Blanketing a horse is far from an exact science. Yes, blankets come in sizes and the instructions for measuring a horse are pretty straight forward, but there is a lot more than just blanket size when trying to keep our equines comfortable. And even with blanket size, one brand’s size 78” is another brand’s 80” and yet another brand’s 76”.
In addition to size, you have to take into consideration the conformation of the horse. Is he high necked or low necked? Do his shoulders stick out? Does he have a big barrel or is he thinner? Some blanket designs fit some horse conformations better than others.
Then you have to determine if you need a heavy weight or a medium or just a sheet. Should it have straps or a belly band? Turn-out or stable blanket? Is 600 denier okay or do you need 1200? And there are different technologies regarding wither relief, tail guards, buckles, and shoulder gussets. And I’m not even going to discuss color. I prefer plaid myself.
PJ has a number of blankets, only one of which was bought specifically for him; the rest were hand-me-downs from my previous horses. In turn-outs he has a sheet, a California sheet (it came with him), and a medium-weight. In stable sheets, he has a nylon sheet and heavyish blanket, plus a polar fleece cooler/blanket liner. He also has a slinky shoulder guard because all of his blankets were rubbing. I often find myself layering, especially as it gets colder.
Deciding which layers to put on him is difficult. Today I got to the barn to discover that he was sweaty under his slinky shoulder guard, heavyish blanket, and California turnout. Yesterday he had been fine. I ended up switching him to his slinky, nylon sheet, and medium turnout, with no guarantee it was the right choice. I just guessed based on this morning’s weather report about what it was going to be like tomorrow. Part of me is worrying and part of me knows he’s hardy and he’ll be fine. Here he is stylin’ in his turnout blanket.