Don’t wait until freezing temperatures arrive to find out your horses’ winter blankets are worn out or no longer fit. Now’s the time to pull them from storage and take a close look at what may need to be repaired or replaced. Put each blanket on the horse who will be wearing it this season and consider the following questions:
Are there any tears or holes in the blanket itself?
Small, round holes (smaller than a quarter) are often self-limiting, but tears are more worrisome—even small ones can become big problems if they catch on fencing or another horse decides to chew on the fabric. Duct tape will
work in a pinch for very small tears, but a better option is heavy-duty stitches or patches.
Read More: Solve Blanket Problems
Does it still fit?
Slide your hand between the horse and blanket at the front of the chest and
over the withers to ensure it’s not pressing down or pinching. If it doesn’t fit and can’t be
adjusted, it’s time to go shopping.
Do the fasteners still work?
Test all the buckles—chest, belly, and hind leg—to ensure they still
work. Many manufacturers offer replacement parts you can put on yourself or take to a blanket
Are the straps in good shape?
Frayed and torn straps may seem usable now but also may
choose the coldest, snowiest day of the year to finally break. Check the adjustment holes on
buckle straps to make sure none are drastically stretched or torn through, which will affect the
blanket’s fit. Again, inquire about replacement parts if necessary and track down a blanket
Read More: Horse Blanket Repair Tips
Is it filthy?
Besides harboring insects and germs, a dirty blanket can become so stiff it rubs a
horse raw. A filthy blanket, fortunately, is an easy fix. Wash it by hand with a scrub brush, mild
detergent, and hose. Or find a laundromat that allows washing horse blankets and run it
through a cycle or two. Then hang the blanket over a fence to dry in the sun.
Is it still waterproof?
Age and wear can transform a blanket from repellent to absorbent. Use a
misty spray from a water hose to see whether your old blankets are still waterproof.