How to Measure Your Horse for a Blanket


There’s no end to how many colors, patterns, and styles are available for horse blankets, also known as rugs. But, the first step in outfitting your equine partner for fly protection or warmth is to find their correct size. When you measure your horse for a blanket, you have a starting point for shopping for different styles and a variety of weights.


jump to video and shopping



This rug’s style goes higher up the neck.


How manufacturers measure horse blankets


  • Horse blankets are sized when the pattern is flat. Then, they’re measured horizontally from the bottom of the neck opening to the back. The size of the rug is this length in inches. 


  • When you find the blanket size, you are duplicating this measurement along their body length, which will consider their width and “roundness.”


two horses in winter blankets looking over a fence

These blankets have detachable necks to accommodate changing weather.


Measure your horse for a blanket with a weight tape for horses


  • How to get the measurements of your horse:


    • Use a flexible, soft measuring tape. Most height and weight tapes for horses are long enough to measure for a rug.  
    • Start your measurement where the neck meets his chest in the center of the chest. This is where the top of the front closure should rest.
    • Drape the tape measure over the point of the shoulder.  
    • Continue along your horse’s body, keeping the tape horizontal. You want to tape to drape over your horse’s conformation.
    • Stop measuring your horse for rug fit where you want the rug to end. Your stopping place could be alongside the tail, or in line with the top of the tail.
    • If you would like a blanket for cold weather that includes a tail flap, be sure to measure to the middle of the tail.


  • Your horse’s blanket size is this measurement in an even number. If the measurement is an odd number, round up one inch.

measure your horse for a blanket

Keep things *mostly* horizontal


measure a horse for a blanket or sheet



Should you measure your horse differently for different types of blankets?


You should measure your horse for different types of blankets if you like. For a turnout blanket, measure from the center of the chest to the point of the horse’s buttocks. For a stable blanket, measure from the center of the chest to where the tail starts for a proper fit.


Differences between brands and horse blanket sizing


  • I kid you not when I say rugs 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 – is it a high neck?
    • How the tail cover is designed and attached
    • The overall cut of the fabric should cover your horse’s chest and over their hindquarters. No rump hanging out, please.


horse wearing a fly sheet that's too small


Getting the right blanket fit for your horse after measuring


  • Like real life, blanket fit is best on paper, but results may vary. You are trying to find the Goldilocks of equine 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.  This is sometimes a problem for high withers, and a more extended neckline helps.


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


  • Belly – the belly straps of a horse rug need to hang just low enough to fit the belly while sleeping on the ground. The straps should tighten enough to avoid catching a hoof. 


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


dirty horse after mud rolling while wearing white fly sheet

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


Evaluating your horse’s blanket fit and solving problems


  • Ensure your horse’s blanket fits correctly by examining key areas like the withers, shoulders, and hindquarters. Watching your horse move, eat, and get up in a rug is essential. They need ample room, usually from gussets, to move their front legs around. This helps you evaluate overall fit and assess the right size of blanket.


  • Is the top front closure in line with your horse’s point of shoulder? Is there too much downward pressure on the withers, or is the neck opening too large? Would a different neck style better suit your horse’s conformation? Do you like how the tail flap covers the rump?


  • Look for any signs of rubbing or discomfort caused by an ill-fitting rug. If the rug has slippage, consider using different leg straps or fastening options, like a tail cord. Slippery fabrics like polyester and nylon make great liners but may create too much slip.


  • Address any fit issues promptly to prevent sores or injuries to your horse. Adjust the straps or closures as needed to achieve a secure and comfortable fit tailored to your horse’s unique conformation.


  • Shoulder guards make excellent underlayers for rub and sore protection. 


chestnut horse wearing a blue sleazy underwear

You can also get these nylon undies without the neck. 



Tips for 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 only the light during the day. This would save switching everything morning and evening; instead, you would only remove and add the top layer.  


  • If you plan to layer, the outer layer of the blanket may need to be one size larger to accommodate the underlayer. 


  • Ensure the top blanket is a turnout blanket – these are a higher denier to be waterproof.


  • Keep your horse as clean as possible when blanketing to keep the fabric cleaner.


  • Don’t put a clean-lined rug on top of a dirty one.


  • It’s also helpful if your equine buddy’s blanket is easily washed.


Horse blanket shopping tips


  • Many 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, and you may find the perfect fit.


  • Some equestrian 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 blankets can be a great way to save money. Clean and re-waterproof them before use, just in case.  


  • Adding more waterproofing to your horse’s blankets is easy with a spray-on or wash-in product.


  • Stable rugs are not waterproof and rarely have gussets. Opt for turnout sheets and rugs; they cover more, are waterproof, and are easier to move around in.


More blanketing tips here: 


Cleaning blankets WITHOUT a washing machine

Cleaning blankets WITH a washing machine

Re-waterproofing your horse’s blankets


Video Tutorial on How to Measure a Horse for a Blanket




go shopping button for horse products


Stock up here for your horse supplies! As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, but it’s ZERO extra cents to you.  You can also visit my Amazon storefront here:  PEG storefront.

Tech Equestrian Rain Sheet with Neck Cover | 1200Denier

Keep your horse dry during bad weather, this rain sheet is also great for windy days.

05/07/2024 04:37 pm GMT
05/20/2024 05:19 pm GMT

04/10/2024 06:18 pm GMT
05/28/2024 05:08 pm GMT
05/20/2024 05:19 pm GMT
06/02/2024 03:03 am GMT
2 Pack XL Wash Me Travel Laundry Bag
$9.99 $8.99 ($4.50 / Count)
04/10/2024 07:38 pm GMT
06/02/2024 04:08 am GMT
05/24/2024 12:10 am GMT

04/10/2024 06:18 pm GMT
05/11/2024 02:33 am GMT
05/08/2024 01:27 am GMT
05/08/2024 12:58 am GMT
05/01/2024 12:28 am GMT
05/13/2024 01:17 am GMT
Cashel Quiet Ride Horse Fly Mask with Long Nose and Ears

This style is great for riding!

05/11/2024 02:43 am GMT
05/31/2024 01:58 pm GMT
WeatherBeeta Anti-Static Fleece Cooler Combo Neck, Maroon/Grey/White

Keep your horse dry and spiffy with this cooler combo. Love the neck for fast drying.

05/07/2024 04:27 pm GMT
Tech Equestrian Rain Sheet with Neck Cover | 1200Denier

Keep your horse dry during bad weather, this rain sheet is also great for windy days.

05/07/2024 04:37 pm GMT

Thank you!