How to Measure Your Horse for a Blanket (Guide)

a horse wearing a red blanket

Knowing how to measure for a horse blanket can mean the difference between a comfortable horse and a miserable one.

Just like clothes for people, horse blankets come in standard sizes.

However, just like clothes, different makes can have various fits.

Check out our guide to proper measuring so you can get the right fit every time.

CHECK: Best Horse Fly Sheet

What You Need For Measuring

A correctly fitted blanket covers the horse’s body just right and ensures it is as comfortable as possible.

Before you buy the best horse blankets for your horse, you will need to measure to find the correct size for the best fit.

To measure for a horse blanket is simple and will only take a few minutes. But you will need a couple of things to do it right.

The first thing you need is one helper. Doing it on your own is very difficult and will only frustrate you.

Secondly, you will need something to do the actual measuring. The best option is a cloth tape measure.

If you don’t have this, then use a long piece of string.

Finally, you will need to something to note down the measurement so you don’t forget the size of blanket you need.

How To Measure For a Horse Blanket

Start with standing the horse you want to measure on a flat hard surface. Do your best to stand the horse up square.

Ask your helper to stand at the front of the horse, near the shoulder. Have them place one end of the soft measuring tape or string in the center of the chest.

Next, wrap the flexible measuring tape or string around the shoulder, making sure to go over the widest part, which is the point of the shoulder.

Keeping the tape taut against the side of the horse, extend the string or tape along the side of the horse, around the edge of the haunches to the edge of the tail.

Finally, take note of the measurement. Horse blankets are sized in one-inch intervals, going up in each size by two inches.

For example, if you measure 73 or 73.5 inches, always round up. In this case, to 74-inches.

So, you would want to purchase a 74-inch blanket.

If you use string, with the assistance of your helper, lay the string against a retractable measuring tape to get your inches.

To see the process of measuring a horse blanket visually, take a look at the video below, which is very easy to follow.

How To Fit Your Horse Blanket

brown horse wearing a horse blanket

Once you’ve received your new horse blanket, you will need to try it on and fit it correctly.

If it is the first time your horse wears a blanket, take extra care when doing this.

If this is the case it is a good idea to enlist a second person to hold the horse.

#1 Gently place the blanket over the horse

Do up the front buckles, and if they are adjustable, find the hole that gives the best fit.

These buckles should be snug to prevent the blanket from slipping back but loose enough to ensure the horse can move comfortably.

To test the fit, slide your arm inside the neck area. It should fit in this space comfortably.

#2 Take a look at the area around the withers

Again, see if your hand fits under the blanket here without feeling tight, as this will create too much pressure on the withers.

Once you’ve done this, pull the blanket back so it is fully extended on the horse.

FYI, you can also make a template of your horse’s withers using this video below.

#3 Check The Tail

The back of the blanket needs to reach the top of the tail.

If it has a tail flap, and the seam between this and the main blanket stretches beyond the top of the tail, your blanket is possibly too large.

However, complete fitting the blanket, as sometimes this extra length will not affect a comfortable fit.

If the blanket has a tail cord, pull the tail through this so the chord sits underneath the tail.

#4 Fit the Cross Surcingles

The next parts you need to fit are the cross surcingles.

Start by connecting the front surcingle to the rear buckle, pulling the surcingle underneath the horse. Then do up the rear surcingle to the front buckle.

Take a look at where the surcingles sit on the horse. The cross of the surcingles should fall at the center of the horse’s belly, and not sit too close to the stifle.

#5 Adjust tightness 

Once you are happy with the placement of the surcingles, adjust their tightness.

For safety and comfort, your hand should fit between the surcingle and the horse’s belly.

However, make sure there isn’t lots of space here. You want them snug but not tight.

#6 Fit the ReaR Leg Straps (if applicable)

Some horse blankets have rear leg straps. They are the last feature you will fit.

If you have a horse that is not used to blankets, it is a good idea to take these off for a little while.

First, take the left leg strap and pull it between the hind legs and bring it up to the metal loop attachment.

However, before attaching it, check the fit. You want to see a gap of four to five inches, a hand’s width between the strap and the horse’s inner thigh.

