Thursday, December 27, 2012

Blanket fitting issues

Christmas Eve 2012
By late afternoon the clouds were a heavy gray and the air damp and cold with the promise of snow. I got out of my car at the barn as the first few flakes began to fall. Tucking my hair inside my hat and wrapping my coat around me a little tighter I hurried into the barn. Turning on the lights eight horse heads popped up from their hay, and my two girls nickered to me. I closed the door against the wind and took in the comforting sound of hay being munched. With Christmas preparations complete I was able to relax and enjoy the time with Suki and Nikki. I set the radio to my favorite local classical station, WRTI and took my time grooming. Nikki sweetly leaned her head on me while I groomed her ears and head, occasionally checking my pockets for extra treats. Suki lowered her head willingly while I moisturized her ears and face. Feeding each of the horses one final treat I wished them a Merry Christmas and opened the barn door. Those few flakes had turned to a heavy swirling snow guaranteeing a white Christmas.

As I am writing this the wind is howling and snow is falling. The Christmas tree looks beautiful. My 6 year old son is sitting next to me by the fireplace. He is so excited about tomorrow. I can't help but think about the parents in Newtown, Connecticut, who instead of waiting for Santa with their 6 year olds had to lay them to rest. I pull Isaiah a little closer as my heart aches for those families.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Boxing Day. Christmas recovery day....More snow and wintery weather on the way in the afternoon, so I went to the barn in the early afternoon. The girls needed to have some blanket changes because of the decreasing temperatures. Suki galloped down the field as soon as she saw my car, and Nikki followed in the field next to her. The horses all seemed a bit wild, and Nikki's pasture mate was rearing and leaping! Suki was piaffing at the gate, so I grabbed her first. I put her in her stall then went back to get Nikki who was piaffing at HER gate! What is up with these girls?? I must confess, I do love that they piaffe at liberty!

As I groomed each of them I decided to leave them in for the rest of the day. It was beginning to snow again and as the pace of snow fall increased so did the wind. They had each other for company and I really did not want them to go out and start running. Suki was wearing a nice blanket liner under her Rambo, newly outfitted by Donna, my blanket lady with heavy surcingles and leg straps. Nikki was dressed in a slightly heavier blanket than she had been wearing. I knew J would be bringing the horses in within the next hour or so anyway.
It snowed hard for several hours then changed to heavy rain and high winds over night...

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Muddy fields and hugh winds meant the horses would be in for the day, in the best interest of the horses and the fields.

Wearing flannel-lined jeans, my heavy winter riding jacket and a hat I prepared for the wicked wind and cold. Once inside the barn it was not so bad. Suki tried to push her way out of the stall, annoyed at being stuck inside. She seemed to be pretty comfortable under the liner and Rambo, although the liner had shifted slightly, while the Rambo remained DOES she do that? Suki's blankets shift constantly regardless of how well they fit. I was pleased with the performance of the liner, but I guess the true test will be when she gives it a good hardy roll outside. I know that she did lie down in her stall last night, given the amount of shavings clinging to her mane and tail! I performed an abbreviated groomong/spa treatment and gave candy canes to suck on. She returned the favor by grabbing my pony tail while I fastened the buckles on the front of her blanket!

Suki licking her lips to get ALL of the peppermint flavor!

Nikki, although reluctant to leave her pile of hay was her usual snuggly self. I wanted to try another blanket that I had discovered in a bin in my garage. It had just been returned, cleaned and repaired from the blanket lady. This blanket had been Jenny's and I thought it might fit Nikki better in the chest. Like her other blankets it is an 82, but the current ones (other than the Rambo) do not not fit that well in the chest, and sometimes even gap a little if I give the necessary amount of room by loosening the buckles. The canvas is a bit heavier and filling slightly more so I thought it would be the perfect intermediate blanket. I threw it over Nikki's back and buckled the the chest. PERFECT! The blanket completely covered her chest with plenty of room for movement. The length along her back was also good. Then I stepped back.....
MINI DRESS!!! Why would you make a size 82 blanket and not allow for the fact that this would be a large horse??? UGGH! It will work well under Nikki's Rambo or mid weight sheet as a second layer though. So after her grooming I put the other longer blanket back on.

As I made my last trip through the barn I went into each of the girls' stalls and gave them a last treat (having given each of the horses in the barn treats, also). Nikki rewarded me with a mouthful of water down the front of jacket (fresh out of the laundry. So I got in my car with a stiff, sticky pony tail compliments of Suki and a wet jacket compliments of Nikki. It's definitely a conspiracy!


  1. I feel your blanket fitting pain on large horses. I also have a large Hanoverian and the poor guy has NEVER had a properly fitting blanket because one does not exist (at least in my price range).

    The best blanket liner i have EVER owned was one by Schneiders. I believe it was this one but a closed front style . Of course it hardly covered his belly but the holes you put the leg straps through really kept it in place!

    1. It certainly is a struggle, isn't it? Thank you for the liner info! I have never ordered from Schneiders. I receive their catalogs and love the way the front closes on their blankets. Since I didn't know anyone had ever used the blankets I was hesitant. Have you used other blankets by them other than the liner?
      I think Amigo, which is the less pricey line by Horseware is supposed to have a more generous cut across the shoulders, but I have never tried it.

      What is it about not covering their bellies??? Obviously if we are ordering a blanket that size, our horses are large......I do like that about the Rambo, but I am still not convinced it fits them across the chest. I have the ones with three surcingles, and it does a good job of covering the belly.

      Maybe we should start a plus size blanket business... : )


    2. About 60% of my barn uses Schneider's blankets and they hold up very well, are reasonably priced, and tend to be really long on all the quarter horses. I tried one of their heavyweights a few years ago and I found the chest straps were to short. On the last hole there was a good gap that would certainly cause a chill so it went back. I do not recall if the length worked but seeing all the quarters with dresses past their knees leads me to believe it was fine.

      I have never tried an Amigo as I tend to prefer shoulder gussets and think Rambo's work best on TBs. Rambo does make a quarter horse blanket that I would think would be roomier in the shoulders and might work.

  2. That must have been one short 'plump' horse the 82 is made for! A pity that the horses must go through what we tall people do when hunting for jeans that fit.

    1. That's what is so funny! Jenny was 16.3 and not super broad, although a judge did once say "that's a lot of woman"!
      Maybe it shrunk like some T shirts do, just up, not anywhere else!

      I LOVE your analogy about tall people and jeans, although at 5'4" I have never experienced that issue myself!