A cooler is a lightweight, absorbent cover designed to help a wet horse dry slowly without getting chilled. Essential during cold or cool, breezy weather, these items are also valuable in hot times. Even when he doesn’t need protection from chilling, a cooler can help dry a horse more quickly by wicking moisture away from his hair and letting it evaporate from the outer surface of the cooler. Sometimes, during cold weather, frost will form on the outside of the cooler, a sure sign that it’s working! In the winter, you can layer two coolers after bathing a horse and remove the inner cooler once it has absorbed most of the moisture.
The typical cooler style covers the horse from poll to tail and hangs very long on the sides. It usually has a browband, two or more light tie straps under the neck, and a tail loop, but no surcingle or leg straps. This style is good for throwing over a horse, tack and all, after a workout to allow him to cool down while walking or untacking. Small size is 66 by 72 inches, Regular size is 84 by 90 inches, and Large is 90 by 96 inches.
Coolers also come in a more fitted stable-sheet style, with one or more belly attachments, front closures, and possibly leg straps. Because this style is more secure on the horse, it’s better suited for a horse that’s unattended, such as a horse turned into a stall or paddock to munch hay after a bath or workout.
Coolers used on sweaty horses need to be easily washable, since the dirt and minerals from sweat remain in the material after the moisture evaporates. Since wool coolers, even when washed cold, are more prone to shrinking than synthetic coolers, you can minimize their trips to the washing machine by double-layering them with a more washable synthetic cooler next to the horse.