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The Animak Guide: How To Fit A Horse Blanket

The best way to put a sheet or horse blanket on your horse is to tie or cross-tie him or have someone hold him so that his movements are limited. Fasten closures working from the front to the back.

By starting at the chest closure and working toward the belly surcingles and finally the leg straps, the blanket is more stable should your horse suddenly move. For the same reason, the best way to unfasten a blanket is to start at the back and work your way to the front.

Follow these steps to determine whether a horse blanket or turnout sheet fits correctly for the comfort of your horse.

 Determine your horse's blanket size by standing him squarely on a flat surface. Run a fabric tape measure from the center of your horse’s chest over his shoulder to the point where the blanket should end. The inch measurement indicates your horse’s blanket size.

 Place the garment on your horse and fasten the chest closure. A well-fitting blanket allows fabric at the chest to overlap, and the fastener to be adjusted near the middle. When the chest closure is fastened appropriately, the tail seam should sit at the point where you want the clothing to end.

 If your horse’s blanket fits well, you can slide your hand under the blanket all around the neck and over the withers with your horse’s head in a grazing position and when raised. If the opening is too large, your horse could get a foot caught, and it may rub your horse’s shoulders. If the opening is too small, the blanket will pull or rub the withers, mane or points of the shoulders or tug at the base of the neck.

 Belly surcingles should be adjusted next. Your blanket may have a belly band, two bias (angled) surcingles that should cross under the belly, or one or two straight surcingles. No matter what type you have, these straps should be adjusted so that you can slide only one flat hand between the strap and your horse’s belly. Looser straps can allow a horse’s leg to get tangled while lying down or rolling; tight straps can make the blanket rub.

 If the blanket has a tail strap, it should be adjusted so that you have about a hand's width between the strap and the horse.

If the blanket has leg straps, pass the left strap through the horse's hind legs and clip it to the dee ring on the left side of the blanket. Cross right leg strap through the left leg strap and clip it to the dee ring on the right side. These straps should be adjusted so that you can fit only one hand's width between the strap and the inside of the horse's leg. If they are too long and hang down to the horse's hocks, then a leg can become entangled. If the straps are too short, they may inhibit movement and chafe the tender insides of the gaskin or groin area.

 With fastenings done, stand back and look at the overall effect of the clothing on your horse. The shoulders of the blanket should not be stretched or tight over your horse's shoulders, yet the blanket should not appear to sag or look too large either. The hem should not hang at or below the horse's knees.

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