Summer is ending, and cool weather is on the horizon. Our thoughts turn from keeping our horses cool to planning for winter warmth. That includes blanketing. But while you are pulling out blankets from their storage, you may wonder when and if, it’s best to blanket your horse. In this blog, we'll discuss what temperature is too cold for horses, how to tell if a horse is cold, and when to take off your blanket.

What Temperature is Too Cold for Horses

The general rule is that you should blanket your horse if it’s below 32°F. But there are exceptions to that rule. For body-clipped horses, blanket below 60˚F, and for moderate body hair, 40°F.

Age is also a factor when blanketing. Very young and senior horses generally don't tolerate cold, so blanketing around 50°F to 40°F is a great idea. It’s also important to factor in whether your horse is sick or has trouble keeping weight on in the winter when factoring in the temperature to blanket.

How can you tell if your horse is too cold?

Horses have multiple telltale signs they are cold. If you see any of these, grab a blanket.

  1. Check their ears: Like chilly fingers on you, cold ears signal your horse is cold.
  2. Low body temperature: Normal horse body temperature is between 99°F and 101°F. Anything lower is too cold.
  3. Shivering: Horses, like humans, will shiver, their muscles quivering if they're too cold.
  4. Huddling: In the wild, horses huddle together to share warmth. If your horses do the same in the pasture, it’s time to strap on a blanket.
  5. Nostrils: If they're dilated or inflamed, your horse has difficulty staying warm.

Horse Blanket Temperature Guide

Many different blankets are on the market, but not all are appropriate for all temperatures. Remember that horses who are clipped, hard keepers in the winter, sick, very young, or elderly will need to be blanketed more often and at higher temperatures than the average horse who is in good health, youthful/middle-aged, and has a full coat. See our temperature guide below to see if your horse needs a waterproof turnout sheet with no insulation, a lightweight blanket, or a mid-weight or heavyweight blanket.

No insulation
No insulation
50°F - 65°F As needed
Moisture-wicking technology
Moisture-wicking technology
40°F - 60°F 30°F - 50°F+
Light Weight
180 grams
Light Weight
80-180 grams
40°F - 60°F 30°F - 50°F+
Medium Weight
280 grams
Medium Weight
220 grams
35°F - 50°F 30°F - 45°F
Heavy Weight
440 grams
Heavy Weight
380 grams
20°F - 40°F 15°F - 30°F
Extra Heavy Weight
500 grams
- Subzero - 20°F Subzero - 15°F

Print out this Blanket Temp Guide.

Does an unclipped horse need a blanket?

Generally, an unclipped horse does not need a blanket unless the weather is very cold or wet. The coat of an unclipped horse provides natural insulation against the cold, and the horse can generate additional warmth by using its body to create a windbreak.

When should I take my horse’s blanket off?

Blankets should be left on during cold weather to help the horse stay warm. However, if the temperature rises above freezing or your horse starts to sweat, that’s the signal the blanket needs to be removed. Horses with thick coats may also need their blankets removed in early spring, as their coats provide enough insulation on warmer days. Ultimately, monitoring your horse to determine when it is time to remove the blanket is important.

Which blanket fit is right for my horse?

A great-fitting blanket will help your horse stay comfortable and healthy all winter, while a poorly fitted blanket can cause chafing and discomfort. Schneiders offers five original horse blanket fits to ensure you can find the perfect fit for your horse. With the right information, you can easily find the perfect blanket to keep your horse happy and healthy all winter.

In short, DO blanket your horse if the following applies to your horse or environment:

  1. Your horse is body-clipped.
  2. Your horse struggles to maintain a healthy body weight.
  3. Your horse is elderly or very young: think of foals and yearlings.
  4. The temperature dips below a certain point. ALWAYS if it’s below freezing!
  5. Your horse is sick or injured.
  6. Your horse doesn’t have an available shelter.
  7. The weather is rainy, windy, and/or snowy.

As horse owners, we want nothing more than for our four-legged friends to be happy and healthy. Part of achieving that goal involves knowing when and when not to blanket them. With the right information, this winter will pass, with your horse staying comfy and cozy all season long.

Shop ALL Horse Blankets & Sheets.