Blanketing Strategy - Outdoor Pony

Due to circumstances beyond my control, my small pony mare is moving next month and switching from indoor to outdoor board. Now, this is a first for me as a horse-owner because my previous charge was an OTTB who was hard to keep weight on so outdoor board was always out of the question!

I’m hoping for some feedback (or at least the opportunity to “talk it out” here on the forums) regarding what blanket(s) would be the wiser investment. She’s always been hard to fit because she borders on very large mini - very small pony, so when I found clothing that fit, I stuck with that style - since discontinued, naturally - but I know it won’t be enough to get her through a Canadian winter next year. Currently, we have:

A 0g sheet that fits nicely
A 0g sheet that’s useful as a spare
A mid-weight winter blanket that’s a bit short in the bum but but could make a good “extra” to be worn underneath something else

I’m thinking I’d prefer something with a neck attachment just for that added protection, mostly from those frigid rainfalls in the spring and fall, but am struggling with whether or not to get A) a 0g sheet/neck combo that can be used year-round either by itself in the warmer weather or overtop the too-short mid-weight blanket, or B) a 50g sheet/neck combo that could be layered but could provide some degree of insulation by itself too, or C) a full mid-weight sheet/neck combo which would only be useable in the winter.

… or D) some combination thereof!

I have to say, I don’t love the idea of layering through the whole winter. To do so during cold snaps is one thing but I feel like cumbersome blanket overtop cumbersome blanket all winter long isn’t going to be the most comfortable solution.

She gets quite fluffy so my concern isn’t so much about her being too cold, it’s more so the wind and wet. I’m looking for what’s going to be most versatile (and won’t require me out at the barn every day swapping-out blankets non-stop)!

Well I’ve talked myself around in a whole circle at this point, so am ready to hear others thoughts :slight_smile:

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Does she have shelter? Is she wearing any blankets now? Is the barn heated?

She really may be fine without a blanket at all, but if you’re looking to buy, we can enable!

I’ve moved away from 0 gram blankets entirely, and have found that if they need cover, 100 grams of fill is a better choice than none. That and a mid weight would cover everything you need. 100 gram when it’s chilly, wet and or windy, midweight for cold and both for those rare really frigid days.

Rambo makes a pony cut that might work really well for you.


If the pony has good hair and isn’t clipped, you should be fine with a waterproof turnout sheet and a waterproof medium weight blanket (with hood if you prefer). If you get a horribly cold snap, you can add your current medium underneath to make a heavy.


I’m in the Ottawa area and my horses all live out with access to the barn. They all grow thick coats. They range in size from mini, large pony to small horse. My blankets are all Shedrow from Greenhawk. I’ve been buying those blankets for 20 years. I know they’d probably be fine without blankets but I feel better if they have them. Here is my vet-approved blanket strategy:

0g rainsheet for rain below 10C or windy from 0 to -10C because they make good wind breakers
200 or 300gm for anything below -10.
If it gets colder than -25 I’ll double up on the winter turnouts for those who have them. One horse has a 150gm in addition to a 300gm and it’s nice to have an in between but the others do just fine without it.

If it is cold but sunny, I pull the blankets off. Blankets can cause health problems if the horses get hot in cold weather.

I once had a neck cover for one horse. He hated it and it rubbed his mane. I wouldn’t bother with one unless the mare’s neck is clipped. Greenhawk has a style of blanket with a slightly higher neck, which I like.

I’m a firm believer that in most cases, horses are happier on 24hr turnout. I hope this is the case for your mare.

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Where in Canada do you live? I used to live in Sault Ste Marie in northern Ontario and if my horse wasn’t clipped, had a shelter, and lots of hay she lived outdoors year round without a blanket with zero problems. Blankets flatten the coat and significantly reduce it’s effectiveness as insulation, so you’d need to add more blanket than you think because you compromise the natural insulation. I’d only blanket if you got some really wet weather followed by a cold snap before she dried.

