Horse Coolers – How, When & Why To Use Them

horse cooler
Gemini looks sharp in his Rambo Grand Prix Dress Sheet/Cooler

Have you ever had questions about horse coolers?

Do you need one? Why? Is there a right and wrong way to use a cooler? A right or wrong time?

Horse coolers are important for careful cool down in cool or cold weather, and to avoid chills and aid in recovery after strenuous schooling and exercise.

Because regulating your horses’ body temperature is very important, horse coolers, in one form or another, are useful year round.

I was fortunate to find a clearance sale last year on the Rambo Grand Prix cooler that my horse, Gemini, is wearing in the first photo. I absolutely love it!

It is 100% wool, well made and “classy” looking. I feel nicely turned out with it at any horse show or clinic.

In summer, after bathing, or a good workout and hosing down, you might want to use an anti-sweat sheet. You can also use one as a blanket liner in winter, or even as a fly sheet.

anti-sweat sheet
A well made anti-sweat sheet

A nicely made anti-sweat sheet is the Centaur Original Irish Knit Sheet. It is 100% Cotton Irish Knit and has front buckles and two surcingles, making it both breathable and secure!

An Anti-sweat sheet is usually made of cotton, or a cotton blend, woven into a mesh so that the blanket “breathes” through the weave of the fabric.

Anti-sweat sheets are designed to allow air to flow freely and circulate while your horse dries out from work or bathing.

A cooler is the “garment of choice” for horses on not-so-warm spring and fall days, and during chilly winter weather.

It protects your horse from chills and speeds drying after a workout by wicking moisture away.

horse coolers
This Centaur Wool Cooler looks quite elegant.

Horse coolers are available in either wool, wool blend or cotton fleece. Many have custom-look details like embroidered hip ornaments and braided piping and trim.

They can run from very inexpensive fleece coolers to custom wool dress sheets that cost many hundreds of dollars.

Some come with surcingles, front buckles, leg straps and tail cords. But, even with some of these “extras” a horse cooler is not designed for a horse to sleep or be turned out in!

The Centaur Wool Dress Cooler, shown above, has the look of a custom cooler at less than 1/2 the cost!

It is a true classic with brass closures, a hidden surcingle and an extremely stylish hip ornament! It also comes in a variety of colors, with different choices of trim and braiding color and is 100% wool.

Coolers also come in handy when your horse comes in from the pasture on a cold day, soaking wet from rain or snow.

The Equs Lightweight Dress Cooler is a wool/rayon blend and also sports the braided tail cord and a leather front buckle.

horse coolers
This Equs is a lovely, lightweight cooler

It will look lovely at a show and, perhaps best of all, it is machine washable.

On a colder day, when you might want a heavier cooler, you can layer this attractive Equs cooler by using it with an anti-sweat sheet underneath.

So, a recap of the HOW, WHEN and WHY of using a horse cooler;

  • use one that is appropriate for the temperature of your horses’ environment anytime your horse is wet, whether it is from sweat, rain or a bath, so that your horse doesn’t get chilled while drying, and to help them dry/cool out more quickly
  • don’t use a cooler or anti-sweat sheet for turnout or overnight stabling
  • don’t layer underneath a blanket, moisture will get trapped under the blanket and cause discomfort.
  • you can layer with another cooler, or use an anti-sweat sheet under your cooler, if one cooler doesn’t seem to be enough
  • if your cooler becomes overly damp and your horse still isn’t dried out, you will want to replace it with a dry cooler
  • when your horse is tacked up and ready for work you can use a cooler over their tack to keep them warm while they are waiting to begin, or taking a break, such as between classes at a show

It is wise to always have a horse cooler and anti-sweat sheet around for when the need arises!


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