Types of Stable Wear
A variety of functional horse clothing is designed for use in and around the stable and under supervision, rather than for the rigors of turnout.
Stable blankets are usually quilted and come in a wide range of weights from 100 to 400 grams of fill. They're usually not waterproof, but many are water repellent or moisture-resistant to guard against urine or manure stains. The use of a stable blanket allows you to replace a horse's heavier wet outerwear with a loftier item that will keep him warm while he's stabled and has restricted movement. The cut of a stable blanket is more fitted than the cut of a turnout blanket.
Stable sheets are a fitted garment intended only to help keep the horse clean and dust free. They can be made from an array of lightweight fabrics, from cotton to nylon to polypropylene, which is somewhat moisture-resistant.
Dress sheets are traditional, attractive horse clothing staples. They are typically made of wool, though some are available in fleece, and come in a variety of colors and plaids. They're the perfect item for keeping a horse comfortable during cool weather trucking. Dress sheets usually have minimal fastenings, such as a single chest buckle, a single belly surcingle and a tail cord. Many people have them monogrammed.
Coolers help to wick moisture away from the horse and can provide more draft protection than anti-sweat sheets. They're made of either traditional wool or synthetic fleece. Coolers are similar to anti-sweat sheets in that they are placed on sweaty or freshly bathed horses to keep chill away as the horse dries.
They are available in a variety of styles and colors. The original American cooler style is a large rectangular piece of wool with colored bindings, and matching brow and tail straps. The cooler drapes over the horse entirely, from jaw line to tail. This type of cooler can still be found today, even in synthetic fabric blends, along with more fitted styles. Some fitted coolers are cut like a stable sheet, leaving the neck exposed, and others fit up the neck to the jaw line and secure with hook and loop fastenings.
You'll know when to remove the cooler when you see a dew-like coating formed along the top surface of the cooler. Sometimes, a very wet or sweaty horse may require two changes of coolers in the drying process.
Irish Knit Anti-Sweat Sheets are made of cotton or cotton blend mesh. They are placed on a sweaty or freshly bathed horse to keep chill away while the horse's coat dries. The holes in the mesh allow hot air from the horse's body to escape, while the mesh itself prevents the horse from drafts. Anti-sweat sheets should be monitored during use as the fibers can become saturated if a horse is extremely wet. Once this happens, the sheet should be replaced with another anti-sweat sheet or a cooler if the horse isn't dry. In very cold temperatures, you may want to layer a cooler on top of an anti-sweat sheet. This type of sheet usually has minimal fastenings, such as a single chest buckle, a single belly surcingle and a tail cord.
Rain sheets are designed to keep both your horse and tack dry if you need to walk him from one location to another during inclement weather. Rain sheets are not intended for turnout as the minimal fastenings are ties that close the sheet to keep out wind and weather.
About Accessories: Neck Covers, Under Layers and Liners
Additional articles of horse clothing are intended to supplement blanketing when needed.
Neck covers are available in turnout and stable styles. A neck cover connects to the neck opening of some blankets (as well as some sheets and fly sheets) either permanently or with detachable systems featuring metal loops and tabs or hook and loop closures. Often, a neck cover is an add-on feature for a blanket, and is not generally required for every horse. The decision to use a neck cover should be made on a case-by-case basis and with individual care as over-heating can occur. Neck covers are often used on horses in frigid climates that are full body clipped, or for horses that are compromised in some way.
Under Layers are designed to prevent blanket rubs and resulting hair loss that occurs from rubs. Because they are body-fitting and stretchable, under layers can be worn beneath turnout or stable blankets. Models are available in Lycra, nylon/spandex, or fleece material in a variety of patterns and colors. Some cover just a horse's shoulders, others the entire neck, and some the entire body. They are not a source of warmth.
Blanket liners can be an affordable way to turn a blanket into a heavier weight. Fashioned similarly to a stable blanket, they can be made of fleece or a combination of fabrics with poly fill and a quilted, nylon outer layer that glides easily under the outer blanket. Liners usually have short hems, falling barely below a horse's barrel, so that they do not interfere with proper fastening of the outer blanket.
Budget Friendly Tip: Layering
Key layering pieces that can perform double duty and stretch your horse clothing dollar include:
For more assistance or to request a catalog call 1-800-989-1500. Or, stop by any of our retail stores to speak with a Dover Saddlery product adviser. Visit www.DoverSaddlery.com for a complete store listing and the full product offering.
Tips for Fitting Blankets
How to Measure Your Horse for a Blanket
How and Why to Use Exercise Rugs
How to Body Clip a Horse
About Body Clipping