside the barn. For the same reason, the stable blanket may not include hind leg straps.
Sweat sheets – A horse sweat sheet is a mesh garment, constructed of stretchy mesh (or even a macramé-like weave) that is placed on horse after a heavy workout or a soaking shower. Basically, the sweat sheet functions as a drying bathrobe for an equine.
Turnout blankets – A horse turnout blanket is a sturdy outdoor cold-weather garment for an equine. Tailored to fit the horse’s form in action, the turnout blanket often has sewn-in shoulder gussets and rear darts for a contoured fit. This garment is usually equipped with a front closure, an underbelly fastening strap and hind leg straps.
Each type of horse blanket offers fit and features to match its intended use. Because of their living arrangements, overall health, body conditions, and the types of work they perform, horses may need any or all of these equine garments.