There are plenty of topics that I could chat about in regards to horse care and ownership but since it is officially fall, and with winter approaching, I figured blanket shopping might be a good one to bring up.
The first step is going to be to decide if you want a stable blanket or a waterproof turnout. Stable blankets, sheets and fleeces are NOT waterproof and only cut it if your horse is stabled 24/7. Waterproof turnouts are just that, waterproof. If your horse will be going outside during inclement weather, they will need a waterproof, preferably breathable, turnout.
So now that you know what type of winter blanket you need, what is denier? A extra fancy word that just gets thrown in?
In layman's terms, denier is how tightly the outer fabric of the sheet/blanket is woven together. The higher the denier, the more sturdy and well made it is. This matters more if you have a horse that is tough on their blankets, or better yet, they have a field mate that likes to chew on them.
So how thick does the blanket need to be? Or what weight or fill do I need?
This is pretty straightforward, the more fill, the warmer you are making your horse —kind of like the puffy jackets we wear in the winter. A sheet will typically have no fill or 0 grams of fill. A medium-weight has between 150-250 grams and a heavy-weight has 250-400 grams. Deciding what your horse needs depends on their tolerance for cold, their hair coat length (are they clipped) and where you live. Smartpak has a good guide on what fill for specific temperatures, but once again, this does depend on your horse. My horse, for instance, could probably be without anything unless it was raining or snowing because she is pretty thick-skinned. However, we have an older thoroughbred mare that gets cold when it's 50 degrees outside. Trust your judgement.
Instead of recommending specific brands, my last piece of advice would be to consider buying brands that have warranties. Don't shop around for the cutest blanket, that has absolutely no correlation with the quality of the blanket. Usually, in my personal experience, the cuter it is the shorter the lifespan. My horse has had a second-hand Rambo turnout sheet that she has used since I have had her (five years). Did you read the second-hand part? Rambo guarantees their products for three years! SmartPak came out with a turnout that is guaranteed for 10 years! Obviously, if these brands don't fit your horse, then don't get them but definitely take notice of guarantees associated with the blanket you are thinking of purchasing. Who wants to spend $300 for a blanket that will only last one season? Not me!
Pictures taken by a friend.