Choosing the correct size horse blanket
Two factors must be considered when fitting your horse for a blanket. First, measure the distance from the center of the horse’s chest to its rear end to get the length of the blanket. Second is the build of your horse. A horse with large or stocky build will probably need a blanket a size larger than his length indicates. Similarly, a small boned horse may require a size smaller.
Most blankets are sized in two-inch or three-inch increments: 76, 78, 82, etc. Your horse will probably require one size larger for his turnout blanket than his stable blanket. A well fitting blanket will keep your horse comfortable and prevent it from rubbing or slipping.
FITTING YOUR BLANKET
Consider the following points to ensure your blanket fits your horse comfortably:
The withers: A well fitting blanket should lie about two to four inches in front of the withers. Make sure there’s not excessive pressure on the point of shoulder or directly on or behind the wither.
The shoulders: The outside edge of the blanket should lie in front of the shoulder to allow for free movement and fit extremely well around the neck. The top strap of the front fastening should be in line with the point of shoulder. If this strap lies too far above the point of shoulder, your horse’s freedom to graze will be restricted. Too low beyond the point of shoulder, and the unnecessary pressure may cause rubbing.
The rump: There should be three to five darts, depending on the type of blanket, around the rear of the blanket to make sure its fits over the rump. The end of the blanket, where the tail flap is attached, should end just where the tail starts.
The belly: The blanket should be cut deep enough so that the belly is not visible under the blanket. Look for turn-out blankets with cross-straps which provide a simple, effective non-slip design. The straps should hang about four inches under the horse’s belly. If they are fitted too tight, the blanket will be strained. If fitted too loose, the blanket may slip. Check the tautness of the cross straps after the new blanket has been worn for a day or so. The blanket will “settle” onto the shape of your horse, so adjustments may need to be made.
The fillet string: It’s essential that the fillet string is attached and fitted under the horse’s tail so the back of the blanket won’t be blown forward in severe wind. If the fillet string breaks, use a piece of cord or baling twine as a temporary or permanent replacement.
Whatever kind of blanket your horse has needs to fit well. If you’re not sure if the blanket fits right, ask your trainer or another professional for help.