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Can You Put A Blanket On A Wet Horse

Can You Put A Blanket On A Wet Horse?

As horse owners, we often find ourselves faced with the question of whether it is safe and beneficial to put a blanket on a wet horse. While it may seem like a logical solution to keep our equine companions warm and dry, there are several factors to consider before making this decision. In this article, we will explore the potential risks and benefits of blanketing a wet horse, backed by research, expert opinions, and real-life experiences.

The Importance of Proper Blanketing

Before delving into the specific scenario of blanketing a wet horse, it is crucial to understand the overall importance of proper blanketing. Horses have a natural ability to regulate their body temperature, thanks to their thick winter coats and unique physiology. However, there are situations where blanketing becomes necessary, such as extreme weather conditions, illness, or when the horse is clipped.

Blankets serve as an additional layer of insulation, helping horses maintain their body heat and protecting them from the elements. They can also prevent the horse’s coat from becoming soaked in rain or snow, which can lead to discomfort and potential health issues. However, it is essential to strike a balance between providing warmth and allowing the horse’s natural thermoregulation mechanisms to function properly.

The Risks of Blanketing a Wet Horse

While the idea of covering a wet horse with a blanket may seem like a quick fix, it can actually pose several risks to the horse’s health. Here are some key considerations:

  • Trap Moisture: Blanketing a wet horse can trap moisture against their skin, hindering the drying process. This can lead to skin issues, such as dermatitis or rain rot, as well as the development of fungal or bacterial infections.
  • Decreased Insulation: Wet blankets lose their insulating properties, potentially making the horse colder rather than warmer. The moisture in the blanket can conduct heat away from the horse’s body, leading to a drop in body temperature.
  • Weight and Discomfort: Wet blankets become heavy and can cause discomfort for the horse. The added weight can restrict movement and lead to chafing or rubbing, resulting in sores or pressure points.

When is it Safe to Blanket a Wet Horse?

While blanketing a wet horse is generally discouraged, there are certain situations where it may be deemed safe and necessary. Here are a few scenarios where blanketing a wet horse can be considered:

  • Extreme Cold: If the horse is exposed to freezing temperatures and there is no shelter available, a dry blanket can provide temporary warmth until the horse can be properly dried off.
  • Illness or Injury: In cases where a horse is sick or injured and needs to be kept warm, a dry blanket can be used. However, it is crucial to monitor the horse closely and ensure the blanket remains dry.
  • Clipped Horses: Horses that have been clipped for show purposes or due to excessive sweating may require a dry blanket to prevent them from getting chilled.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Can I put a blanket on a horse that is slightly damp?

It is generally recommended to avoid blanketing a slightly damp horse. Even a small amount of moisture can become trapped under the blanket, leading to potential skin issues and discomfort for the horse.

2. How can I dry my horse before blanketing?

If your horse is wet, it is best to allow them to dry naturally in a well-ventilated area or under a shelter. Using a sweat scraper or towel can help remove excess moisture. Avoid using heat sources such as hair dryers, as they can cause burns or overheating.

3. Should I use a waterproof blanket on a wet horse?

While waterproof blankets are designed to repel moisture, it is still not advisable to blanket a wet horse. The blanket can trap moisture against the skin, leading to potential skin issues and discomfort.

4. How can I prevent my horse from getting wet in the first place?

Providing adequate shelter, such as a run-in shed or a well-constructed stable, can help protect your horse from getting wet in inclement weather. Additionally, using turnout sheets or rain sheets can provide some protection without trapping moisture.

5. What signs should I look for to determine if my horse is too cold?

Signs of a cold horse include shivering, a tucked-up appearance, cold ears or extremities, and a reluctance to move. Monitoring your horse’s body condition and behavior can help you determine if they need additional warmth.

6. Are there any alternatives to blanketing a wet horse?

If blanketing a wet horse is not recommended, alternatives include using a cooler or anti-sweat sheet to wick away moisture and promote drying. These lightweight coverings can be used until the horse is dry enough to be left without any covering.


Blanketing a wet horse can pose risks to their health and well-being. While there may be certain situations where it is necessary, such as extreme cold or illness, it is generally best to allow the horse to dry naturally before blanketing. Trapping moisture against the skin can lead to skin issues, decreased insulation, and discomfort for the horse. By understanding the risks and benefits, horse owners can make informed decisions regarding the well-being of their equine companions.