Do you have a new horse? Has your horse grown this past year? Is your old blanket looking a little frayed?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you might need to measure your horse and start thinking about going shopping for a new blanket. Take the time before winter to make sure you are ready before that cold weather starts.
Measuring your horse: Pretty simple- just measure from the center of the horses chest to the center of the horses tail. Not so simple- using a noisy metal measuring tape on a young horse or a skitterish horse! Borrow the cloth tape out of the sewing basket and you will have quicker, safer results!
Water-proof or water-repellant: Waterproof is supposed to be just that – waterproof. Horses kept in pastures or who will be out in the weather need a waterproof blanket. Many of the heavy canvas blankets are water proof, as well as some of the nylon blankets. Water repellant blankets can get rained on – a bit – or get a little wet, but you wouldn’t want to leave your horse out in the rain wearing a water repellant blanket. Carefully read the labels and information on the blankets before you buy them.
Closed front or open front: Closed front blankets are great because there is no possible gap in the front to let cold air in. And since they are smooth across the front there is no hardware or straps that can get caught on something or need repairs in the future. But…there is an art to getting them on and off your horse. The open front blankets are much easier to put on and take off an inexperienced horse. They are also adjustable so you can fit the horse perfectly.
Leg Straps: A properly fitted leg strap will hold the blanket in place and make life easier for you and your horse. Look for leg straps that are removable so that they can be cleaned or replaced as needed.
Blanket lining: Winter blankets may have a soft fuzzy sheepskin type lining or a smooth or silky nylon lining. Many horse owners like the fuzzy lining because it feels so nice and warm. However some people won’t buy them because they think they hold the dirt more than a nylon lined blanket. Some show horse owners prefer the nylon lining because they think the nylon “polishes” the horses coat. Your horse will appreciate whatever type you decide is best for him/her.