Before you head out to buy your horse blankets make sure you know your horse's size, because you will most likely end up going back and returning it if you do not. Before you purchase your horse's blanket you want to know two things: the length (size) of your horse and what the blanket will be used for.
There are many different types of horse blankets out there. Once you know the size then you can identify which type of blanket your horse needs now. Ultimately, your horse will need more then one blanket. It is always good to have backup blankets, just in case one gets ripped through horse play, the straps break and you need to repair the blanket or it gets wet and you want a dry one on your horse.
How to measure a horse blanket
Most blankets are measured in inches. If you go from the middle of your horse's chest, to the middle of their butt, you will have your horse's blanket length. When measuring use a sewing measuring tape because a carpenter or regular metal measuring tape crinkles and might freak your horse out. Using a 12 inch; ruler will take way too long! A standard six foot sewing measuring tape will not do the job in one easy step. You will likely have to do two measurements and add them all together.
A good idea is to mark the spot where the tape measure stops, with a piece of white chalk, so you don't lose your spot and then continue with your measurements. This job is also easier if you are working with a partner.The video below demonstrates how to measure a horse blanket. You can also use the same measurement for fly sheets, rain sheets or stable blankets. Remember, this measurement is only approximate as all blankets fit differently. You may need to try a couple of makes before getting one that you and your horse are happy with.
When a blanket is fitting your horse well you should be able to put your arm through the neckpiece. Then start at one side of his withers, and work your way under his neck to the other side of his withers. The leg straps of the horse blanket should be snug (almost giving the horse a wedgie). You also want the belly straps to be as close as possible to your horse's skin, without irritating him.
If your blanket is rubbing your horse's shoulders, withers or butt, you should get a new blanket! No sense in hurting your horse, giving yourself tons of heartaches and costing you more money for vet bills. To fix this problem all you have to do is, go buy another blanket. This time, if you’re sure you have your horse’s size right, buy a different make. Every horse is different, therefore there will be different styles of blankets. You just have to find the right one.
There are many types of horse blankets, and you would want, at least one for every season, sometimes two or three. The main horse blankets would be: winter blanket, flysheet, rain sheet and stall blanket.
When you arrive at the store but before you purchase your blanket you want to make sure the blankets will be durable and to your liking. Blankets are normally made of nylon polypropylene, acrylic, cotton and canvas. For nylon blankets, you will see that there will likely be a denier rating, such as 1200 or 1200D, to describe the strength of the blanket. This rating applies to the thickness of the nylon fiber used to manufacture the blanket.
All I can suggest is that you get a blanket with the highest denier rating you can afford. Our first blanket had a denier rating of around 600 and was ripped to shreds within a month. 1200D and up seem to work for us. Once you identify a blanket and colour that you like then find the size you need.
Before you purchase your horse turnout blanket, make sure you can return it if it does not fit. Most stores dealing in horse blankets should have this type of return policy. If they do not, find another store because in many cases two blankets with the same length will fit your horse differently and you want the best one for your horse.
If your horse has a big, wide and muscular chest I would recommend a Big D blanket. If you have a horse with a smaller chest you might want to consider the Weatherbeeta horse blanket. You can expect to pay anywhere from $50-500 for a horse blanket; it all depends on the materials and the brand.
Consider the many horse blanketsjust one of a number of horse supplies you will need to look after your horse. A winter horse blanket is used if your horse is turned out in a paddock or winters outside. We generally use one blanket down to - 15 oC (5 oF) and then add a second one if the temperature drops below that. We use to use a hood which completely covered the horse's face except for the eyes, however if the hood moves to cover the horse's eyes they get spooked and can do a lot of damage to themselves so now we prefer winter blankets with a large neck area. You should be able to find a blanket with the hood built into your winter blankets, which I think is a very good thing.
If you buy a winter blanket and you think it is a bit too big, you may want to use this as the outer blanket when you double blanket your horse for cold weather. If you live in an area with temperatures below -15 oC or 5 oF an outer blanket can come in handy and it should be a bit bigger than the blanket you use on your horse daily.
In the summer a fly mask is always handy. When flies land on your horse’s face, they tend to land beside their eyes and drink the fluid out. Having a fly mask prevents the flies from drinking the fluid out of the horse's eyes, while doing that it makes the horse less stressed.