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Horse Blanket Hazards
 By Winniefield Park   •   11th Nov 2017   •   981 views   •   1 comments
Most of us try our hardest to look after our horses well. That can include putting some sort of blanket on them to protect them from the elements. Unfortunately our best efforts can occasionally backfire, and the very thing that should protect our horses can cause harm. Itís essential that you check your horse frequently if itís wearing a blanket, and make sure your horse is wearing the right blanket, in good condition.



Rips and Tears
A small rip isnít likely to cause a problem, other than letting the rain leak through. But, if you donít check your horse frequently, small tears can turn into big ones. A horse can easily be tangled in a ripped blanket. Fix or replace blankets with damage as quickly as possible.

Leg Straps
Some blankets will stay on your horse without leg straps, but many will not. Properly adjusted leg straps can prevent a blanket from shifting and keep a horse from becoming tangled in it. The leg straps should be loose enough for the horse to walk comfortably, but not dangling too low.

Overheating
If youíve put a blanket or rug on your horse to keep it warm itís important to remove it once the weather turns warmer. A horse can easily become overheated under a warm blanket. This can lead to itchy skin and discomfort.

Poor Fit
Poor fit can cause damage that isnít immediately apparent. Sometimes horses will develop open sores where a poorly fitting blanket rubs. Others will get pressure points and even nerve damage if a blanket binds in one spot for a long time. If your horse develops a white patch of hair over its withers on anywhere else on its body, the blanket can be the culprit. Blankets that are too big can be easier for a horse to get tangled in, especially if the blanket straps are too long.

Other Horses
Sometimes the problem isnít the blanket until other horses decide it looks like itís fun to play with. A horse can rip a blanket with its teeth, causing rips and holes. Then you have a blanket that is a hazard to not only the horses wearing it, but its pasture mates too.

Using the Wrong Blanket
Using a rain sheet in cold weather might prevent your horse from using its natural defence to keep warm. A sheet can hold down the natural loft of your horseís winter coat, and make it colder. A stable sheet isnít sturdy enough and doesnít have the right configuration of straps to be safe enough outdoors. A winter blanket or non-breathable rainsheet isnít healthy in hot weather. A fly sheet might keep a horse wet if it rains in cooler weather. Keeping a blanket on a horse means you have to have the right one for the conditions.

Buckles and Hooks
Buckles and hooks need to be replaced if they become broken. Sometimes hooks wonít stay done up, leaving a leg strap dangling between the horseís legs. Wrapping a small elastic around the base of the hook can help keep these hooks in place. If you use bale or hay nets be aware that horses can get hooked in the mesh.

Cleaning Products
If you clean your blankets yourself, use products that wonít end up irritating your horseís skin. Some are more sensitive than others, and normal laundry detergent may cause them to break out. Either use a mild soap that wonít cause irritation, or rinse them out very well. Be cautious with products meant to waterproof, prevent sun damage or other treatments, as they too could irritate your horse.
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Valkyrie  MOD 
I agree with the rain sheet paragraph! I stopped rugging my miniature horse because the weather is so warm now that if she gets wet it doesn't really bother her (she still has some of her winter coat). But I have a waterproof sheet on my riding mare that is breathable for if the temperature heats up a bit.

Also, rugging a horse intermittently during autumn/early winter then leaving rugs off during cold weather can really affect a horse because they don't grow the coat they need. We always keep the rugs on any horses that get retired during autumn or winter and don't remove them until late spring.
  Nov 11, 2017  •  996 views
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