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Cooling Sheets and Blankets for Horses: Types and purposes.

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It’s been a fun summer getting our horses in shape for the upcoming horse shows. We turn them out into the pasture every day, but before I do, I cover them with cooling sheets until they are ready to go back inside at night. Of course, I get asked, why choose a cooling sheet over a horse blanket?

Cooling sheets help horses feel cooler in the summer and encourages more sweat production. They also speed up drying time after a horse gets wet by wicking moisture from its body. This is essential in the winter when horses are especially sweaty after hard work.

Horse owners often have to deal with moisture issues when it comes to their horses. In the winter, they may be worried that their horse will catch cold from being wet, and in summer, hot conditions can impede sweat production and make them uncomfortable.

Using a blanket only worsens these problems- which leads us right back to our issue at hand– how do we keep our equine friends safe and comfortable? The answer lies with proper ventilation, and this is where cooling sheets come into play.

Picture of a Throughbred wearing a cooling sheet.

In this guide, we will cover:

  • Cooling blankets for horses?
  • Difference between anti-sweat sheets and horse cooling sheets
  • How to measure your horse for horse cooling blankets?
  • 5 Best horse cooling blankets available today.

Cooling blankets for horses

Most horse breeds can handle cold better than heat, and during the summer heat, they are often uncomfortable, so protect your animal with a cooling blanket.

Some horses that have difficulty regulating their body temperature, failing to produce an adequate amount of sweat, might benefit from this type of product.

Our horse recently had a problem sweating after a race, it’s pretty scary. Horses typically excrete an enormous amount of sweat during a race, but this horse would finish her race almost dry.

We increased her fluid intake during the week, had her checked by a vet, and put cooling sheets on her after she ran, and she began sweating normally. I’m not sure what worked but failing to sweat is a dangerous condition for horses that require immediate attention.

I wrote an article about horse sweating you may find helpful: Do Horses’ Sweat, and 5 More Intriguing Questions Answered.

If you’re in the market for a horse blanket I suggest you check out some of the ones offered by Equinavia. They have a wide selection of high-quality blankets that should last you a long time.

Winter horse cooling blankets

Horse cooler blankets are made with special materials like acrylic fleece that allow moisture to evaporate uniformly and cool the horse quickly. You can also use these after a bath to dry your horse faster.

If you work your horse hard in the winters, it is also essential to cool them down and dry their coat as quickly as possible. A cooling blanket can help with both these tasks efficiently.

Winter cooler blankets keep the horse warm and can be used after bringing the horse indoors after riding. These blankets wick moisture away from the skin and help it dry faster. This helps prevent chills. 

Winter cooling blankets are handy for performance horses to keep their muscles supple after warming up and before the actual show or event begins.

Summer cooling sheets

You can have horse cooling sheets made explicitly for summertime use. Before putting them over your horse, you need to wet them. The wet sheet cools the horse down and keeps it comfortable despite the high ambient temperatures. You also get special lightweight summer sheets or coolers that ward off flies.

Summertime can be unbearable for some horses. To stay cool, you need only get a horse cooling sheet and wet it before placing it over your equine friend.

The specially-made sheets are designed to keep horses comfortable even if they’re out in high temperatures all day long. Some also have the added benefit of warding off insects, such as pesky horseflies.

horse wearing a cooling sheet in the pasture.

Anti-sweat sheets/Irish Knits

Anti-sweat or Irish Knits sheets feature loose, large, mesh-like holes and are generally made from cotton. Their unique weave allows moisture to dry up fast from the horse’s skin, all the while protecting the animal from drafts and winds. Anti-sweat sheets don’t trap body heat as blankets do.

Be aware that you need to monitor horses wearing an anti-sweat sheet because it can get saturated with moisture, and once it does, you must remove the sheet or replace it until the horse’s coat feels completely dry.

If there is still some confusion in your mind about anti-sweat sheets and horse coolers or cooling sheets, the next section will clarify things a bit more.

Difference Between Anti-Sweat Sheets and Horse Cooling Sheets/Blankets

Horse cooler sheetsAnti-sweat sheets
Wicks away moisture from the horse’s skin and keeps the horse warmIt does not provide warmth; rather, it simply wicks away moisture and sweat faster from the skin.
It traps the body heat and helps the horse warm up fasterIt helps dry horses more quickly on summer days when you put it back in the stall after turnout.
You can use it on cold days after the horse comes into the stable after grazing.Primarily useful in summer months but can be used post-exercise in winters. Helpful in keeping your horse’s coats free from bedding, dirt, and debris – especially sweaty horses that roll in the pasture.
It can be used on wet, cold horses on snow and rainy days.It can be used after bathing to help dry the horse faster and prevent dirt from sticking back on it.
Are especially beneficial for clipped horses to dry them faster.It can be used in cold weather, too, but adding a cooler over the top of the anti-sweat sheet is recommended if it’s frigid.

