New and veteran horse owners alike will find themselves wondering about the similarities and differences between a stable blanket vs turnout blanket at some point in their career.
This article will help clear up any confusion you have about these two blanket types and help you figure out if both, one, or neither is necessary for your horse and determine when to use each.
Don’t forget to also check our best horse blanket review!
Now, let’s jump right in!
Comparison Between Stable Vs Turnout Blankets
Although they look similar and share some qualities, stable blankets and turnout blankets are two different types of horse blankets that fulfill separate needs for your horse.
Let’s look at each of the types of blankets first and then compare them to see why they are both sold attack stores and online around the world.
What is a stable blanket?
A stable blanket or stable sheet is designed for your horse to wear in indoor locations where they will not be exposed to the elements, such as in their stall or while traveling in a trailer, and keep the coat clean.
Stable blankets generally have the following characteristics:
- Water and moisture resistance to prevent staining and keep a horse clean
- Composed of breathable and lightweight material, usually quilted to keep a horse cozy
- Fitted to the horse’s body
- Can be layered under a turnout blanket for extra warmth
- Lower durability
- Come in various weights and sizes
When horses are in indoor spaces, they will not have to move around as much nor will they have the space to do so, so stable blankets are fitted to the body to accommodate this. They also help keep a horse warm
What is a turnout blanket?
As the name suggests, a horse turnout sheet or turnout blanket is a blanket that is designed to protect them any time they are outdoors, such as during turnout time.
Turnout blankets usually have the following features:
- Waterproof protection
- Made of breathable and durable material for air flow and wear and tear prevention
- Cut and less form-fitting to allow movement and proper range of motion
- Layered over the stable blanket in cold weather for an extra layer of warmth
- High durability and toughness
- Come in a variety of weights and sizes
When horses are out in the pasture playing, they will be moving around a lot and have the potential to be dirty, so turnout blankets are made with these facts in mind.
The cutouts and fit flow with the horse’s movement and do not restrict them.
READ MORE: How to Wash Waterproof Blanket
Which Blanket to Choose Turnout or Stable Blankets?
Now that you know what each of these horse blankets is as well as their primary uses, you can decide if your horse needs one or both.
The following table provides an easy comparison of stable blankets and turnout blankets to further assist you in making a choice.
|Stable Blanket||Turnout Blanket|
|For Use in Stall||Yes||No|
|For Use in Paddock/Pasture||No||Yes|
|For Use in Trailer||Yes||No|
|Water-Resistant||Depends on brand||Yes|
|Breathable||Depends on brand||Yes|
|Freedom of Movement||More restrictive||High freedom of movement|
|Durability||Low to medium||Highly durable|
Things to Consider When Buying a Stable and or Turnout Blanket
There are many other things you should consider when buying a blanket for your horse such as:
- The weight and fill of the blanket
- If you want or need any extra attachments or your horse’s blanket
- What type of fabric do you prefer the blanket to be
- If you need a liner or cooler for your horse’s blanket
- Your horse’s measurements
Let’s explore each of these areas a little further.
Horse Blanket Weight and Fill
The weight of a horse’s blanket is affected by its fill or insulation. The greater the fill, the heavier and warmer the blanket. The four fill options area;
- Lightweight Blanket: 100-200g of insulation
- Midweight Blanket: 200-300 g of insulation
- Heavyweight Blanket: 300+ g of insulation
The weight and insulation that your horse will need depend on the weather conditions they typically live in and whether or not they are clipped.
An unclipped horse will need more insulation than a clipped horse.
If a horse lives in Florida, they will likely do fine with a lightweight blanket because there are only a few cold days, but if they live in New York, they will need a heavier blanket in the winter along with a lighter one.
Extra Blanket Attachments
There are a whole variety of attachments that can either be added on to and or come with the blanket already:
- Neck cover or hood- adds extra protection for the horse’s neck
- Tail flap/tail cover- protects the tail and rear from wind and wet weather
- Chest straps- keep blanket secure
- Leg straps- prevent shifting of the blanket
- Various neck opening sizes- to fit horse’s dimensions
- Closures- v front, disc front, straight front, belly, etc.
Each of the attachments on a blanket, whether they come with it or can be added and removed as needed, should be chosen with your preferences and horse’s needs in mind.
Horse blankets typically have different fabrics depending on their use.
Stable blankets are typically made of polyester, a cotton blend, or nylon fabric, Turnout blankets are heavy blankets made of durable fabrics such as ballistic nylon and ripstop nylon.
Choose the fabric that you like best and that suits the habits of your horse.
Blanket Liners and Coolers
Liners change the insulation of your horse blankets, adding them generally keeps your horse warm and can provide extended protection from the cold.
Coolers are added to wipe away moisture for your horse’s coat which keeps them from freezing in the worst winter weather or overheating from sweat build-up.
Check our list of the best horse cooler sheet!
Measuring Your Horse for a Blanket
When measuring your horse for blanket fit, make sure that you get the dimensions from along the side of their body from the chest to the tail while they are standing evenly on a flat surface.
Measure from the center of the chest to the end of the tail and along the widest part of the shoulders and hind end. The total number of inches will be the size blanket they need.
Now that you know about stable blankets vs turnout blankets and what to look for when you buy them, you are well on your way to buying the best blanket you can for your horse!
Check out this video for more tips:
What is the difference between a stable blanket and a turnout blanket?
A stable blanket or stable sheet is meant to be used indoors and is made of lightweight, breathable fabric, while a turnout blanket is meant to be used outdoors and is made of durable fabric to withstand wear and tear.
Does my horse need a stable blanket?
Not all the time. Your horse will need a stable blanket for additional warmth inside their stall on cold nights, especially if they have been recently clipped or are sick or injured. Horses that are underweight will have a hard time trapping heat, so they will also need a blanket.
What is the best turnout blanket for a horse?
The Stormsheld Contour Collar Classic Surcingle turnout is the best quality turnout blanket for your horse. It is 5x more waterproof than competing brands, is made of durable fabric, and can last through rainy, sunny, or windy weather. To top it all off, it comes in multiple colors to match any aesthetic. Finding the perfect blanket is difficult, but this is as close as you’ll get
Stable blankets and turnout blankets are two similar pieces of equipment with different functions. No matter the type of blanket, they both provide a level of protection for horses and peace of mind for the owner.
- Boatwright, Abigail. 2011. “Field Guide to Horse Blanket Fabrics.” Horse Illustrated Magazine. September 22, 2011. https://www.horseillustrated.com/horse-keeping-horse-blanket-fabrics.
- Dover Saddlery. 2015. “Stable Sheets & Blankets versus Turnout Sheets & Blankets – Discussions at Dover.” Discussions at Dover. September 17, 2015. https://blog.doversaddlery.com/stable-sheets-blankets-versus-turnout-sheets-blankets/.
- “Horse Blanketing 101 – Schneider’s Learning Center.” 2021. Sstack.com. 2021. https://www.sstack.com/schneiders-learning-center-blanketing-101/a/info-0029/.
- The Ultimate Horse Blanketing Guide – SmartPak Equine. 2020. “The Ultimate Horse Blanketing Guide – SmartPak Equine.” SmartPak Equine. 2020. https://www.smartpakequine.com/content/horse-blanket-guide.
What do you use for your horse, stable blanket or turnout blanket? Let us know in the comments below!
Andreea is a very passionate content creator and her purpose is to provide you with the most interesting articles, while constantly discovering new facts. She’s been freelance writing for the past five years and has created numerous articles and educational materials while managing her own mom blog.
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