It is that time of year again. The winter season is blowing in, with snow storms, freezing rain and gusts of wind that bite through your jacket…and the horse’s blanket. If you are in the south, then lucky you! But, you still have the occasional rain sheet, and more frequently, the fly sheet on your horses. We have some tips for you on choosing the right blanket, and preventing mane and shoulder rubs.
There are so many options out there, how do you know which blanket is right for your horse or pony? First, it is important to consider their shoulder size. Whether your horse has broad or narrow shoulders, a shoulder gusset will allow for full range of movement in the shoulder. You should be able to run your hand around the shoulders and chest, without interference from the blanket. Next, as the horse moves around, the blanket should rest in front of the withers, and not catch behind, at the base. Also, look at where the end of the blanket lays. The tail seam should end right above the dock of the horse’s tail. For more information about blanket fitting go here.
Have you done everything you can to fit the blanket properly, but your horse is still getting shoulder rubs? You may need to accessorize your horse with a close-fitting shoulder guard or a padded chest extender. If you use the nylon shoulder guard, make sure the blanket covers it completely because it is not waterproof. This is also a great way to train the mane to the proper side. The padded chest extenders provide more room in the chest area and prevent the snaps from rubbing against your horse. It is also helpful to pull the blanket up every time you bring your horse in or out to give more freedom in the shoulders and to re-adjust the blanket.
Mane Rubbing Prevention
No matter how hard we try, blanket season may still wreak havoc on your horse’s mane. The constant rubbing of the blanket can rub the hair right off. Keep the horse’s mane as clean as possible, because an oily mane will be more prone to rubs. Use a detangler (Mane ‘n Tail Detangler is perfect!) to keep the mane sleek. Another handy item to have in your tack trunk is a blanket bib. These can be conformed to provide padding on top of the shoulders, or on the chest. Although, if your horse tries to bite at the chest surcingles, maybe this would not be the best solution.
Take some extra time to make sure your blankets are fitting properly. An ill-fitted blanket can create sores, rubs and skin disease!
Do you have any blanketing tips? Share them with us in the comments below. We would love to share how you best fit your blankets!