Horse Stable Blanket Selection and Care

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Horse Stable Blanket Selection and Care

  2008 Cherry Hill   Copyright Information

A winter stable blanket should be comfortable for your horse and stay put. Since shifting often leads to blanket damage, generally I prefer a blanket with leg straps, which help hold a blanket in place. I also like a cut back wither, which prevents mane rubbing and I prefer nylon lining which helps polish the hair coat rather than fleece and flannel linings which tend to be hay, hair, and dirt magnets.

A stable blanket must be tough enough to withstand a horse rolling and rubbing but it doesn't need to have the weather proof qualities of a turnout blanket. A winter stable blanket needs to be warm in temperatures from about -10 to 40F and not cause sweating if it gets a bit warmer than that.

STABLE BLANKET WEIGHT

How heavy of a blanket you should use on your horse will depend on your climate, the length of your horse's hair coat, your horse's metabolism, activity level, type and amount of feed, and the barn temperature and draftiness.

When talking about lightweight, midweight and heavyweight blankets, the terms refer to the insulating quality of the blanket, not the actual weight of the blanket. Often a heavyweight blanket is very light in weight.

STABLE BLANKET FIT

Some blankets fit certain breeds better than others.

Blankets will vary greatly in side length. Side length is measurement from the middle of the center seam at the back down to the bottom edge. A size 80 blanket should have at least a 36 inch side length but 38 inches would be better.

Generally, stable blankets are made from two pieces, one for each side of the horse. The two pieces are sewn together down the midline and, in addition, there are usually darts over the hindquarters so that the blanket fits the horse's contours.

STABLE BLANKET CARE

When machine washing blankets, follow the care instructions that came with the blanket or are attached to the blanket. Most stable blankets can be machine washed on warm wash and cold rinse cycle if you have a large front load washing machine or know of a Laundromat that allows horse blankets to be washed there. Be wary of using a cold cycle as very cold water won't properly activate most detergents or soaps (even those designed specifically for "COLD" water) and cold water by itself does a poor job of cleaning. Bleach should not be used. Most stable blankets should not be dry cleaned.

Minimal soap should be used to ensure that there is no residue left after rinsing. When the wash cycle is complete, you can fluff the blanket in a dryer on LOW for about 5 minutes. Then hang the blankets on a blanket rack in a warm (50-60F) area. If you hang them right side out for a few hours and then turn them inside out, they should be ready to use in a day.

STABLE BLANKET MATERIALS

Nylon is a very strong material made of coal, water, and air and spun into thread. It appears in various forms in horse blankets.

Rip stop nylon has a reinforcing gridwork made of heavier threads designed to stop tears.

Antron nylon is a 420 denier nylon with a shiny finish.

Taffeta is a fine fabric with a silky finish. It can be made of silk, cotton, nylon, or other material.

Cordura is the registered trade name for a durable, textured nylon cloth made by DuPont.

Denier is a unit of weight for threads in material. The larger the denier number, the heavier the material.

1000 Denier Cordura is abrasion and tear resistant, and because of its tight weave, it is also water resistant.

Fiberfill is a general term for polyester filling. Polyester filling can be made of solid core fibers or hollow core fibers. Hollow fibers are lighter and trap more air for greater warmth.

Hollofil is the registered trade name for a fiberfill product made by DuPont. It is comprise of 100% Dacron polyester, hollow-core fibers.

High loft means that the fiberfill product is thicker (loftier) when compared to an equal weight of another fiberfill product.

OPEN OR CLOSED FRONT STABLE BLANKET?

The disadvantage to a closed front blanket is that it is more cumbersome to handle and you are more likely to pick up dirt, snow or hair from the floor or ground or from the horse's head or mane as you are slipping the blanket over his head. When you put on any blanket, the horse should be clean and dry and you shouldn't let the blanket touch the ground. I prefer blankets with buckle fronts for winter blankets.

 

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