Importance of a Good Fit
Fitting a horse blanket can depend a bit on the type of horse blanket, but generally there are measurements to take, and the sizing is dependent on the length of your horses' body. It is important to get the right fit for your horse. Too big of a blanket will slide out of place, often falling to one side, or sit uncomfortably around the shoulders, often putting undo pressure on the withers. It can hang down in the back as well, leaving a safety concern of drooping leg straps and excess material to catch on fences and under the hooves, especially when the horse lies down and gets up again. Too small of a blanket will rub, and hinder the horses’ movement. It can cut into the withers, and cause pressure in multiple locations, including the chest and the shoulders. Besides the obvious discomfort (and sometimes pain!) a tight-fitting blanket can cause your horse, the prolonged pressure can leave unsightly white marks permanently on the horses’ coat.
How To Measure For a Horse Blanket
Measuring your horse requires two things:
- A cloth tape measure
- A helper to keep the measuring tape in place on the chest and the shoulder while you stretch the tape to the hindquarters for the most accurate measurements.
Steps To Measuring a Horse Blanket
Step 1: Hold the measuring tape at zero inches, or zero centimeters, in the center of the chest.
Step 2: Stretch it across the widest point on the shoulder, and then ask the helper to hold both the start of the measuring tape on the chest, and this point on the widest part of the shoulder.
Step 3: Continue stretching the measuring tape to the back of the horse, reading the number when you reach the hind end of the horse, where it meets the tail at the most outward point, as judged from the side. It will be parallel to the widest point of the shoulder and the middle of the chest.
Step 4: Take this measurement, in inches or centimeters, and convert it to the other, so you have the length of your horse in both increments when you check out sizing charts for different blankets for sale!
Step 5: Check the sizing charts for each type and brand of blanket you are considering. Like clothing for people, horse blankets fit differently depending on the manufacturer.
What to Consider For Your Individual Horse
The shape, the size, the confirmation, the age and the personality of your horse will all be factors in selecting the most appropriate blanket for you. The climate you live in is also an important factor.
Looking first at the exterior, or outer shell of turnout blankets, you will see the blanket has a number and the letter ‘D’ beside it. This refers to denier count, and most commonly horse blankets are 600D or 1200D. A denier is a unit of measurement for the linear mass density of a fabric, measured as mass in grams per 9000 meters, and is based on a historical reference to the measure of a single strand of silk at a 9000 meter length weighing one gram. For horses that are quiet and do not interact with their paddock mates readily, the 600D blankets, like the Amigo Hero 600D Medium Turnout with Leg Arches are great. For horses that play a lot, or are in large groups, with rugged terrain, brush and trees, try a 1200D, such as the Amigo Bravo 1200D Medium Turnout with Leg Arches. For horses that are extremely tough on blankets, there are some manufacturers that put out a 1680D outer shell, as found in the Weatherbeeta Comfitec Ultra Tough Detach-A-Neck Heavy, or even an unbelievable 2000D outer, like the Shires Stormcheeta Turnout!
Look at your horse in terms of his shape. Many horses really need shoulder gussets to make the blanket fit properly and comfortably. Particularly in short-coupled horses where the length gets too big, yet the shoulders are tight, these shoulder gussets really help in the blankets’ design. Traditional length shoulder gussets are enough for many horses, like the ones found in the Saxon 1200D With Gusset Standard Neck Lite II. For horses that have extremely wide chests and/or ‘boxier’ shoulders, there are gussets that are elongated and offer more freedom, such as those in the Weatherbeeta Comfitec Plus Dynamic Detach-A-Neck Medium, (the entire Weatherbeeta Freestyle line).
When choosing a properly fitting horse blanket, it is also important to consider your intention of adding a stable blanket, or other liner underneath. If you plan to have a two-blanket system, where you add layers of warmth under the outer shell on colder days, then the outer shell should naturally be a little bigger.