How to Measure Your Horse for a Blanket

 

There’s no end to how many colors, patterns, and styles are available for horse blankets. But, the first step in outfitting your horse for fly protection or warmth is to find their approximate size. When you measure your horse for a blanket, this may be the easiest thing about horses, ever.  

 

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How manufacturers measure horse blankets

 

  • Horse blankets are sized when the pattern is flat. Then it’s measured from the bottom of the neck opening to the back horizontally. Easy peasey.  The size of the blanket is this length in inches.  

Easy steps to measure your horse

 

  • Your mission is to measure your horse similarly as a starting place for their blanket size.  

 

    • Use a flexible tape measure. Most height and weight tapes for horses are long enough to measure for a blanket.  
    • Start your measurement where your horse’s neck meets his chest.  
    • Drape the tape measure over the point of the shoulder.  
    • Continue along your horse’s body, keeping the tape horizontal. I pull it taut to mimic the straightness of the blanket.  
    • Stop measuring your horse for blanket fit where you want the blanket to end. Your stopping place could be alongside or in the middle of the tail. 

measure your horse for a blanket

Keep things *mostly* horizontal

 

measure a horse for a blanket or sheet

 

Differences between brands

 

  • I kid you not when I say blankets of the same size can vastly differ from brand to brand. Usually, this stems from a few things: 
    • How the gussets flare out to provide more room
    • The attachment design of any straps
    • The neck opening’s style
    • How the tail cover is designed and attached

 

horse wearing a fly sheet that's too small

 

Getting the right blanket fit for your horse

 

  • Like real life, blanket fit is best on paper, but results may vary. Basically you are trying to find the Goldilocks of horse fashion. Look at these areas on your horse when checking fit:

 

  • Neck opening – Your horse’s neck should not be strangled, or too loose that the top becomes wedged behind the withers.  

 

  • Shoulders – Your horse’s shoulders need full range of motion. A horse gets up with their front legs extended, and those gams need room! High gussets seem to allow the most space.  

 

  • Belly – the belly straps of a horse blanket need to hang just low enough to allow for expansion of the belly while sleeping on the ground. The straps should tight enough to avoid catching a hoof. 

 

  • Length of the blanket – Ideally, the blanket is not wildly bunched up in the girth area after straps are attached. Cross-belly straps usually avoid this.  

If you will be layering blankets

 

  • It’s usually easier to layer blankets than to swap them out during the day if the weather changes. Layering also eliminates the need to buy blankets of many weights. 

 

  • For example, a horse could wear a medium and a light overnight, and then only the light during the day. This saves switching everything morning and evening, instead, you are only removing and adding layers.  

 

  • If layering is your game plan, the outer layer of the blanket may need to be one size up to accommodate the underlayer. 

 

dirty horse after mud rolling while wearing white fly sheet

It’s also helpful if your horse’s blanket is washed easily.

 

Horse blanket shopping tips

 

  • Many horse blankets go on sale in the spring, but new and fun designs usually come out in the fall. 

 

  • If possible, try a few clean blankets your barn friends already have. This will give you an idea of what brands and styles work for your horse.   

 

  • Some horse supply retailers allow returns of blankets IF they are spotless, which means your horse better be spotless when trying on. 

 

  • Used or hand-me-down horse blankets can be a great option to save some dough. Clean and re-waterproof them before use, just in case.  

More blanketing tips here: 

Cleaning blankets WITHOUT a washing machine

Cleaning blankets WITH a washing machine

Re-waterproofing your horse’s blankets

 

 

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This style is great for riding!

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Thank you!