How can I tell if my blankets and fly sheets fit my horse?
There are a few things to keep in mind when you are fitting your horse for a blanket:
- Overall fit - does the blanket cover his tushy and overlap at his chest?
- Is the blanket restricting his movement? Remember that his front legs and shoulders must reach quite a bit in order to stand up from a resting position.
- Is the blanket pulling anywhere?
- Are the straps adjusted correctly?
I'd say this blanket doesn't fit, and it makes his butt look big - which may or may not be good.
In order to check for proper fit, start at the chest and move towards the tail. You can “pre-measure” your horse with a tape measure from center of chest to center of tail, this is a good starting point for sizing. Be aware that some blanket styles or “cuts” vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so check the return policy before you buy.
Check the size on you horse by following these steps:
- Fasten the blanket or sheet at his chest, the sides should overlap.
- Work towards the tail and make sure it rests past the start of his tail to keep his cheeks warm. This also helps prevent the leg straps from rubbing the back of his hind legs.
- The belly straps should only gap enough for you to fit a flat hand through. Anything larger and you run the risk of a hoof getting stuck.
- The fabric around his front legs should not be bunched up.
- His shoulders should be free to move quite forward. I prefer gussets that start high and are a bit forward, so the blanket doesn’t pinch his shoulders.
- If there is too much space around the chest/shoulders/withers, the blanket can get “stuck” behind the wither and cause rubs and be constricting.
- Cross the leg straps by attaching the left side to the left side, then the right side to the right side through the left one. This keeps the straps safely away from the delicate skin on the inner hind legs. Please make sure the straps are elastic for safety.
This photo demonstrates why leg straps are so critical!
Have your horse take a few steps forward after you try on the blanket! Does he take a shorter stride? If so, you may want to rethink that blanket.
Also remember that if you have a blanket that will be layered, be sure the outer one is adjustable to a comfortable size for fitting over your horse and underlayers.