Correct fit is key to blanket safety, comfort, and effective use

By Alexandra Beckstett, The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care

To calculate your horse’s blanket size, stand him square and place a measuring tape in the center of his chest, just below the spot where the neck joins the body, says Karen Waite, MS, PhD, Extension specialist, academic specialist, and coordinator of the undergraduate program in Michigan State University’s Department of Animal Sciences, in East Lansing.

Recruit a helper to pull the tape around the chest and the widest part of the shoulder and along the side of the horse’s body to the point of the buttocks, about 10 inches below the tailhead, she says. This length in inches will correlate to your horse’s blanket size. (Tip: Go to a fabric or hardware store and buy a long tape measure that will run the length of your horse, says Bob Coleman, MS, PhD, associate professor and equine Extension specialist in the University of Kentucky’s Department of Animal Sciences, in Lexington.)

“Blanket sizes are typically pretty standard, but there may be slight differences between brands,” notes Waite. “It would be wise to check with the manufacturer to see if they suggest anything different when measuring.” Sometimes online retailers have customer product reviews that can shed light on sizing (these sheets run big, this blanket fit my draft better than my light-breed horse, etc.).

When fitting a blanket, make sure any leg straps are secure, and condition your horse to wearing the blanket in his stall before turning him out with it, says Coleman. Don’t wait until he’s tearing around an icy paddock to find out that fasteners and flaps bother him! 

Reprinted with permission from The Horse: Your Guide to Equine Health Care/ Find more veterinarian-approved horse care information at

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