Tuesday, November 2, 2010

10 basic blanketing rules

1) Many of us equines grow a lovely, thick winter coat. Don't blanket if you don't need to. Do blanket if you plan to body clip, or if your cold-climate equine is a skinny minny and can't spare any calories. I wear a blanket, even though I am a furry fatty, because I live in a damp climate with 24 hour turnout. I came to FW with rainrot and she doesn't want to go there again.

2) Take your equine's blanket off in warm weather. Even a dry, cold day can be a lovely time for a roll and a fresh breeze, and a blanket left on all winter without pause can be dangerous and uncomfortable.

3) Check for rubs. There are several brands of underwear available, and some get better reviews than others. If your blanket doesn't fit, find a solution or find a new blanket. Don't be afraid to embarrass your gelding by making him wear a brassiere: it's better than raw sores!

4) Take your equine's blanket off daily, or as often as possible, to check his or her condition. If your equine is thin, you'll want to check daily to be sure she isn't getting thinner. If your equine is fat, you'll want to check daily to be sure she isn't getting fatter. This latter point is an important part of FarmWife's daily check, and there's nothing as distressing as uncovering your mule after three chilly days to find that he has ballooned into a hippopotamus.

5) Wet blankets are worse than no blankets at all. If it's not waterproof, don't bother—at least for turnout in areas where precipitation happens.

6) Dry us off before you blanket. FarmWife doesn't always have time to make me completely cool, dry, groomed, and perfect before blanketing me, but she does strive for cool and dry. She absolutely won't ride me hard late in the day when I've got a winter coat. I am not allowed to go to bed sweaty. Cool is good enough in the summer, but cool AND dry is the wintertime mantra.

7) Don't be afraid to make your gelding wear pink. I look lovely in a purplish shade of maroon, and most equines have full confidence in their natural beauty.

8) Don't overdress us. If temperatures are in the 60s, chances are we don't need that heavyweight Rambo. Sweating under a blanket is no fun at all, and if you don't think you'll have time to take our blanket off when temperatures surge and the sun beats down, don't put it on in the first place. We'd rather grow our own hair, which can be fluffed or smoothed to suit the weather.

9) Buckle your blanket systematically. Everyone has different rules about this, but FarmWife was taught to begin at the front, then do the underbelly sircingles, then one strap around a hind leg (not crossed!) and the other strap around the other leg, THREADED THROUGH the first, and strapped. This keeps our straps from chafing, and the front-to-back progression is safer than the opposite in case we should break free and run about unfastened. Undo in reverse order.

10) Don't wash your blankets during dinner if your laundry room is adjacent to the dinner table. Hardworking husbands don't deserve the auricular abuse of clanging hardware during the end-of-day repast.


  1. Fenway-

    Once again a timely and informative post! I will be passing this along to my boarder will be going through her first winter with a horse - thanks :)

  2. HAy Fenway - I get a blanket on only if it is going be below 20 degrees and it always comes off during the day - everyday. It warms up to the 50's during the winter here so I don't need it during the day. I have two blankies - one is Navy Blue and one is red, green and tan plaid. So if one gets wet she can change me - just like a baby diaper - whinney whinney. She has put a blanket on me when I have been wet from rain and it is going to be cold that night - I'm always dry in the morning and I haven't caught a cold yet.

    Thanks for the tips my fren!

  3. Fenway, my mom puts a cotton anti sweat sheet under my blanket if I have to go to bed a bit wet. I'm always warm and dry by morning. (she takes the sheet off then) I don't grow much of a winter coat so I do love my blanket. Breeze the Arab

  4. I was taught to do the back straps up first, to avoid the rug somehow flying up and creating an elaborate hat. I started to believe this after wittnessing a horse at my pony club take off donning said elaborate hat. However, I'm not an equine, and I couldn't comment on which would be worse - rug over the head or back legs tied together


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