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How to Properly Adjust Horse Blanket & Assure Horse’s Comfort

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Written by The Old Gray Mare   

The Old Gray Mare’s previous article, “Decide On a Horse Blanket – To Dress Your Horse or Not” discusses the pros and cons of blanketing horses. It also cites a few everyday scenarios when blanketing is advisable. This follow-up article defines responsibility of horse owner to horse(s) under his care, motto to keep horse comfortable in his blanket, and how to readjust the blanket properly.

Horse Industry Endorsement

The use of horse blankets evokes a fair amount of indecision in horse circles and everyone has a strong opinion. Old timers believe that it is unnecessary to blanket horses since nature gave them short and long coats appropriate for the seasons. Other horse people use blankets and sheets selectively or for specific purposes, such as trailering or coat protection. Horse show people swear by horse clothing and blanket throughout the year for coat quality and maintenance, and color and sheen. In general, the horse industry endorses horse wearables for all breeds, horse sport and disciplines.

Horse Owner Responsibility to the Blanketed Horse

Horses that are blanketed, whether indoors or outdoors, require frequent observance and checking. You want to be certain that the horse blanket fits properly, that the horse is not too hot or too cold in his garment, that the straps are in place, that he is not rubbing and that he is not entangled in any way. A blanket that fits well usually stays in place even if the horse is very active, rolls, kicks up his heels and acts like a horse.

If you dress your horse, diligently observe him and his comfort level. Check him for rubs, sores and tears in the clothing. A well-fitting blanket may twist or shift with activity or rolling. If you observe any hair rubs on the coat, or notice your horse is rubbing, add an undergarment or liner or guard and stop coat damage immediately.

Motto for Blanketing

In short, your motto for blanketing should be “Measure him carefully, fit him well, check him often, readjust as necessary and monitor temperature changes consistently.”

How We Do It at DressYourHorse.com

At out stables, we remove horse blankets and sheets to groom and adjust them as necessary on a daily basis. Blankets come off each day for grooming and pampering - there are no short cuts and no exceptions! Grooming time and associated tasks are built into the schedule. This is the time to provide kind, thorough attention to every animal. Check out each horse for rubs, condition, etc. Our small barn is on a three-times a day feed schedule and each time, the horse clothing is checked – and that is in addition to the daily grooming sessions. When weather conditions are unstable, we may even check more frequently in order to monitor temperatures. It is not at all unusual to layer blankets during the night and peel off coverings as the day progresses. Our horses love the attention!

How to Readjust Horse Blanket Properly

Straighten your blankets and/or sheets by undoing them entirely and physically shifting them back into proper position. The Old Gray Mare recommends that you follow this simple procedure to readjust the clothing:

1. Undo both leg straps first, then unclip the surcingle(s)

2. Unbuckle the chest strap

3. Fold up the rump (rear) portion of the blanket onto the withers

4. Slide the now half-folded blanket way back onto the rump

5. Assure yourself there is no dirt, sand, or chafed spots on the neck, withers and chest area

6. Lift the blanket up and off the horse and bring into correct position at the neck and withers

7. Keep one hand on the half-folded blanket (to keep it from slipping) while you quickly check the hindquarters

8. Unfold and move the whole blanket into correct position

9. Assure the blanket is centered along the spine of the horse

10. Assure the top front portion is aligned properly on the withers

11. Buckle the chest strap(s)

12. Move to the side of the horse and smooth blanket over hindquarters evenly from spine on both sides

13. Clasp surcingle(s)

14. Clip leg straps – between hind legs criss-crossed under horse or passed between hind legs in parallel clip method

To summarize: undo straps and fasteners starting in back and moving to front, lift up the rear portion of the blanket(s) and fold forward to the withers, then lift completely off his back and put down again in the correct position.

There is lots of information to share with you about horse care and horse clothing. Another installment about horse blankets, “How to Care for Your Horse Blanket” is next.

This article and other horse-related articles are written by The Old Gray Mare of www.DressYourHorse.com.

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