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Michael Dym, V.M.D.
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Category

Preventing Blanket Sores

Blanketing your horse can help them stay warm through the coldest months in the winter, but like any gear that lays close to the skin, a blanket can create friction when your horse moves, leading to hair loss and painful blanket sores.

Blanket sores are usually a sign that your horse’s blanket is not the best fit for them, especially if you notice sores or hair loss at the withers, shoulders, or hips. For horses with high withers a blanket with a high neck or wug style fit can reduce sores. A deep V front can prevent rubbing when your horse lowers their head. You may need to experiment with different styles to see what fits your horse best.

Try A Blanket Liner
A blanket liner acts as a barrier between the blanket and your horse’s body, helping to reduce sores and hair loss caused by friction. A blanket liner may be made of soft fleece that’s gentle on your horse’s skin and coat. There are also slippery nylon liners that reduce friction.

Does Your Horse Really Need A Blanket?
Blanketing is a hot topic amongst horse owners. If your horse grows a thick winter coat and they’re relatively healthy, they may not require a blanket until at least after December 22. In the days leading up to the winter solstice, your horse’s winter coat grows in and leaving your horse uncovered may help promote growth. After December 23rd or so the winter coat starts to shed again so some horse owners wait until then to use a blanket.
Your horse’s digestive process generates body heat and that may be enough to help them stay warm without a blanket. However, horses that do not grow an adequate hair coat, those in extremely cold climates, and very young or senior horses may still need a blanket.

Excess Moisture Leads To Blanket Sores
Moisture trapped under the blanket can exacerbate skin irritation. If your horse’s blanket is too heavy it can lead to sweating and excess moisture. You may also need to wait for your horse to dry off after sweating during exercise before blanketing. If your horse stays outside when it rains or snows, they may need a blanket with a waterproof outer layer to help them stay dry.

Preventing Blanket Sores From Getting Worse
If you are starting to notice blanket sores on your horse you’ll want to keep them under control so they do not become open wounds. A topical treatment like TrizCHLOR 4 Spray Conditioner conditions the skin and coat, soothes irritation, and helps promote skin healing.