That said, if pony is clipped, has lived under lights (so is already shedding or didn’t grow much coat), doesn’t have outdoor shelter, or is limited in hay consumption, then that’s a totally different story…

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This was true in the bad old days of wool lined waxed canvas New Zealand rugs. With most modern blankets it is no longer the case.

For the average, healthy, decent coated horse a 200 blanket works very well because they can significantly fluff their coats underneath. What usually happens is a flat coat during the day when it’s warmer and a fluffed coat at night when it’s colder. My horses get a modified trace clip (belly hair unclipped below a straight line from elbow to stifle - this makes a huge difference). I don’t have to add any insulation unless it gets down to -25C for several days, or there’s a cold wind bringing a storm, or there’s a freezing rain storm. I have a 100gm blanket with 150gm neck that goes right over top of his 200gm Wug for the storm/cold snap. I also have a 0gm Wug rainsheet which gets extensive use - as soon as the daytime highs are cold enough that he won’t get too hot he wears it full time because I don’t have the time to deal with a wet, muddy horse all the time (until it freezes). I switch to the 200gm when the daytime highs are low enough that he won’t overheat. He prefers less blanket and rarely gets cold (when he does it usually involves heavy rain, strong winds and dropping temperatures).

I also have a horse who had trouble regulating his body temperature at least in part because he had a weird coat. I find he needs to be kept slightly warmer than my other horses did/do or he’s an unhappy PITA to try and ride. His coat has been normalizing over the last few years but he still needs to be kept a bit warmer. For him I use a 0gm rainsheet with neck. The neck means less body insulation is required. Right now he’s got a 200gm liner and his 200gm neck, and I didn’t clip him this winter. I switch out the liner for various weights of stable quilts depending on temperature and weather. I have 100gm, 280gm, and 340gm quilts. I haven’t used the 340gm in the last two years and the quilt takes up less space than a heavy turnout. I used to have to use the 280gm for temperatures that I now use the 200gm liner and 200gm neck for. It took some time and experimenting to figure out what he needed to wear in order to keep him comfortable enough to be happy under saddle. I got it wrong a lot the first winter after accidentally discovering his need for more insulation. I rarely get it wrong now.

Both horses would survive just fine without blankets but as I want to ride and I want them to be comfortable under saddle they have to wear blankets.

Short advice if your pony has a good coat a 0gm rainsheet is basically personal, portable shelter to keep the wind and wet off. If your pony has a good coat they’ll be quite capable of fluffing as needed under a 200gm turnout.

My horses largely wear Horseware. Two of the quilts are Greenhawk’s Shedrow and Supra brands.

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A few years ago we had a really strange winter where the weather would regularly suddenly change from mild to bitter cold, then back again. There were so many cases of colic because sudden changes in temperature can apparently bring it on (partly due to inconsistent water consumption). My normally anti-blanket vet advised blankets on those cold days to reduce the chances of colic. I watched my neighbours’ horse die of colic that winter so now I blanket carefully when the weather fluctuates significantly. On a sunny -15C day, if the weather has been consistent, my horses are happy naked.


For my pony that doesnt tend to get too cold I have the following:

  • 0g rainsheet
  • 100g stable sheet
  • 250g winter

I find this gives me all the options I need as with layering I have the option of 0g, 100g (stable under rainsheet), 250g, or 350g (stable under winter). And she has never needed warmer than 350g.


Thank you for all the responses thus far, it’s giving me lots to think about :slight_smile: I’m further south than those of you in Ottawa and Sault St. Marie and we’ve had such a mild winter, I doubt I’ll need to layer at all. We’re moving in March so I’m not too bothered about the remainder of this winter, I’m thinking ahead to next (and hoping to scoop up whatever blankets I need in end-of-seasons sales). Her new field has a lot of natural shelter as well as a windbreak, with free choice hay and a heated waterer. Honestly it looks like a horsey paradise, if I’m being honest!

She does get a good fluffy coat but even the mid-weight blanket she wears now tends to crush it down a bit, which has me leaning towards a lighter blanket/sheet that just blocks the wind and wet.

She’s a funky size (54", or 51" in the Horseware) and most manufacturers don’t carry that which limits us significantly. Having said that, I really haven’t been all that worried about her this year … not like I would if it were my former OTTB (who I’d lay awake at night worrying about, even though he was stalled!).

