What is a Turnout Sheet and Why Your Horse Might Need One?

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What is a turnout sheet used for?

As an equestrian for over five years, I think that one of the most confusing things in the industry is the wide range of horse sheets and blankets, and the difference between them.

In this article, I will explain what a turnout sheet is, what they are used for, and more so that you can use them with confidence.

Don’t forget to check our best horse blankets reviews!

What is a Turnout Sheet for a Horse?

horse wearing a checkered turnout sheet but what is a turnout sheet used for?

What is a turnout sheet? According to top equestrian retailer Riding Warehouse, a turnout sheet is used to keep your horse clean and dry while they are outside.

The factor that separates a turnout sheet from a turnout blanket is that a sheet does not have any fill inside it to keep your horse warm. 

Sheets for horses function in the same way as bedsheets. Sheets are lightweight covers that protect you from experiencing discomfort, while the comforter is thicker and provides warmth while you sleep.

What is a Horse Turnout Sheet Used For?

A horse in ground with blanket on it

Horse turnout sheets are the lightest covering that can give your horse protection outdoors. They are designed to give extra protection to your horse from wind, rain, and mud.

Turnout sheets are also ideal for clipped horses because they don’t have as much of their natural coat to keep them warm.

I put a waterproof turnout sheet on my horse if I want to put them out in the pasture after being groomed, especially if we are going to show.

This way, they can enjoy being outside and keep their coat shiny and protect their coat from dust so I do not have to spend such a long time grooming again.

Since turnout sheets do not have insulating warmth in them, you can use them to protect your horse from moderate weather all year, without worrying if they will overheat.

Turnout sheets are beneficial in a wet outdoor climate because they will keep your horse dry. You can save more towels in your barn because you will not have to pat them dry after they come in from the rain!

What equestrian doesn’t love time-saving methods? The less time you have to spend cleaning your horse, the more time you can spend making memories with them! (I’m so happy I have mine!).

What is the Purpose of the Horse Turnout Sheet?

Horse With Turnout Blanket- When To Blanket a Horse Temperature Guide

As mentioned above, turnout sheets are light, non-insulating covers that keep your horse comfortable in windy weather, muddy weather, and rainy weather.

The majority of turnout sheets are made from polyester and cotton lining, which is waterproof and weather resistant so they can keep your horse dry.

Although light, turnout sheets should be durable enough to withstand natural horse behavior and play while they are in turnout.

How many times have you gone to bring a horse in, and noticed holes in their sheet while leading them back to the barn?

I have seen my fair share of this in all my years in a barn, and consider a durable sheet a wise investment.

Always do your own quality control and check the durability of a sheet before purchasing (Hint, this will make sure they stand up against horses that are mouthy too!)

READ MORE: The Best Horse Dress Sheets

Check out this quick turnout sheet review:

Is a Turnout Sheet Helpful in the Rain?

Equestrian retailer Dover Saddlery states on their blog that one of the primary uses for turnout sheets among horse owners is to keep their horses dry in the rain. 

Horses can shiver if they do not have shelter or a blanket to give them a bit of protection.

horse wearing a turn out sheet in the rain

Turnout sheets are great for rain protection when there is not enough cold weather have your horse wear a winter blanket.

With the sheet on, they can stay dry without the risk of overheating. (I wouldn’t want my horse becoming ill from being too warm!)

Turnout Sheet FAQs 

Are turnout sheets waterproof?

Turnout sheets are designed to be a breathable way to protect your horse from rain, so they are waterproof and made with waterproof fabric.

What is the difference between a turnout sheet and a turnout blanket?

horse wearing blanket with damages on it.

Turnout sheets do not have fill to provide warmth, while turnout blankets have fill and are used in cooler weather (Blankets are like your favorite cozy sweater.

Is a turnout sheet the same as a rain sheet?

Although rain and turnout sheets are both waterproof, rain sheets do not have secure clasps which makes them unsuitable for turnout.


Turnout sheets are used to keep your horse clean and dry in moderate weather conditions such as rain, mud, and wind.

They are tough enough to withstand horse behavior and play during turnout, but do not have the insulation like turnout blankets do.

Turnout sheets are a worthwhile investment if your horse’s coat needs light protection.


  • 1. Understanding Horse Blankets and Sheets – Horseman’s News [Internet]. Horseman’s News. 2018 [cited 2021 Nov 24]. Available from: https://horsemansnews.com/understanding-horse-blankets-and-sheets/
  • 2. Dover Saddlery. Fall Blanketing – Why You Need a Turnout Sheet or Light Blanket – Discussions at Dover [Internet]. Discussions at Dover. 2014 [cited 2021 Nov 24]. Available from: https://blog.doversaddlery.com/fall-blanketing-why-you-need-a-turnout-sheet/
  • 3. Horse Blanketing: A Complete Guide [Internet]. Ridingwarehouse.com. Riding Warehouse; 2021 [cited 2021 Nov 24]. Available from: https://www.ridingwarehouse.com/lc/training/horse_blankets_guide/how_to_choose_the_best_horse_blanket.html
horse wearing a blue turnout sheet

Do you use a turnout sheet for your horse? Let us know in the comments below!

Bryanna Tanase
Bryanna Tanase

Bryanna is a 23-year-old Florida-based Grade 1 Para-dressage rider based in Florida and she has been riding for 5 years. Horses are her passion and her ultimate goal is to be selected for the US Para-Equestrian Team and represent the US at the Paralympics. She rides at Quantum Leap Farm and Emerald M Therapeutic Riding Center and her equine partners are Shane, an American Paint Horse, and Cappy a Welsh x Thoroughbred. When she is not helping at the barn, riding, or training, she is learning about horses, writing articles about them, and using her social media platforms to raise awareness for therapeutic riding and para-equestrianism, shares her journey, and advocates for greater inclusion of para-equestrian in the media and equestrian sport at large.
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