When you are satisfied with any adjustments, clip this strap to the left metal loop.

Now go to the other side of the horse and do the same pre-attachment adjustments, bringing the right leg strap between the legs to the right metal loop.

When you are happy, pull the right leg strap up through the left strap and attach it to the right metal loop.

Attaching the leg straps in this way helps keep the blanket stable. This will prevent too much slipping when the horse moves, rolls, or lies down.

To see this fitting method Weatherbeeta has produced this simple video.

Horse Blanket Weight Guide

two brown horses wearing horse blanket

Horse blankets come in different weights. These weights correspond to the warmth the blanket gives.

The higher the weight, the warmer the blanket. A sheet is the lightest blanket.

It has no insulation filling and is good as a rain sheet to keep your horse dry in warm weather.

Here’s a quick guide in order of lightest to heaviest:

  • A stable sheet is not waterproof but will take away the chill on a cool summer evening and provide protection from dust.
  • A lightweight blanket is the next level of warmth. This blanket has 50 to 180 grams of filling.
  • A mediumweight blanket has 200 to 280 grams of insulation.
  • A heavyweight blanket has 300 to 400 grams of insulation.
  • And finally, you might come across extra heavyweight blankets, which have over 400 grams of filling.

Stable blankets and turnout blankets follow the same weight guidelines.

In addition to insulation, look for blankets with a should gusset, as this is more comfortable for the horse.

Horse Blanketing Temperature Guide

group of horses wearing a blanket

While every horse is an individual and you need to blanket according to what is best for them, there are some general guidelines for blanket weights and air temperature.

Getting this right is a bit of an art.

Most horses will not need a blanket in temperatures above 50 F unless it is clipped.

A clipped horse will need a sheet or lightweight blanket in the 50 to 60 F degree temperature range.

At 40 to 50 F, a sheet or lightweight blanket will suit most horses.

Move up to your mediumweight blankets when temperatures fall between 30 to 40 F, though some horses will appreciate a heavyweight when temperatures fall closer to 30 F in winter.

Once temperatures hit 30 F max and go as low as 20 F, the best way to keep your horse warm is to layer blankets.

You can try many different layering options to find the right combo for the temperature and your horse staying warm.

You can add a sheet under a heavyweight, or combine a heavyweight and medium up. Like we said, blanketing is a bit of an art!

Get to know your horse and experiment to find the best option.

Always add more warmth to a clipped horse than the general guidelines say with a heavier blanket.

Don’t forget to check our list of best warm horse blankets!

How do you measure for a mini horse blanket?

Start at the center of your horse’s chest, then measure down the sides and back to the tail. Make sure you’re measuring the widest part of your horse to ensure the right fit. Use those measurements to check against manufacturing size guides. That’s all there is to it!

Conclusion

We hope you found this horse blanket fit guide helpful. If you’re looking for some good blanket brands, take a look at our best horse blankets review.

References:

  • “Horse Blanketing 101 – Schneider’s Learning Center.” n.d. www.sstack.com. Accessed May 10, 2021. https://www.sstack.com/schneiders-learning-center-blanketing-101/a/info-0029/.
  • “How to Decide What Blanket to Use and When to Use It!” n.d. Pro Equine Grooms. Accessed May 10, 2021. https://www.proequinegrooms.com/tips/equipment-and-tack/how-to-decide-what-blanket-to-use-and-when-to-use-it.
  • “How to Fit Your Horse Blanket.” n.d. www.weatherbeeta.com. Accessed May 10, 2021. https://www.weatherbeeta.com/how-to-fit-your-horse-blanket#:~:text=It%20is%20essential%20that%20a.
how to measure for a horse blanket article

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Siun L
Siun L

Siun is an all-around animal lover, with a passion for horses. She grew up in the United States, competing in the hunters, equitation, and jumpers. Now living in Ireland, she competes with her own showjumping horses. She is experienced in the care and training of horses, as well as teaching riding lessons. She loves to combine her love for horses with her work. When not working, Siun will be found at the stables, rain or shine.
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