Thursday, October 27, 2011


On Monday, knowing that a snowstorm was on the way and I hadn't yet bought Panama a new blanket for this winter, I headed over to my local tack shop.  Panama has two midweight Black Storm blankets that he used last year and the year before, but they started rubbing on his shoulders last year, so I guess he needs more room in the shoulders now.  The length, 68", didn't seem to be the problem — just the shoulder width.

I like the way his 68" Weatherbeeta sheet fits, so I initially bought a midweight winter blanket in the same brand.  Unfortunately, this year Weatherbeeta changed their sizing, so the blanket was a 69".  Whether it was the extra inch or just the cut of the blanket, it didn't fit him — the neck was far too large, and as a result the blanket would slip back so that the shoulder gusset was about 3 or 4 inches behind where it should be — putting a lot of pressure on the front of his shoulders.

I should explain that Panama has a narrow chest and neck, so blankets that are the correct length otherwise typically are a little loose in that area.  Even when he'd grown out of his 64" blankets, and showed way too much behind poking out from under them, the neck still had to be fastened on one of the smallest holes.  But this was too big in the neck even on the smallest hole, so Tuesday after my lesson I took the blanket back.

I found a couple of other midweight blankets that I thought might work — a lavender Saxon 69", and a navy and tan plaid 68" in a brand I can't remember offhand.  Both looked slightly smaller than the Weatherbeeta 69" when laid on top of it on the floor, so I took both out to the barn to try.

Interestingly, both blankets fit similarly, even though the Saxon was visibly smaller than the Weatherbeeta when laid on top of it on the floor.  I think it was probably that the necks fit about the same on both.  The navy plaid was a little longer (top to bottom) though, whereas the Saxon was rather short, making it like a miniskirt in comparison.  The navy plaid was also a nicer blanket — although not quite as heavy, it's much better made, and it also fit Panama better over his back, which I liked.  Both had to be fastened on the smallest holes of the chest straps, and both tend to slip back just a little, but I felt that the navy plaid slipped back less and tended to right itself a little better when he moved, so that's the one I went with.

I went out there this morning to take the blanket off again, after 36 hours or so of it being on, and guess what — it was still in place, no loose straps, no hanging off one side or sliding back, and NO shoulder rubs!  So far, so good!

Midweight winter horse blanket



At October 28, 2011 at 9:06 AM, Blogger Nuzzling Muzzles said...

That looks like that blanket should work out well. I recently pulled all the old horse blankets I've saved over the years out, hung them up and assessed them. Anything unusable went in the trash, but I salvaged reusable parts. I swapped things around until I ended up with one of Bombay's old blankets that would fit Gabbrielle, and two blankets that would fit Lostine. I had to buy a new blanket for Bombay and was taken aback by the change in sizing. I just got everything as adjustable as possible. For me, it's easier to adjust a blanket that is too big than one that is too small.

The other morning we had freezing temps and because I wasn't watching the weather, I didn't put the blankets on the horses. Boy, was Bombay mad. He screamed at me in the morning when I came out to feed them. It was as if he wanted me to know just how miserable his night was for him.

At October 30, 2011 at 11:35 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

NM, when Panama is cold overnight he always lets me know too -- usually he's a big jerk when I try to ride him the day after he's spent a cold night. I don't think it's intentional, like he's paying me back or anything -- I think being cold just makes them tense and crabby.

As for salvaging old blankets, I did that with his better-fitting blanket from the last two winters -- switched around the straps until it had all good hardware. It does rub a bit in the shoulders, but not as bad as the other one (the one I took all the hardware off of), and it'll do in a pinch if the new one needs to go in for repairs or to be washed.


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