So you’re trying to buy a horse blanket, but what do all those words mean?
In today’s equestrian world there is an abundance of different features and accessories that come with horse blankets now. Here, you will find out how strong blankets can be and the extra features they have in order to help them last throughout the winter and for years to come.
Without much thinking you always close your blanket over your horse’s chest. This, however, should not be done carelessly because the pressure on the chest should be reduced as much as possible. It is necessary to overlap both sides so that they lay nicely and smoothly against your horse. This is especially true for horse’s that are sensitive and can be unpleasant when blanketing. In addition, a double chest closure also takes more pressure away from the chest than a single fastener, making it stronger and more durable as your horse moves. This is especially essential for horse’s that will be wearing the blanket for a long period of time.
The Faux Fur
Almost all blankets are lined with faux fur at the withers. Since the entire weight of the blanket sits above the horse and the pressure is applied at the withers, it’s essential to have this faux fur to give some added comfort. The faux fur helps reduce the pressure and provide additional comfort for the horse.
Blankets lying on the horse over a long period of time, for example turnout blankets or turnout sheets, tend to have gussets. Gussets allow the horse greater freedom of movement while wearing the blanket. The front legs are less restricted by the blanket and allows them to move more freely. In turn, the pressure from the shoulder is also taken off and the higher gussets allow less pressure to be placed on the shoulders of the horse.
Surcingles are a critical part of blankets because they help keep the blanket in place even when the horse is galloping through the pasture; more surcingles will mean a more secure fit for your horse. The surcingles are also easier to detach, making it quicker to put on and take off the blanket.
The Elastic Leg Straps
Elastic leg straps are becoming more and more popular and are found on many blankets. The function of the leg straps is similar to the surcingle. They aid in securing the blanket from slipping, even if the horse is in intense motion. Since the leg straps lay against the inside of the hind legs the material must be gentle to avoid chafing. Often leg straps are elastic to help to give more freedom of movement.
The Tail Cord
In most coolers, and in some old styles of blankets, one of the few closures is the tail cord. The tail cord should secure the blanket and prevent lateral slipping. For short term purposes it should be securely attached. However, should the blanket slip or fall too much, it puts pressure on the tail which may cause the horse to panic. Therefore, more and more designs forgo the tail cord for this reason.
The Tail Flap
Horses have the least amount of hair between their hind legs, which causes them to loose the most heat from their tail. A tail flap on a blanket helps to keep your horse protected from the wind and rain and helps to reduce heat loss. To make sure the tail flap is effective, it should come down to between the middle and end of the tailbone.
Think about how often and how long your horse wears their blanket every day. With these helpful hints you will quickly realize which blanket features are necessary to help make your horse happy and comfortable!
Are there any other blanket terms you’d like defined? Let us know in the comments!