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Types Of Horse Blankets

Updated on November 21, 2015

Select Quality Horse Blankets

Horse blankets and rugs provide a number of benefits to the horse. Warmth, protection from the elements, and relief from insects are only a few of the main reasons to provide a blanket or rug. Some people use a blanket as a method to keep their horses natural hair coat short. Saddle blankets are used under the saddle for extra comfort and protection.

Read further for information about the different kinds of horse rugs and blankets and their specific purposes.


Types of Horse Rugs And Blankets

Advantages Of The Different Styles

Quilted Rugs

Quilted rugs, such as Polywarms and various other types now on the market, can often replace both a blanket and rug. They are filled with insulating material and lined with either synthetic or natural fibers which makes them very warm, light, and easy to clean.

Jute Rugs

These rugs make excellent everyday night rugs and are relatively inexpensive. They are often called dealer's rugs as they are frequently used on horses shown at horse sales.

Flax Rugs

Flax night rugs are excellent rugs that wash well and are long lasting, but are about twice the price of jute rugs. Day rugs are made of woolen material and can be of any color, usually with a contrasting binding.

Summer Sheets

Summer sheets are useful not only for keeping dust and flies off stabled horses in summer but also as an undersheet to keep dust and grease out of other clothing. Occasionally a thin-skinned horse will object to wearing a woolen blanket next to his skin and if so, the fitting of an under sheet will help. Sheets are made of cotton or linen and should always be washed at least once a week. Horses that are excitable during travel will benefit from just wearing a sheet.


Blankets are traditionally made of wool and referred to as Witney or Hudson Bay blankets. They usually have yellow, black and red stripes which normally run horizontally when the blanket is on the horse, but in cases where the blanket hangs below the rug it is more practical to fit the blanket with the stripes across the back. Some blankets can be made into day rugs, which are both warm and attractive. Always ensure that the blanket fits well under the rug, is folded in front to stop it slipping back and held in place with a roller or surcingle.

Sweat Rugs

Sweat rugs and toweling sheets are useful for cooling horses after fast work or washing. Many people use them for traveling. Exercise rugs and sheets, often called quarter sheets, are made of various materials depending on the time of the year and climate. Woolen-lined waterproofs and plain woolen ones are the most popular. Matching hoods can also be purchased for exercising in the winter. Competition horses often wear hoods and full-size waterproofs while awaiting competitions in wet weather.

New Zealand Rugs

The design and quality of New Zealand rugs can vary as much as with any other rug but because the horse is left to run free with a New Zealand rug it must fit correctly otherwise it can be dangerous. A well-designed New Zealand rug, with leg straps in the right place, will stay in place after the horse has rolled. Inferior brands are less waterproof, need more drying and do not fit as well, which makes them unsafe to leave on a horse for any length of time. With the horse having to exercise in a New Zealand rug it is imperative that it fits properly on the shoulders and back and does not rub against the withers or girth area. If it is a tight fit when first put on, it will soon chafe the horse as he moves. A piece of sheepskin sewn under the withers and shoulders of the rug will protect the horse to a certain degree.

It's wise to have a replacement New Zealand rug in case of damage or to allow a wet rug to dry off before being used again. Poor quality straps and buckles will wear badly and soon become unsafe as they rust and tear. A broken strap or buckle will cause the rug to slip and can be extremely dangerous. A horse with a slipped New Zealand rug which becomes loose around his legs may panic and gallop, trying to kick his way out, sometimes with disastrous results.

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Which Blanket Or Rug Do You Use Most?

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