Save your horse’s mane from blanket rubs!

This is often a real pain in the neck (so sorry….can’t help myself), but a few ideas may save your horse’s mane from blanket rubs:


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  • Make sure the blanket fits in the first place. Your horse’s blanket should not be able to slide back and catch on his withers, it needs to remain in front of the withers. My vet shared a story about a horse’s blanket she surgically removed from the withers – the blanket had gotten hooked behind the wither and with movement and laying down, split the wither right open.


wither location under a horse blanket with a high neck

I’m pointing to the withers, this blanket fits nicely around the neck and shoulders. No chance this blanket will get wedged behind the withers unless I fasten it ridiculously wide around the neck.


  • But, if the blanket cannot slide back onto the withers, you may be putting the mane at risk for rubbing. Gussets of all shapes, sizes, and locations allow your horse to move his shoulder and be free of extra pressure on the neck and mane. Be sure to watch your horse lay down in the blanket – this will show you how it fits and how restricted your horse is while lying down and getting up. For more details on blanket fit, read this article.


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  • Try out the different neck opening styles. Some blankets are more rectangular, which allows more of the blanket to go up the mane and reduces pressure on one spot. Other blankets have a bib design that allows for maximum shoulder freedom. Other blankets have padded withers for a better fit and less pressure. Some have adjustable neck openings.



horse blanket laid out

Exhibit A – Top of the blanket only covers the back.


horse blanket drying on a line

Exhibit B. Definitely more neck coverage here.


Horse blanket hacks


  • Use what you have already toc ushion the mane. Old leg quilts can be tucked or sewn into blankets to make the blanket more comfortable. This helps when the fuzzy neck things are worn.


leg quilt used as padding for wither area under blanket


  • Add some horse underwear. The sleek nylon hoods and shoulder covers make blanket rubs a thing of the past. Be sure to keep the nylon covered with a blanket if your horse is going outside, it’s not waterproof.


  • Keep the mane clean. A crunchy and crusty mane may be more susceptible to rubbing out. Slick manes tend to slide around. You can hot towel a mane in winter and use some detangler if necessary. Stay alert to the possibility of super slick reins, too.


horse blanket with wither padding

This blanket has a padded wither area, so there’s not so much downward pressure on the mane. Handy.


Easy tricks to help stop blanket rubs on your horse

And here’s what to do if the mane is already rubbed out.


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