Everything You Need to Know About Rain Sheets
Spring is on its way, meaning April showers and potentially soaked—and most definitely muddy—horses and ponies. So how can we protect our furry four-legged friends in the rainy season? Rain sheets could be an option for you!
About Rain Sheets
Rain sheets are thin, preferably breathable, waterproof sheets that work to keep horses dry and comfortable. Thinner than traditional blankets and turnouts, rain sheets generally have no fill but are meant to be a simple barrier between your horse and the elements.
Rain Sheets will:
- Keep your horse dry
- Help to keep them (mostly) clean in muddy pastures
- Help to avoid skin issues like rain rot
- Protect against other elements like wind
Spring and summer are the best time to start thinking about pulling out or purchasing your rain sheet. Once temperatures begin to rise and unpredictable showers start, rain sheets can take the place of heavier, more insulated waterproof turnouts in the right situations.
Things to Consider
You may think that a rain sheet is the answer to your blanketing dreams, and it may be! However, there are a few things to consider when thinking about dressing your horse in one:
Horses are remarkably adept at regulating their own body temperatures, and sometimes despite the best of intentions, we can do them more harm than good. Any kind of extra layering can cause a horse to overheat and sweat. This can be particularly dangerous in springtime, where temperatures can drop suddenly leaving your horse with a problematic chill.
Making sure your rain sheet is both waterproof and breathable will give your horse protection against the weather and without adding unnecessary warmth. To learn more about whether you can blanket a wet horse, read this!
Depending on your preferences, discipline, and activity level, your horse’s coat could be anything from freshly clipped to resembling a wooly mammoth. While it may seem like a good idea to protect our furrier friends from rain with a thin sheet, you may actually be inhibiting their natural abilities to keep themselves warm and their skin dry.
Even the thinnest rain sheets can weigh down a horse’s coat, which interferes with piloerection—a.k.a. the equine coat’s natural process to act as a barrier against weather to keep skin warm and dry. Similarly, if your horse is clipped then a rain sheet might not provide them with enough warmth which can lead to weight loss and other health issues.
Keeping in mind your horse’s coat when considering a rain sheet will help you to keep them happy and healthy. Clipped horses likely won’t overheat in a sheet, so if the weather is on the warmer but rainy side, a rain sheet would be a great choice. If your horse is on the hairier side, colder wet weather could call for a rain sheet. Just remember you know your horse and if you are trying a rain sheet for the first time, keep them monitored for chills or sweating.
Do you have a spring and summer you hope to be jam packed with blue ribbons and medal classes? Then you might want to consider making a rain sheet a part of your necessary horse show packing list.
As we move into warmer weather, the shows start to move outside meaning you and your horse will be exposed to the elements while you wait for your turn in the ring. Entering the ring with a sopping wet horse can hurt your chances with the judges and affect the safety of your ride, not to mention can lead to skin irritations and temperature issues for your horse. Anyone planning on showing should consider including a rain sheet as a part of their show day staples.
Rain sheets can be the perfect option to help keep your horses clean and dry in warmer weather. Just remember that if you choose to try a rain sheet, keep your horse’s temperature monitored to avoid sweating and/or a chill.
Do you have a rain sheet for your horse or pony? When do you use it and how often? Let us know in the comments below.