Liners, Layers, Hoods and The Anxious Horse Mom

:raising_hand_woman:t2: I have minimal experience with these blanketing extras. My questions are:

  1. How much warmer is a horse in a hood vs a high neck blanket vs standard neck in dry conditions. Could be windy though. Would be highly unusual for winter winds to be above 25 mph here. If it’s cold enough to wear clothes and it’s raining I’m using the hoods currently so that’s why I’m more interested to hear just about dry / windy conditions.

  2. Warmth wise how does say a 100 gram liner with a turnout sheet on top compare to a 100 gram turnout blanket? Like does the “air gap” between liner and sheet make a difference?

  3. What about layering turnout blankets / sheets vs one heavier turnout blanket? Does it matter what order one puts the layers on as in a sheet over a medium vs medium over sheet? What if they are different neck styles (standard neck or high neck).

  4. Some of my blankets are designed so that the bottoms of the sides have less fill than over the back? Any opinions on if overall that makes a difference in how warm it is?

  5. Temperature “guidelines” for wind / humidity? I can usually get moderately accurate readings / immediate forecasts for my local humidity and wind speeds but I’m not sure how to translate that into useful info for blanketing decisions. I have a general idea of what weight blankets my horses “need” at what temperatures in relatively dry and still conditions, but if say the wind is blowing 15mph out of the north on an advancing cold front… I got no clue how much “colder” I should blanket for. Same for humidity.

*need in quotes as my horses are not gonna die from cold exposure in FL

**horses are at home. I’m doing all blanket changes myself. No need to worry about overworked barn staff / BO / unrealistic boarding expectations.

***blanket changes at minimum twice a day. None of that leave blankets on for days on end in this climate.

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Caveat that I’m in upstate NY, so radically different climate than FL. But I’m also an anxious horse mom with a cold-sensitive FL bred-and-raised TB, so hopefully I can still help.

  1. Hoods/high necks probably offer similar warmth, both will keep them warmer than a standard neck. The difference for me would be in keeping them dry. Water can get under a high neck much more easily than a full hood, which may compromise the warmth.

  2. A 100g turnout and a zero-fill turnout sheet over 100g liner seem to offer the same warmth IME. I haven’t noticed any difference with an air pocket or without for lighter sheets like that.

  3. I layer lighter blankets over heavier, so a mid would go on top of a heavy if I needed it. That way you don’t have the heavier blanket squishing the fill or an air pocket that might provide some extra warmth. The difference for me with layering vs. 1 heavy blanket comes in what the horse is going to be doing. For a hard-playing horse that’s going to be turned out, I opt for one blanket to minimize shifting and risk of tangling. Different neck styles when layering may help distribute pressure over a wider area than 2 necks stacked on top of each other.

  4. I can’t speak to this one since I’ve never used the vari-layer style.

  5. Wind and humidity can make a tremendous difference. We had 70°F temps but 50mph winds a couple of weeks ago… my horse was turned out in a sheet + hood and was comfortable, not sweating at all. High humidity may make it feel warmer.

I will say to allow yourself some trial and error. It’s not the end of the world if they get a little chilly or a little sweaty one day while you try to figure out what your metric should be. Good luck!


We use necks any time it rains, or any time it warrants a heavy weight blanket+ (think below 30. clipped or short coated horses).

For layering, most waterproof on the outside. Also, I prefer the highest neck on the outside - so water doesn’t run down in between the layers.

I usually opt for a single heavier blanket when possible, because I think it leads to less rubs.

I’ve got some of the blankets with less fill in the sides - no real difference/preference.

If it’s windy, I opt for covered at a higher temperature (maybe sheets at 55/60), but I don’t otherwise increase insulation relative to temperature.


Disclaimer: I am in the mid-Atlantic, my horse is coming 27, and every horse person is crazy about something and my crazy is blankets. Just ask my barn manager. Horse owns a turnout sheet, 100g, 250g, and 450g, as well as a detachable hood for the sheet, midweight, and heavy.

I think it’s a significant difference. The hood covers a quarter to third of the horse’s body that would otherwise be exposed to wind. This also means that they aren’t able to vent heat as effectively, so they will get warm and stay warm- which may not be what you want. (Or, you may use less blanket than you would otherwise, and find the horse is perfectly happy.) I moved to rugs with hoods when my horse was coming in grumpy despite his layered Wugs, and immediately he was a happier horse.