Maybe I should be asking this: what blanket does your horse wear the most, fall through to spring? The heavy lifter, as it were.

I have a canadian-bred mare that lived out 24/7 until she was 3 but we’re now in New England and she is stalled and definitely doesn’t grow a coat like she used to so she gets blanketed.
I’d say mild winters (largely hovers around freezing) - her 0g Rambo sheet with neck is the heavy lifter
“normal” winters (consistent highs in the ~25F range) - her 200g high-neck (but not full neck) Medium is the heavy lifter

I then have a no-neck Heavy turnout and a wide variety of liners / stable sheets to adapt as needed but those two above are my consistent go-to’s that I would never want to be without. FYI - she’s worn the heavy ONCE since purchasing it 2 years ago.

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The medium, followed very shortly by the 100 gram. They’re worn about equally, depending on the season.

Horseware makes several blankets in 51" in their pony collection.

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Sounds like a great spot for your pony!

My 0gm rainsheet would be the workhorse because it covers fall through spring. 100gm would be too much insulation for when I just want to keep my hairy monsters dry. In southern Ontario, I would go for a 0gm rainsheet and a 150gm turnout. Good luck with the move!

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This I agree with 100%. IMO, if it’s cold and wet, I think it helps to have some fill, but if it’s just wet and not cold, they’re better off naked assuming they have shelter. This morning it was around 12 or 13 degrees when I pulled blankets. My girl had a 100g on but her roommate had a 0g, and the roommate felt really cold but my girl felt fine.


Check the temperature - many people mistake a flat(ter) coat for a crushed coat when the horse is simply warm enough without having to fluff their coat. :wink:

I use the rainsheet (0g) and 200g roughly equally the rainsheet typically does October through late November/early December, then the 200g takes over until sometime in March when it’s warm enough for the rainsheet. I’ll use the rainsheet on/off through May.

I have used rainsheets alone for entire winters on healthy horses with good coats. The wind and wet protection easily offset the tiny squash effect of the. blanket. The exception would be if there was a heavy, cold rain as the water conducts heat away and the horse has trouble keeping the air pockets in their flluffed coat warm. Even 100g can make a difference in this case.


Thank you everyone, for taking the time to comment! Based on everyone’s feedback, I think I’ve finally settled on the Horseware Amigo Pony Plus 0g rainsheet/neck combo along with a 100g as well as a 200g liner. I had to call the tack shop to make sure the rainsheet was compatible with the liners because online it doesn’t appear to be, but a salesperson took one out of the bag and seemed to think it would all work based on where the buckles were sewn-in. Total investment will be about $300, which is nothing compared to how much use I’ll get out of it.

The blankets I already have will work well in the warmer weather (existing rainsheet) or to layer underneath when it’s particularly chilly (existing too-small mid-weight blanket) … or even as spares.

Assuming the fit of this particular brand is compatible with my mare’s build, we should be all set for this new adventure :slight_smile:

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Good choice! Amigo is what I have for my pony as well.

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Good choice!
I’ve got three horses out 24/7. An 11 yo gelding who grows a woolly mammoth coat, he gets clipped. A 17yo gelding who doesn’t grow much of a coat and will start shivering if he gets wet. And a 3yo mare who grows a short thick coat.

The 11yo has gotten the most use out of his 250gm full neck turnout this year, during the cold snaps I add a 300gm liner. If he wasn’t clipped he would be fine in a 0 or 100gm to block the wind and wet snow.
The 17yo has gotten the most use out of his 200 gm high neck turnout. Right now he’s in his 300gm (-30C with the windchill this morning), when it goes above zero he gets switched to a 0gm rainsheet.
The 3yo has gotten the most use out of her 100 gm blanket. I really only use the 0gm on her to keep her clean, she is never really bothered by the wet cold unless she’s totally drenched. This week is the first time that she’s ever worn a 300 gm blanket. She’ll switch back to the 100gm on Monday or Tuesday when it warms up again.

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