The blanket rubs my horse!  How can I prevent his mane from rubbing out?

This is often a real pain in the neck (so sorry….can’t help myself), but a few ideas may save your horse’s mane from rubbing out due to his blanket.  So - running down the list of ways you can prevent mane hair loss from a blanket are:

  • Make sure the blanket fits in the first place.  Your horse’s blanket should not be able to slide back and catch on his withers, it needs to remain in front of the withers. (Gross sttory as told to me by the Vet about a horse’s blanket she surgically removed from the withers - the blanket had gotten hooked behind the wither and with movement and laying down, split the wither right open.) 



I'm pointing to the withers, this blanket fits nicely around the neck and shoulders.  No chance this blanket will get wedged behind the withers (unless I fasten it ridicously wide around the neck.)


  • But, if the blanket is not able to slide back onto the withers, you may be putting the mane at risk for rubbing.  Gussets of all shapes, sizes, and locations allow your horse the freedom to move his shoulder and be free of extra pressure on the neck and mane.  Be sure to watch your horse lay down in the blanket - as this will really show you how it fits, as well as how restricted your horse is while laying down and getting up.  For more details on blanket fit, read this article. 


  • Try out different neck opening styles.  Some blankets are more rectangular, which allows more of the blanket to go up the mane and reduce pressure on one spot.  Other blankets have a bib design that allows for maximum shoulder freedom.  Other blankets have padded withers for a better fit and less pressure.  Some have adjustable neck openings.  



Exhibit A. 



Exhibit B.  Definitelly more neck coverage here. 


  • Use what you have already.  Old leg quilts can be tucked or sewn into blankets to make the blanket more comfortable.  This helps when the fuzzy neck things are worn. 




  • Add some horse underwear.  The sleek nylon hoods and shoulder covers make blanket rubs a thing of the past.  Be sure to keep all of the nylon covered with blanket if your horse is going outside, it’s not waterproof.  


  • Keep the mane clean.  A crunchy and crusty mane may be more susceptible to rubbing out.  Slick manes tend so slide around.  You can hot towel a mane in winter and use some detangler if need be.  Stay alert to the possibility of super slick reins, too.  



This blanket has a padded wither area so there's not so much downard pressure on the mane.  Handy. 


What are your tips for minimum mane disruption from a blanket?