Thursday, November 12, 2009

Blanket Info Solicitation...

Dear Calm Readers,

(I figure since I'm about as overanxious as they come, my readers must ALL be calmer than I.) I beg you to share your knowledge with me, yet again. I am thinking it's time to purchase a cooler for Pig Horse/Captain Destructo/Jun-Bug. He is blanketed in the winter, but I've found that he gets sweaty during our lessons. I don't know a thing about coolers. I believe the concept is to wick the sweat off the horse to help dry him faster so that he doesn't catch a chill? Am I anywhere near the truth? Does it work for after bathing, too?

Catalogs never give you instructions, and the books I have only list them as equipment and don't really give a full explanation of their use/purpose.

I am one who needs to have clean blankets so I would like it to be washable. I don't think the wool ones are washable, are they? I see Acrylic ones, but do they work as well (or nearly) as the wool? Do I need one that extends onto the neck? Do I need one that straps on or are the big blanket-like ones with and ear strap good enough? And what's an Anti-Sweat sheet? Is that the same?

I don't have a large budget, but I don't want to buy something so cheap it ends up being worthless. Sometimes you get what you pay for.

What do you use? Hate? Would buy? Wouldn't buy? Any advice at all?

Feel free to send links if you want to help me shop. Rods and EquusNow are right in town but I do a lot of catalog shopping since the stores in town seem to carry more of the high end (and by high end I mean often out of my price range) and have much less variety than the web stores.


  1. The purpose is to keep them toasty and help to wick away sweat while they dry off after a ride.

    Wool and fleece are both great. Some people argue that wool wicks better which it might, but both get the job done pretty well. Wool is washable but you need to was it with special detergent and it has to hang to dry, so it's still a bit of a hassle.

    If you want to leave him unattended in his stall for a long time then I would go with a cooler that has all the regular straps. If you're more or less going to be around while he's wearing it, one with or without straps would be fine. Sometimes the ones that go all the way up the neck also have buckles or velcro (plus regular blanket straps) to hold on the cooler.

    I generally find that heavier is better. I just splurged on this one: in blue and brown for both my ponies and I love it.

  2. I'm a big fan of the polarfleece ones - they're machine washable, they wick the moisture well and the horse stays warm even while the cooler's wet. Wool is harder to clean and I think the horse doesn't stay as comfortable. If the horse will be left alone in its stall even for a bit, get a "dress" cooler - some of them aren't called that - with a belly strap and a tail strap or rear leg straps. The head to toe polarfleece ones are nice too, although you can't leave the horse unattended. I've had good luck with the Amigo brand - they're relatively inexpensive but sized like blankets.

  3. Hmm - good question! I'm not a big fan of fleece as my horse seems to get really staticky...the one time I tried a fleece sheet, it was on him for 10 mins. and when I took it off, the crackling from the static almost made him freak out. But maybe that is just me... lol

    That being said, fleece is easy to care for and I use it in my own clothing to wick moisture.

    I've heard good things about the Amigo coolers - the Amigo Scrim (poly/fleece blend) and the amigo jersey cooler have been recommended by friends, but I've never tried them...

    Wool is always a good bet too - very effective at wicking moisture, just hard for you to wash.

    Good luck with your search!

  4. I like the fleece coolers with the neck section and a forehead strap. Horses lose a lot of heat from their necks and shoulders so I like that to be covered up when they're cooling out.

    Fleece comes in many grades of weight and quality so the static problem Laura mentioned might be a function of a thinner fleece sheet. I haven't had that issue...

    At any rate you want it to be very easily washable because otherwise it will get stiff with sweat and won't work well. It should caress your horse's body but not hang heavy.

    And needless to say: it should be your favorite color and you should monogram your horse's initials on it so you feel wonderful laying it on!!

  5. My first thought to reading your post is why not clip or trace clip your horse? I do this with Possum, and he is actually do for a trace clip and this helps immensely on the sweating issue after rides. If I didn't trace clip him it would literally take me 3 hrs to have himm cooled out enough after a ride to put his blankets on.

    Because he lives outside I only trace clip him instead of a full body clip. When he is clipped I regulate his blankets closely. IN the heart of the winter I have a heavy weight Weatherbeeta with a hood to keep him toasty and warm, and he also lives outside with a run-in and I have never had an issue.

    I gladly pay the money to have him clipped in the winter months. If I do ride outside or on the trail and it's chilly, I make sure to ride in a quarter sheet to keeo the wind from giving him a chill and keep his hind muscles warm. Also before rides in the indoor I alwasy warm-up with a cooler over us to keep him warm until he is working well at a trot.

    So to answer your original question. I keep it simple. I have 2 old wool coolers that work great. It wicks the moisture and I just pin it in front with a clip. If it's really bad for some reason I do have one that comes up over the neck and attaches behind the ears, but that's rare for me to use. There are no leg straps, just enough to cover him but also give some ventilation. Hope this helps some

  6. I just found your blog...but I really like polar fleece coolers from Schneider's ( It's amazing, you put it on a wet/damp horse and feel the outside of the cooler 15 minutes later and the outside feels wet. I've never used wool, but the fleece does a great job of wicking. You can get the kind that don't fasten securely or you can get the kind that can also be used as a blanket liner with lots of straps to keep it in place.

  7. First time reader, I know its kind of late for an answer, but hey-why not?

    Coolers come in lots of shapes and materials. Wool works best, but has the amazing ability to shrink to pony sized if washed and dried improperly. Fleece is also good, lighter weight and good for drying off after a ride in winter, but takes a LONG time to dry a horse after a bath. However, there are some wool blend coolers that are a great alternative.

    As for shape, square coolers are easiest to use, you just toss it on and use clips to secure it on the neck. These are fine for hand walking or cross-tying a calm horse. The fitted kind have a surcingle and often leg straps as well as neck straps.

    I don't like the fitted ones that are cut like a sheet with no neck coverage. My horse generally has some neck sweat, so I feel these are inadequate.

    I personally use and love this cooler: