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Tuesday, October 1, 2013


My personal choice is NOT to use a blanket of any type. 
But I have one horse that requires a blanket when it is a cold rain even at 60 degree day.

Positives and Negatives ... 
Positive... A rain coat allows me to save money in the long run.  Any time it rains lately my mare goes into shakes... so badly one would normally call the vet.  So after several times of drying her off, blanketing her for an hour, then putting on the raincoat as an after thought.  It is now at the barn for good.

Negatives... Blankets can be dangerous! VERY... but so can crossing the street! ha ha ha...
Your horse can break a leg, twist a gut trying to get it off, tear the blanket to pieces and cost you lots of money.  So I get the strongest I can 1600 denier throws and blankets are needed for my dry lot and pasture horses.  If your blanket leaks OR you put a blanket on a wet horse as an after thought a horse can smell sour... like a moldy towel left in the washer over night in the middle of the summer.  It is gross and you really need to clean your horse!  If you don't it is likely to turn into rain rot! a horrible condition that grows a fungus that eats the skin, makes the hair fall out, and again causes you even more problems.  Not to mention it becomes painful for your horse.   Horses get too hot, in the wrong weight of blanket, they sweat and can get dehydrated if not carefully watched.  This also causes moldy smells etc...

How to fit, measure
This photo will give you room in the tail for pooping.  It may also cause it to droop a little at the chest or rub on the withers.

This type of measuring works better for me!   I find a better fit at a LEVEL measure from chest to center of tail. 

I get about a one and 1/2 inch difference in the types of measurement.  You have to realize this is a complete size! leaving you almost FOUR inches difference in the blanket if measured wrong. 

WHY to use a blanket.
Some people use a blanket just to keep their horse clean.
This is great IF you are showing!   If your not then why wouldn't you allow your horse to be a horse rolling in the mud and getting dirty etc...

Some use a blanket to keep their horse from developing a WINTER COAT. 
This is controversial... and double edged!   by not allowing the horse to develop a winter coat you MUST blanket the horse at all times, thus you may need to change the layers through out the day or at night.    NO WINTER COAT is also a show thing!   When a horse is slicker they look better.
Some clip/ cut their horse's hair again mostly a show thing. 
     BUT clipping is also a preventative thing.  You don't see runners wearing a heavy winter coat?  Your horses winter coat is a is heavy, holds sweat and WILL make it colder while wet after cooling down from a work out.  So if your ride often, ride hard clipping may be a necessity.
     My horses are in the weather and need their coats; I only use a blanket when they need one. And in the winter I ride in the morning and allow the horse to dry in the heat of the day,  I brush them out again at night feeding so hair is fluffy and warm for the night.

Because of choices WHEN is completely up to the owner, but remember if you blanket your horse you are completely responsible for its warmth.  You can't change your mind of blankets or winter coats in the middle of the season!  AND you may need to be around in the middle of the day to change the layers you put or didn't put on your horse.

again choices choices choices...

Over the ears, under the tail but merely draped over the body is a cooling/ wicking/ warming blanket and NEVER left on a horse not being attended to.

Belly BAND complete band... I have one of these as a quilted warm blanket, and is rarely used unless she is uncontrollably cold.  Mine is very warm, and does not have a chest strap it pulls over her head and can be hard to use on horses that scare easily.  BUT there is no draft on her belly and when she is VERY cold it matters a great deal.  This band can be the most dangerous for leg issues.

GERTH STRAP only.  I generally only use these when I have to.  They do not stay in place as well BUT are much safer for a horse that lays down a lot and helps to prevent them from getting tangled up in the belly straps shown last.

BELLY STAPS.. there should be two ... I ALWAYS cross mine... one it also helps to prevent her from getting tangled in straps.  But with this type of blanket warm or not there is a draft on their belly at all times.  If it is an old horse this may not be enough even with a heavy blanket quilting.  (kinda like you wearing a short skirt in winter)

Make sure no matter what band type you choose that you use a tail strap OR leg straps.  I ALWAYS cross my leg straps as well.  I rarely have blankets with tail bands unless it is the wicking or cooling blanket for heavy winter workouts.

I use a rain coat for wet weather.
I will be using a mild not quilted blanket for my mare with temperatures under 20 degrees and with WINDS predicted.   Much like a light weight but no rain protection.
I use a several layers as weather gets worse and worse I put on more and more.  As this allows me to put on and take off through out the day.  This is very important!
I put on the quilted banded blanket (again mine slips over her head... off and on) only if it is a last resort.


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