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Archive for the ‘Horse Tack & Equipment’ Category

 

We’re getting a lot of new trailers in here at Hawkeye Tack and wanted to feature one of the trailers we just received. Stop by to check it out!

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Keeping your winter horse blanket clean is essential to keeping it hygenic and keeping your horse healthy. Here are some tips for cleaning your horse blanket to keep it in tip-top shape for your horse.

  • First, remove excess dirt from the outside with a stiff brush or hose the blanket down.
  • Use only cool temperatures when washing your blanket. The blanket should be washed on a delicate machine cycle or by hand in a cool wash.
  • Use only very mild soap. Look for environmentally friendly, phosphate-free products when washing synthetic fabrics. The mild detergent will quickly and effectively remove dirt and grime, but won’t reduce the waterproofing of your blanket. Using bleach or regular determent will damage the waterproofing, so it is best to avoid these.
  • Rinse the blanket thoroughly and drip dry. Do NOT put your blanket in a dryer or tumble dry it.
  • Store the completely dried blanket in a dry area. Containers such as large tin trunks, strong plastic bags or drums make great blanket “bins”. The blanket can also be hung up on a blanket rack, which ensures that it remains aired and dry.

Taking proper care of your winter horse blanket will mean that you can use it for many winters. It will also ensure that it keeps your horse dry and warm while remaining clean, hygenic and healthy for your horse.

Image courtesy of Derrick Coetzee

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Last time, we looked at how to find the right size blanket for your horse during the winter. This time, we’d like to help you discover how to find the best-fitting blanket for your horse.

There are four main areas to look at when determining the best blanket fit for your horse:

The withers: To ensure that excessive pressure it not on the shoulders or directly on or behind the wither, it’s important that the blanket fits well up the neck and beyond the withers. A blanket with the best fit lies about two to four inches in front of the withers.

The shoulders: To allow for free movement, look for a blanket that fits well around the neck. The outside edge of the blanket should lie well in front of the shoulder to allow for movement, and the top strap of the front fastening should be in line or just about in line with the point of the shoulder. If the strap is too far above the point of the shoulder, your horse’s freedom and ability to graze will be restricted. If it lies too far below the point of the shoulder, there may be pressure put on the shoulders, which can cause rubbing and irritation.

These tips are for blankets with horizontal top straps.  You may also have a blanket with a “V” formation at the top straps, which means the strap is at an angle rather than being horizontal and lies along the groove between the shoulder and the neck. The format of these straps prevents rain and other elements from getting into the blanket and maximizes the horse’s freedom of movement.

The rump: Depending upon the type of blanket, anywhere from three to five darts should be placed around the rear of the blanket to ensure a snug fit over the rump. Also, the end of the blanket, which is where the tail flap is attached, should finish right where the tail starts.

The belly: Most importantly, the horse’s belly should not be visible under the blanket. Make sure the blanket is cut deep enough so that the belly does not peek out. For turnout blankets, look for ones with cross-surcingles, which provide a simple and effective non-slip design.  The cross-surcingles should be fitted about four inches under the horse’s belly. If they are too tight, the blanket will be strained, and if too loose, the blanket may not be able to remain securely fitted.  After fitting, double check that the cross surcingles are still taut after a day or two of wear as the blanket will settle onto your horse. Make any adjustments as needed.

Also, check the Fillet string. It is very important that the fillet string is attached and fitted under the horse’s tail on all turnout blankets. Doing so make sure that the back of the blanket cannot be blown forward in strong winds. If the fillet string breaks, use a piece of cord or similar material (like balling twine) as a temporary or permanent fix.

Now that you’re sure of how to find the best blanket fit for your horse, we will look how to take proper care of your blanket in our next post. In the meantime, if you’re looking for a new blanket or have any questions on how to find the best fit, let us know! We’re always happy to answer any questions to make sure you find the blanket that best fits your needs.

Image courtesy of Derrick Coetzee.

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