Follow this five-step check list to make sure your horse's
blanket properly fits him.
When bundling up your horse this winter, take a minute to check
the fit of his blanket. Patterns and cuts from different
manufacturers can make supposedly same-sized blankets fit quite
differently. And changes in your horse's body condition can cause
a cover that fit perfectly last year to be painfully ill-suited
for his present profile.
Is there room to slide your hand around the withers and
The following five-point blanket check will make sure your horse
is both warm and comfortable this winter:
1. Can you slip your hand easily between the blanket and his
withers? Continual pressure in this area can produce discomfort
or even lasting injury.
2. Is there room to slide a hand up into his shoulder area? Too
tight a fit here will rub off hair and cause painful friction
3. Is the neck cut so your horse can graze without pain? Place a
tempting treat at floor level and watch for pressure from the
front buckles as he reaches for it.
4. Does the tail flap lift easily when your horse passes manure?
An ill-designed or too-heavy tail cover will get in the way of
falling manure and become a crusted mess.
5. Does the surcingle have to be adjusted tightly to keep the
blanket in place? A blanket cut for your horse's body shape will
stay in place without a tight, uncomfortable surcingle.
A "yes" to one or more of these questions means that your horse
and his blanket are a poor match. Simple alterations and creative
use of fleece can fix some minor fit problems but the best
solution may be to replace the blanket altogether. Measure your
horse before you go shopping and consult with the sellers about
the right cuts and styles for his particular body shape and size.
Try each purchase on your horse over a bed sheet; if you have to
make a return because of poor fit, it will be clean and
This article first appeared in the November 1998 issue of EQUUS