How to Measure Your Horse for Buying Horse Cooling Blankets?

Use the following steps to measure your horse when selecting a cooling blanket:

  • Stand your horse as square as possible
  • Seek help from a buddy when measuring.
  • Use fabric tape.
  • Measure from the center of the chest along the side of the horse’s body to the horse’s rump just before the tail.
  • If you get an in-between size, then select one size up to ensure full coverage. 

5 Best Horse Cooling Blankets/Cooling Sheets

Winner: Tough-1 Soft Fleece Contour Cooler

The Tough-1 Contour cooler is an after-bath sheet that you can also use on chilly days after exercising your horse to cool it faster. It comes with an extended neck for better coverage. The sheet also has numerous attachments to keep it from slipping.

Pros

  • Soaks up snow and rain
  • Great for cooling and drying.
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to clean.
  • Available in three sizes

Cons

  • Could use Velcro straps under the belly area to keep the horse cool around the barrel.
  • Sizing chart is a bit off.

Best for Stabling/Traveling/Show: Horseware AMIGO Jersey Cooler 

My friend has used this cooler for his horse during trailering and traveling. He swears by this. The light jersey brushed polyester is smooth to touch, and you can easily brush off shavings that stick to it. It also does not pill after washing.

Pros

  • Breathable and moisture-wicking; not overly thick, so it is great to use after riding on cold days.
  • Hidden belly surcingle
  • Strap to attach near tail
  • Classic European cut
  • Great color, several sizes

Cons

  • Expensive

Best Adjustable: WeatherBeeta Fleece Cooler Combo Neck Sheet

WeatherBeeta cooler features multiple surcingles that you can use to tighten around your horse’s neck and belly. It also comes with adjustable twin chest straps. This ensures a snug fit. WeatherBeeta fleece cooler also covers the horse’s neck.

Pros

  • Lightweight and breathable polyester- fleece material
  • Anti-pill
  • Prevents rubbing, chafing horse’s skin
  • Moisture-wicking
  • Ideal for use in winters post exercise and after bath to dry horse quickly

Cons

  • Tail cord is pretty much useless.

Best Rain Sheet: Shires Tempest 

As the name indicates,the Shires Tempest sheet is a rain sheet designed to keep horses cozy in the rains. The sheet itself is made using high-quality 1200 Denier ripstop nylon that will keep your dry underneath.

Pros

  • Durable, lightweight, comfortable
  • Comes with several straps and surcingles to secure it tightly around the horse’s neck, belly, and tail area
  • Available in 7 different sizes.

Cons

  • There is no opening for the leg. This causes the sheet to get pulled forward.

Best All-Season Sheet: Derby Originals Fleece Cooler with Neck Cover

Sometimes, you simply need a sheet that you can use on your horse and forget about. The Derby Originals Fleece Cover sheet is exactly that and more.

You can put it on your horse and not have to worry about it overheating. This all-season soft polar fleece blanket keeps your horse comfortably warm and also prevents sweating. The sheet also dries your horse quickly post bath or after exercise.

Did I mention: it is suitable for indoor and outdoor use too?

Pros

  • Made in USA
  • Can be used as a layer in extreme cold weather under a horse blanket
  • Indoor-outdoor use
  • Several color and size options
  • Soft texture
  • Easy Velcro closures

Cons

  • Some horses ripped it.

Final Recommendations

A horse cooling blanket (also called a cooler or cooling sheet) can help dry your sweaty horse after training. It also keeps your horse warm and comfortable if it gets wet in the rain or snow.

You can also use cooling sheets post bathing to dry your horse faster. Some cooling sheets can be used all-year-round – to dry sweat in summers and keep the horse warm and dry in winters and rains. They are also useful in layering your horse when the temperatures drop drastically.

We recommend Tough-1 Soft Fleece Contour Sheet because it is great for cooling and drying horses. It keeps horses comfortably cool in summers and winters after sweaty exercise to gradually cool them. You can also use the Tough-1 cooling sheet on a horse post bathing. 

Don’t forget to check out my other recommendations as well.

FAQs

Can you leave a cooler sheet on a horse overnight?

You can leave a cooler sheet on your horse overnight. Just check the horse under the sheet; its skin should be dry. If it is sweaty, chances are it may be too warm.

Can you use a cooler sheet under a blanket?

A cooler sheet can be useful in layering your horse when the temperatures drop drastically. Coolers prevent sweating and keep your horse warm, dry, and comfortable.

Can I ride my horse with the cooler on?

It is best to remove the cooling sheet/blanket before riding your horse.

What is a horse cooler blanket used for?

A cooler is a must-have for any horse that works up a sweat. This garment will keep them dry and happy, reducing the chance of catching cold or becoming ill from wet coat because it wicks away all moisture on the surface.

References

  • The Whole Horse Catalog- by Gail Retsch, Steven D
  • Cherry Hill – Horse Care
  • Everything Horse Book – Karen Leigh Davis