For those of you that don’t know, SmartPak released their SmartBlanket app a few days ago. Some have said “why should you need an app to tell whether to blanket your horse?” While this is somewhat true, I also find the app to be extremely handy. Here’s why.
When you download the app, it asks you to input some information about your horse such as where he or she is located, coat length, turnout schedule, weight, and whether the barn is significantly warmer than outside. After entering this information (and providing a cute picture), SmartBlanket will give you the weather/temperature predictions for the next 7 days and nights and the 8th day. Along with the predictions is what type of blanket your horse will need based on what’s being predicted. Below are the predictions for my pony, Tempo, and my horse, Luther. Luther is currently on stall rest because of a bruise on his hoof, so he is currently inside both day and night.
I tweaked the profile of each of my boys to show how the SmartBlanket recommendations will change depending on the horse’s coat length, weight, and turnout schedule.
One thing that I think is awesome is that it differentiates between a turnout sheet/blanket and a sheet/blanket. Obviously, if your horse is going to be outside during the day or at night when there is precipitation, he or she should have a turnout sheet or blanket because those are waterproof. If you notice, for the nighttime recommendations where I put my horse and pony would be inside at night, a sheet is just recommended because they will not be exposed to the elements.
While it is not yet cold enough here to differentiate between the different weight blankets, I am sure the app will recommend medium weight and heavy weight blankets based on the temperatures and the wind.
I also placed one of my boys on 24/7 turnout, just to see what happened, and a turnout sheet/blanket is recommended during the day and night depending on temperatures and the chance of precipitation.
The app also has a few other handy features, such as defining each type of blanket/sheet you can buy for your horse, blanketing tips, a glossary of blanket features (what is denier anyway?), a measurement guide, and tips on fitting a blanket properly to a horse, including when a horse has different conformational features such as high withers or a stocky build.
It is important to note that the SmartBlanket app is just a guide, and that you (or your barn manager/trainer) knows your horse better than the app does. For example, if your horse is ill, it might not be the best idea to turn him out on a cold day, even with a sheet or blanket. Your horse also might require a sheet when it gets into the 50s whereas the SmartPak app may not recommend that. The app does not replace yours or your barn manager/trainer’s knowledge of your horse, but it can help you plan ahead given that it will give you the weather and blanket predictions 8 days in advance.
This app is also handy for first-time horse owners. While some of us may think we shouldn’t need an app to tell whether our horse needs a blanket or sheet, there are some people who are leasing or owning a horse for the first time and may not have all the knowledge an experienced horse person does. This is a great way for a new horse leaser or owner to learn when and what his or her horse needs and when. When I first bought my pony, I didn’t know anything about blanketing – mostly because I had ridden at facilities that didn’t believe in blanketing for the most part. My pony had lived outside – even in the winter – with no blanket before I bought him!
A good rule of thumb: It is better for a horse to be too cold than too hot! It’s easy for your horse to shiver to warm up, but he can’t take his blanket off himself! (Well.. most can’t anyway..)
Overall, I find this app to be very handy, and I recommend any horse owner or barn manager to download it. Inputting each horse’s information is simple, and it’s also very simple to switch from horse to horse.
If you’re curious about what blanket or sheet is required for what temperatures, SmartPak also has a handy temperature guide on their website.
To download the app, you can find it in the iTunes app store under “SmartBlanket” or click here from your cell phone!
ps. Don’t worry Droid users, SmartPak is working on a Droid version of the app to be released soon.