I am not a horse, but I would expect it to be similar to wearing a raincoat over a T-shirt vs. wearing a raincoat over a long sleeved shirt over a T-shirt. The liner with the turnout sheet would likely keep the horse a little warmer.

I am super opinionated about this. :slight_smile: The lighter blanket goes on the heavier blanket, because rugs lose their insulating power when they become compressed. (Turnout sheets go as the base layer because they cannot compress.) However, if the blankets don’t fit in that order, I swap them, and I make the layer with the hood the outside layer so that precipitation can’t get in between two blankets. If you have a rug with a hood and a Wug, I’d put the Wug on top or the hood will make the Wug neck rub.

My horse seems as happy in his 450g Varilayer as he was in his 380g Rambo Original, layered the same way. (The Varilayer rugs seem to have more fill overall, but they taper along the sides. I think this helps the fit, too.)

I blanket for the RealFeel, not for the actual. That said, my horse seems to be telling me that this year, with his hood on, he is carrying his own shelter against wind, and if it is quite windy, he seems very happy wearing what he would wear for the actual temperature. I do blanket for the RealFeel if it’s windy and precipitating because damp conditions bother him, and if the temperature is going to be on the cusp of when I would rug heavier or lighter, in wind and wet, I blanket for the lower temperature range.


Just for reference, I’m in New England.

  1. I very much prefer high necks, specifically the Horseware Wugs, over a standard neck. I find that they “wrap” a little more around the narrower horses so there’s less of a gap for chilly air to get though. Technically, the advantage of the Wug style is fit since the higher neck will alleviate pressure on the withers vs. a standard neck. The hood will provide more warmth than either a high neck or standard neck though since it’s covering more area.
  • For the link, you have to scroll down a bit but it does explain the different neck styles nicely!
  1. If it’s a true 0g turnout sheet with 100g liner, it won’t make that much of a difference when compared to a 100g blanket. Sheets really don’t add a lot of warmth and I have completely stopped using them in favor of either a 50g or 100g turnout blanket as a rainsheet for wet days. Mine go out every day for quite awhile regardless of rain so if the whole day is rainy, my 0g rainsheets get soaked and then they kinda end up sitting in a cold turnout sheet all day. The 50g or 100g gives some warmth and provides an extra barrier for very wet weather when it’s chillier.

  2. I always do heavier blankets below the lighter if I’m layering and for neck styles, I go in the same order of warmth/more coverage. Hoods below high necks below standard necks. I don’t usually have 3 on but that’s just the method I use. I do prefer using a single heavier blanket vs layers for fit since I buy all blankets exactly to size so when layering, it may make things a little bit snug or awkward.

  3. It doesn’t really make a large difference in my experience. Based on these thermal images, horses seem to need more heat on their back. Vari-Layer blankets concentrate the heavier fill by the top for their back and some lighter fill by their sides so you have the fill where it’s needed most. It also helps reduce bulk for carrying them and sneaking them into the washer machine.

  4. Mine isn’t clipped anymore and grows a lot of hair which does help. My phone gives me the real feel at present time which I like to bear in mind since it really can alter what blanket I’d put on. I use the Wunderground weather app since it can estimate future wind strength by the hour which helps me eyeball the real feel later on as well. If the windchill has dropped the real feel to over 10F than the actual temperature, I usually blanket maybe 100g heavier than the normal temp. Ex temp is low/mid 30s but 12mph wind drops it to low/mid 20s, I’ll use my 250g whereas I’d normally maybe stay in a 100g during low/mid 30s. Humidity does make it a little warmer IMO but the humidity is usually only significant when it’s raining so it doesn’t make a huge difference for me.

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It’s so individual. I’m caring for one horse now who will be shivering in 40 F rain when all the other horses are fine naked.

My own mare doesn’t actually need a blanket but she appreciates a light one when it’s sleeting. They are both in stalls with runouts.

Speshul Flower has a 300 gram turnout which was what was on discount in her size :slight_smile: when I ordered. I might have gone lighter if I’d seen it IRL before I bought but she’s happy.

My mare has a very lightweight turnout maybe 100 gram and indeed she did one winter with daytime turnout with no shelter in just a rain sheet and was toasty through the sleet weather.

She does not want a blanket at all when it’s 10 C/50 F and raining.

If it was consistent dry cold here I don’t think either would need a blanket.

I would only use neck covers on clipped horses.

