Blanket Questions - so I can purchase one!
I've been reading a lot of older threads about blankets, and they've been great and helpful, but naturally, when I go to look myself at the actual different ones, I get overwhelmed and confused and feel like I'm back at Square 1. So here's my dilemma:
I think, from what I've read, a Schneider blanket is the one I want to go with, but now I'm not sure which one will work best for my (and Ripley's) needs.
I live in Southern New Hampshire, and it's not arctic or anything here, but it gets mighty cold come January. Ripley already has a pretty solid fluffy winter coat, and I definitely like the idea of him taking care of himself in that regard, but his current paddock doesn't have a windbreak/shelter, and it gets pretty windy. I'm more worried about days when we're seeing teens and single digits than the 30s we're seeing now.
He's kept INSIDE the barn at night, so I don't plan on blanketing him except for days when he's outside and it's 20 or below. Do you have any recommendations for what might work best? Also, I don't really understand the difference in how blankets are cut (VTek, fitted, cutback...omg what?), and I'm not 100% sure if I will need a different kind of blanket for days when I ride him to a sweat when it's all cold and gross outside.
So, to summarize my long post: HELP. I'm confused (as usual) and need blanket advice/expertise!
Thanks in advance,
I just sold a brand new Schneiders V-Free Tekno Fleece because I hated it. I couldnt get it adjusted for nothing to stay on my horse properly. I even bought a smaller one thinking the one I previously bought was just too big but no matter what I didnt the stupid would get twisted and slide off the side of my mare, despite how tight my leg straps were. I Prefer Weatherbeeta Everast blanket. I have one that is 10 years old and the only problem is its a little bit faded.
I wonder if buying horse blankets is similar to finding a pair of jeans that aren't too long and don't make my butt look flat. :)
I imagine the fit of the blanket isn't something I can know until I try. Sigh. Thanks for the reply!
Straight from Schneiders catalog...
Raised, shaped area over the withers. Contoured over the back and hindquarters..
Image shows higher than normal cut, well above the wither bone. Well above where the mane starts.
No back seam, straight line over the withers and back. Contoured over the hindquarters.
Image shows blanket would cover entire wither to neck juncture.
Raised, shaped wither up to the start of the mane. Contoured over the back and hindquarters.
Image...exactly what it says... think a contour saddle pad fit.
Cutback at withers. Contoured over the back and hindquarters.
Image... picture shows the blanket NOT covering any of the wither, leaving it exposed.
OK.... so my take on it for what it is worth...
I would NOT do a cutback. I've seen them get so far behind the wither they get caught, leave nasty rubs where the fleece is constantly chafing the back area.
I would NOT do a VTek V-Free either. To close a neck opening unless that is what you desire.
I would Do the Fitted-V. raised wither and contoured cut over the back and butt.
I would consider the Euro...a higher cut over the Fitted-V but it doesn't "hug" and fit as close to the body... to me that can lead to blanket slip.
Both the Euro and Fitted V-Free start at just above or at the "mane starts here" location.
Now as for the weight of warmth material, sizing, colors, options.... you are all on your own.
Hopes this helps.
I received a "Blanket Catalog" in the mail from Schneiders that I took this information from.
I could not find it on their website, I looked.
This guide is very extensive in the information and goes into great detail on every cut.
Call or order a blanket catalog... if you called customer service they could probably scan and send you this page of in-depth information...
I'm not a blanket expert, so I'll just give my usual recommendation. I'm really fond of the Rider's International (Dover Saddlery brand) turnout sheets and blankets. I've had two turnout sheets (my guy ripped a big hole in the butt after about 5 years) and one lightweight turnout blanket from them, and I love them. The price is pretty reasonable as well, but I'm from Louisiana. As such, I can't speak too much for the heavier weighted blankets, but I imagine that as long as they have the proper fill they'll be fine.
I think that Chick's Discount Saddlery is having a big sale on blankets, including Weatherbetta. I've never personally owned one, but I know lots of people that love them.
If he's healthy, has a good coat, and is stalled at night anyway, consider a rain sheet (waterproof turnout sheet), 1200 denier... a dry horse is a warm horse, and it will save you a bunch of $$s.
Welcome to the forum! No, you're not being cruel to let your horse be natural with his 'pretty decent winter fluff' when it gets super cold! Unless he's a horse with a physical condition and the vet says to put one on, your best decision for his benefit is to not blanket. That thick winter coat he grew wasn't for nothing! If you brush him regularly (when dry), that will bring out his natural oils, and you'll see first hand how he'll just casually stand there eating/resting with piles of snow on his back that will eventually melt and cascade down off of the top layer, not even touching his skin!! It's one of nature's miracles, and I witness it every day, every winter in our extremely cold and snowy climate! Days are shorter now as well, so if he's stalled at night, then he's not really out that long anyway. We humans may feel cold and worry about our horses, who in turn aren't worried at all!! On super cold days, make sure he gets plenty of free-choice hay to nibble, as that serves as his fuel -that will keep him warm, and you, worry free :)
When I lived in Michigan, we regularly had 0°F temps and 3+ feet of snow, but my 20+ year old Arab fared just fine without a blanket. I only blanketed my show Paints to keep the haircoats in check. While my barn allowed all my horses to go in and out as they pleased, most of the time they chose to be outside, often with 6 inches of snow on their backs. I only closed them in the barn when it was extremely windy, well below zero temps, or wet-cold like sleeting. As the others said, keep plenty of hay available to nibble on and make sure the water source doesn't freeze.
That said, if you feel compelled to blanket, that's definitely your call for your horse! What breed do you have? Some blankets brands fit particular builds of horses better than others. For instance, Big D has always been my personal choice for my Paints & Quarters, but the newer Rocking SP brand from SmartPak fits stock type breeds fantastically, too. I prefer closed front sheets & blankets, but will do an adjustable buckle front on youngsters who may continue to grow over the winter. I generally go for the contoured back with an average cut at the withers; I've seen the extra long wither cut which covers a potion of the neck can cause damage to manes on horses with naturally higher headcarriage.
I'd go with the lightest weight blanket possible, for the least interference with his natural winter coat. Lite/no fill waterproof sheet, or max 200 gram fill blanket. But again, purely MY opinion. Good luck!
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