Wet Horse Blanketing Guidelines

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You've been at work when the rain started and by the time you get home, your horses are soaking wet. The forecast calls for freezing nighttime temperatures. What do you do? Blanket them over their wet coats and risk a chill? Get out the blow dryer? Something else entirely?

You can certainly blow dry your horses, but it takes a long time. You can cover them with coolers and tie them with a hay bag until they dry.

There are other options: First, check your blankets. If they have a breathable inner liner than chances are you can just put them on as normal and the wetness will evaporate and wick away from the horse's coat.

If they aren't breathable, than you have a few options: One is to put a wool (not fleece) cooler on under the horse's blanket and let the horse's natural body warmth evaporate the wetness. Wool works better than fleece because it remains warm even when it is damp, whereas fleece wicks away moisture but in the process remains wet. Check your horse frequently and remove the wool cooler as soon as he is dry.

If you don't have a wool cooler, put a layer of hay or straw between the blanket and the horse. This is called thatching. The hay keeps the blanket off the horse's back and allows the steam to evaporate rather than getting trapped on the horse's back. Remove the hay as soon as the horse is dry. Make sure you give him a good brushing before replacing the blanket; otherwise he could get really itchy!