Yup. And they change! As a young horse, mine used to strip when he felt warm, which was more often than some of his friends felt warm, and also very detrimental to the welfare of his rugs. He had a brief flirtation with hypothyroidism where he ran cold, and now he’s probably back to being closer to average. Best thing to do is be the first one to lay hands on them in the morning to figure out how they felt in the night. And listen to them if they strip their clothes off.


I generally agree with everyone else… but if you have a high-headed horse, I’ve found the high neck blankets aren’t really accommodating of that. Mine is a Morgan, and while she’s more sporty than show horse, the high necks don’t fit her well.


Same! My young rider horse was a narrow OTTB. The only thing that fit her well was the Wug. I naturally loved them. However, none of the horses I’ve bought as an adult have been able to wear them - wide shouldered, high-set necked/baroque breeds, and stallions (or late-gelded).


I think part of it can be shoulder width as well! I have a Morgan too, a lot of foundation lines but sport-bred. The Wugs, specifically Horseware’s Rhino line, ironically fit nicely since mine has a narrower chest so sometimes the standard necks would sit awkwardly and create a gap that let in a lot of chilly air even if they were a size smaller.
I do definitely agree that the Wug would be a touch awkward on a broader horse that has the same higher head carriage though!

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So many good replies here! I’ll be back with more detailed follow ups, but THANK YOU everyone for your replies!!!

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I’ll throw in a plug for the Rambo Airmax liner under a sheet for rainy days. It’s nice to have something that’s just a touch more than a sheet on a cool, rainy day, without worrying that a 100g is too much.


Since you have horses at home, can you get out and actually FEEL them a few times a day? Imo, that’s the best way to build up a “gut feel” about what blanket needs to be on the horse.

Also, I find the newer blankets VERY forgiving, because they’re so breathable. I used to think it was better to dress them light & let them be a little cold, but now I error on the side of warm. A few years ago, we had a very unexpected warm day and had a 420 g blanket with neck (the heavy Rambo supreme) on a horse in 65 degree temps. I was away from the house, freaked out and sure the horse would be a sweaty mess. Nope! She was dry and perfectly fine.

That experience really eased my mind about dressing them. There’s A LOT of wiggle room.


Thank you for bringing that up! I’ve just (as in last night) put my horses back on overnight (when we use blankets here) turnout after a month of hell with them stalled over night (hello no sleeping in with horses banging the barn down). The last thing I want is tangled up horses! Blankets shifting sucks!

Thank you! I think I’ll need to adopt this!

My horses aren’t clipped, but not super thick coats. I don’t use mediums (200 - 250 gram fill) until 35 or below generally. Though being so far south, I think our low temps may often occur for fewer hours than more northern climates. Like if low is 35, most likely it’s only gonna be 35 for 3 hours.

Hello Friend! I am also a crazy blanket lady. I have sheets, 50 g, 100 g, and mediums for my horses. Lotta blankets for un clipped horses in FL they say lol.

Thanks for the tip of Wug over full hood (should that situation arise). Appreciate that!

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I got my younger horse a Rhino Wug this year and it’s my favorite blanket ever so far. My only regret is that I can’t replace all of his blankets with Rhino Wugs right now ($)! I like the high necks on him as they don’t rub his mane, but other high necks (have a WB blanket with high neck but the chest closures are straight straps) that don’t have the v front closure seem less comfortable. I also got a 50 gram Amigo with disc closure that’s a standard neck and it seems more comfortable across the withers / shoulders on both of my boys. Both have high withers.

I like the rain sheets for the first coolish windy days of fall and also when it’s warm but raining and expected to get colder behind the rain! I may start using the sheets a bit more if it’s borderline line cool but windy. I have an open barn plan (no solid walls) so no windbreak for horses. Super in the 8 months of heat, not so super when it’s blasting icy winds!

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Interesting! My younger horse is a high headed Friesian cross, with high withers and kinda narrow in the chest. I love the way the V front closure blankets from Horseware fit on him, both the Wug and the standard neck!

I’m not sure the Wug is doing too much more than protecting his mane. He’s probably got enough mane to keep his own neck warm lol


Maybe it’s the shoulders? Or combo between neck attachment/withers/shoulders?

I’m having way too much fun putting all the blankets on all the horses to see how they fit!

My recently acquired elderly TB has gained enough weight to fit the 84” blankets my Friesian cross wears. TB came with 76” clothes :scream: I’m proud of the weight gain, Mr LS says he’s just a butterball and isn’t sure I should be proud lol

Agree on the shoulder width.

I’m also leaning towards v front closures being superior in general for my horses that both have high withers.