In January of 2014, Auburn University Department of Agriculture released a flowchart to help you know if and when your horse needs a blanket. The post got a lot of steam and went partly viral on Facebook…you may have even seen it in your own Facebook wall. Although humorous, this flowchart doesn’t really help those who are seriously asking, “Should I blanket my horse?”

Should I Blanket My Horse | The Flowchart

So, after doing some research, I found an article from Dr. Luke Bass, DVM (vet) published by Colorado State University.

In his article, “To Blanket Or Not To Blanket”, he said…

Blankets tend to compress a coat’s layers, which compromises their insulating properties. Horses that do not live in extremely cold environments – meaning routinely colder than 10°F – will do well without a blanket, provided they are either stalled during the coldest temperatures or have access to a protective shelter.

He goes on to say that this is assuming you’re feeding your horse adequately.

And of course, if you’re moving a horse from a warmer climate to a colder climate, you may want to keep them blanketed while they get acclimated to the cold weather. Dr. Bass ends his article telling everyone that it’s really a personal decision, but…

“The blanket will give your horse added warmth, but in return will decrease your horse’s natural winter hair growth.”

In response to Dr. Bass’ article, I revised and simplified Auburn University’s flowchart with my own version:

should I blanket my horse
should I blanket my horse

In Conclusion

It’s really a personal decision. But don’t convince yourself that your horse is freezing if it’s 30° Fahrenheit outside. As long as he/she is being fed well and has proper shelter, everything should be fine. According to Dr. Bass, unless it’s less than 10° Fahrenheit, and he’s not old or sick, your horse will be fine without a blanket.

So after reading this, what is your decision? Should you blanket your horse or should you let him tough it out?

Note: If your horse’s groundwork is not good, it may be very difficult to even put a blanket on in the first place.

Interested in horse more health? Let the vets answer all your questions on Horse.TV‘s Healthy Horse show.


Carson James
Carson James

Carson James' background is in Vaquero Horsemanship, and for the majority of his career, he worked on cattle ranches where he rode horses all day, every day. His knowledge comes from real life experience using traditional Buckaroo horsemanship to train horses and fix problems. He is now taking all of this knowledge and experience and sharing it with horse owners through his blog, his Insider list, and his Buckaroo Crew. He has a unique way of breaking things down where they're easy to understand, both for the horse and the human.