Of 810 voters, 29% said their biggest blanketing headache involved preventing horse-made tears, holes, and missing straps, while 26% said they had no blanketing issues or did not blanket their horse.
In last week’s online poll, TheHorse.com asked about your horse blanketing headaches. More than 800 readers responded, and we’ve tallied the results.
This week's results were fairly evenly distributed. Of the 810 voters, 234 (29%) said their biggest headache involves preventing horse-made tears, holes, and missing straps. Another 209 voters (26%) indicated they have no blanket issues or that their horse doesn’t wear a blanket. Almost one quarter of respondents, 195 voters, reported that their biggest headache is finding a blanket fit that doesn’t cause rubs. Still another 172 voters (21%) said their problems involve choosing the right blanket weight for different temperatures.
Additionally, 86 respondents provided comments on their blanketing headaches.
Many readers described their horses’ tendency to destroy and damage their blankets:
- “One of my horses seems to find anything in the pastures to catch and tear his coat.”
- “My mare destroys ANY blanket on her—except one she picked not to destroy, so it's that one or none!”
- “I have a terrible blanket destroyer. If he can rip it, he will.”
- “My gelding is a blanket destroyer!”
- “I own a Mini that rides the fencing until he rips off the straps.”
- “My gelding is the destroyer of blankets, and not just the one he is wearing, either!”
- “Even the toughest blanket always seems to get torn. The straps are always the first to go.”
- “1,200 pounds of rolling, thrashing, rubbing Thoroughbred. Yikes!”
- “Seems like as soon as I put a new one one, it gets torn or the straps get pulled off.”
- “Warmbloods are hard on blankets.”
- “Not much of an issue, but I have a lot of trouble with the interlocking strap ends.”
- “Everyday there is a missing belly or leg strap or bite holes from friends playing with each other.”
Others commented on their choice not to blanket their horse:
- “I don't blanket my pasture horses, except after a surgery (colic) or an illness.”
- “Only in dire straights do ANY of my horses wear a blanket!”
- “15 horses outside year round. Good Nutrition is best blanket.”
- “Blankets ARE a headache. I went blanketless years ago and my horse and I are happier for it.”
- “Healthy horses grow healthy coats and do not require blankets. Don't mess with thermoregulation.”
- “My horse doesn't wear one.”
- “I don't put blankets on my horse...he has hair to keep him warm”
- “I only use blankets if a horse is sick, underweight, or shows signs of being cold.”
- “I don't use them, but have them on hand in case of illness or shivering. No need yet.”
- “I try not to blanket horses. The only reason is for sales and then it is just prior to sale dates.”
- “Rocky Mountain Horses are very hardy and don't need blankets. They have shelter if they choose it.”
- “I have blankets left over from previous horses that I keep 'just in case,' (but I) don't blanket as a rule”
- “He wears his God-given coat because man hasn't made one he can't destroy.”
- “My horses don't wear one. Letting them get a coat is the best way to manage horses in cold weather.”
- “All our horses are out 24/7, no blankets, in New Hampshire.”
Some described their experiences with blanket fitting problems:
- “The fit. (Blankets) never seem to fit right.”
- “(I wish for) a blanket that doesn't slide back and put pressure on the shoulders!”
- “There is not alot of selection for 'good' draft size blankets/sheets.”
- “My blankets fit well except for my 34-year-old mare, whose shoulders are thin.”
- “It's either too loose or too tight.”
- “I wish the manufacturers could give more measurements than just the standard length!”
- “The real problem is finding blankets that fit properly.”
- “A true fit would be nice, not a general size (84" is not 84"). (And they should be) waterproof, not water repellant”
- “(I wish for) blankets that don't shift over the hips”
- “My senior mare is swaybacked with high withers so I have to find high necked blankets.”
- “Just like people, horses come in all sizes and shapes! There is no one blanket that fits all!”
- “Finding a blanket for a horse with a long shoulder.”
- “Fit is a concern also—I have a narrow Thoroughbred.”
- “Finding a blanket that's not so tight at the shoulders/neck so they can graze without choking.”
- “My horse has very high withers. Every winter, the blanket wears off his hair on the crest.”
Several readers commented that constant weather changes make choosing the right blanket difficult:
- “The climate changes are making the blanketing process a mess. I never know what to put on.”
- “Trying to decide to blanket or not to blanket on a given evening is my biggest blanketing headache!”
- “Having different weight blankets on hand is my solution to keeping my horse comfortable.”
- “The biggest problem is trying to figure out the weather because our stable has limited blanketing.”
- “The inconsistent fall temperatures drive me crazy!”
- “Switching sheets for blankets at 8:00 p.m. when the weather isn't right for it.”
- “Florida winters can range widely in temperatures: 30-40° in the early morning and 70° by 10 a.m.”
- “Taking on and off constantly in a rainy yet relatively temperate climate.”
- “My biggest (headache) is should I or shouldn't I?”
- “I live in Florida. My vet told me not to blanket him unless it got below freezing for 24 hours.”
A few shared their frustrations with blanket repairs:
- “Finding somebody affordable to fix the tears.”
- “Finding someone to repair those horse-made tears, holes, and missing straps”
- “Washing, re-waterproofing, mending, and all the manual labor that goes with blanketing.”
And a couple shared their visions of an ideal blanket:
- "Wouldn't a material that reacts to outdoor temperature be grand!"
- "Do they make indestructible turnout blankets?"
For tips on blanketing horses, check out our Blanketing Q & A.
In this week's poll, we want to know: Which forelimb conformation defect worries you most? Vote Now!
The results of our weekly polls are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter, which offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters on our homepage and look for a new poll on TheHorse.com every week!
About the Author
Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer, is a lifelong horse owner who competes with her Appaloosas in Western performance events. She is a University of Kentucky graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in Community Communications and Leadership Development, and master's degree in Career, Technical, and Leadership Education. She currently lives on a small farm in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.
POLL: Older Horse Care Concerns