You’ve bought a good quality horse blanket and dressed it in it.
But winter is over. Without following this protocol, you could startle or hurt your mare or stallion.
You certainly do not want that.
That is precisely the purpose of this guide. I will help you with steps to help you precisely remove a horse blanket.
7 Steps To Removing A Horse’s Blanket
Step 1: Know When to Remove the Horse Blanket
Most horses won’t need a blanket if the temperature rises over 40 to 50F. If your horse is mainly inside the barn, you can use a lighter horse stable sheet to cover it.
However, if your horse has a natural winter coat, a blanket would only make it sweat. Touch your horse under the blanket, and if its skin appears sweaty and wet, it is time to take it off.
Step 2: Follow Safety Instructions
You must tie your horse to a hitching post or a ring in the wall. Horses tend to startle easily when you take their blanket off.
You don’t want your horse to run off and endanger your and other people’s safety. Tying your horse up can prevent it from running.
Here is an informative video tutorial on how to tie up a horse safely.
Step 3: Ensure Your Horse is Relaxed
When I began working with horses, I learned how to read a horse’s body language. 
Never approach a dozing horse to take off its blanket, as that could startle it. Always make sure that it is relaxed and aware of your presence. Gently pat your horse to make it feel more comfortable.
Signs of a relaxed horse include:
- One hind leg relaxed and resting
- Relaxed nostrils
- Ears perked up
- Comfortable muzzle with a closed mouth.
Step 4: Unbuckle the Blanket from Back to Front
Most horse blankets have multiple buckles, straps, and surcingles. Start by unbuckling the blanket’s belts and buckles behind the horse’s legs. If there is a tail flap, gently remove it too.
Going from back to front is essential because it will better prepare your horse, make it aware of what you’re doing, and help it understand that you mean no harm.
Moreover, you would still have the blanket’s chest or front buckles fastened so that they would continue holding the blanket up in the event it runs.
Remember: you’d rather have a fastened blanket than one tangled around its legs.
Step 5: Unbuckle the Belly Straps
Most horse blankets come with cross surcingles under the belly. Undo these and start folding the backside of the blanket gently.
Ensure that all straps are undone, and none are pulling your horse’s tail or digging into its skin.
Step 6: Time to Unbuckle Upfront
Once you have folded the blanket more than halfway up to the front, it is time to unbuckle the chest fasteners slowly.
Always lift the blanket rather than ‘dragging or pulling it against the horse’s skin.’ This can cause static electricity build-up, which can startle your horse.
Therefore, it is better to lift the horse blanket in the direction of the hair growth.
Step 7: Remove the Front Closures
Most horse blankets have an open design which means you need not pull it over the horse’s head – they can be easily removed from one side once you open the chest fasteners.
However, closed-front horse blankets need to be pulled over the horse’s head. In this case, you may have to untie your horse from its hitching post or wall ring.
When you do so, make sure to hold on to its lead rope firmly. Gently remove the blanket over the horse’s head, ensuring it does not brush against its face or eyes.
Slide the blanket over one of your arms, then tie the horse to the wall ring or hitching post.
Here is a video showing how to safely take off a closed front horse blanket from your horse.
Now that you have safely removed your horse blanket, it is important to know how to properly store it. This enables you to neatly store your horse blanket to save space and avoid damaging it.
CHECK: Name Tags for Horse Blankets
How to Fold a Horse Blanket?
Always fold your horse blanket neatly before storing it. If you hang out the unfolded blanket in the tack room, not only is it unsightly to look at but also a surefire invitation to mice and rodents.
Besides, the blanket’s straps could hang down, causing someone to trip. The straps could also break, rendering the blanket useless.
Here are the steps to fold the blanket:
- Fold the blanket lengthwise along the spine.
- Next, fold the blanket widthwise under the girth area.
- Fold again, lengthwise.
- And one last fold widthwise.
- Make sure to tuck the straps of the blanket in between the folds before storing.
Here is a video tutorial that will help you understand the process better.
How to Store a Horse Blanket?
Once  dry, you can fold it as described in the section above. You can choose to hang the blanket in your tack room or place it in a vacuum bag to save storage.
How Long Do Horse Blankets Last?
High-quality horse blankets can last 10-12 winters as long as you maintain them well.
You must follow the proper steps to take off your horse blanket. By doing so, you can keep your horse relaxed and calm and also you and other people around you safe.
Consider  using other resources on this site regarding blanketing a horse if you’re still confused.
- 1. Understand Your Horse’s Body Language | RSPCA [Internet]. www.rspca.org.uk. [cited 2022 Jan 7]. Available from: https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/horses/behaviour/bodylanguage#:~:text=The%20horse%20is%20standing%20with%20a%20relaxed%2C%20long%20and%20low
- 2. Meszoly J. Your blanketing questions answered [Internet]. The Horse Owner’s Resource. [cited 2022 Jan 7]. Available from: https://equusmagazine.com/horse-care/horse-blanketing-questions-and-answers-8197
- 3. Horse Blanketing: A Complete Guide [Internet]. www.ridingwarehouse.com. [cited 2022 Jan 7]. Available from: https://www.ridingwarehouse.com/lc/training/horse_blankets_guide/how_to_choose_the_best_horse_blanket.html
If you have more tips on how to take off a horse blanket, let us know in the comments below!
Bryanna is a 23-year-old Florida-based Grade 1 Para-dressage rider based in Florida and she has been riding for 5 years. Horses are her passion and her ultimate goal is to be selected for the US Para-Equestrian Team and represent the US at the Paralympics. She rides at Quantum Leap Farm and Emerald M Therapeutic Riding Center and her equine partners are Shane, an American Paint Horse, and Cappy a Welsh x Thoroughbred. When she is not helping at the barn, riding, or training, she is learning about horses, writing articles about them, and using her social media platforms to raise awareness for therapeutic riding and para-equestrianism, shares her journey, and advocates for greater inclusion of para-equestrian in the media and equestrian sport at large.
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