Blanketing and Unblanketing
(From Clare's article archives:
Clarity Dressage original YouTube Channel: Posted 1/9/2015)
Proper technique, Safety tips, blanket fit:
Featuring Clare and her beautiful model "Weltmeyer" aka Welty:
16.2hh, 14 year old, bay, Imported Hessen (German Warmblood) gelding.
(Wording from video):
We have already talked about the blanket that I like.
The information is on the website under "The Products that I recommend and Why."
First, I will show you how to put the blanket on:
When I throw the blanket on, I always want to position it more forward
on their shoulders, and then gradually shift it back.
You want to try not to pull blankets or saddle pads or anything
like that against the grain of the horse's hair.
It can make their backs sore.
I gather the blanket and throw it over their withers, and just leave it way up forward.
(If your horse wears a blanket, they are used to this, if not you obviously
have to 'bombproof' them and acclimate them to blankets.)
Then shift it back a bit to where it is eventually going to be.
Try not to pull it back, leave it a little bit forward.
Then, just reach around, and clip it on.
These blankets are really wonderful because they have these huge shoulder gussets that are in a really fantastic place, so the blankets never ever rub their shoulders.
The blanket should fit really nicely and be roomy around the front,
it should not feel tight or restrictive.
Always make sure the blanket is right in the middle of their back, and not hanging off to the side or off kilter, because then it is sure to shift while it is on the horse's back.
For the belly straps, if the belly straps are in an angle like this, it means that you cross them.
Reach under and grab a strap, and try to make sure they are not twisted, and then clip it on.
Then the other one, you clip on, and there it is.
They should be adjusted so there is enough room between the straps and their belly,
that it doesn't feel snug on their belly.
The reason why is because when a horse lays down, their belly expands/gets bigger, and you don't want the blanket to feel constrictive to them when they are laying down.
You also don't want to leave so much room that they can get a back leg through the straps.
(While you are back there, I always shift the blanket to make sure the center seam of the blanket is right in the middle, to ensure the blanket is not crooked.)
You don't want the leg straps to be super tight or super loose; find something in the middle.
Reach around, and click one of the leg straps onto its own leg.
The other leg strap, you reach through the first one, and then around to its own side.
So they go through each other.
The error some people make is they don't bring them through each other, or they bring them from one side to the other side, and that is not correct.
The reason why we don't do it that way is because it can rub the inside of the horse's leg.
Blanket should be roomy around the chest, fit nicely around the belly area,
and not too far back towards the tail.
The reason I don't want the blanket too long over/towards their rear is because it can make it hard for your horse to lift their tail to poo, and they end up getting poo on the edge of the blanket, which is kind of yucky.
When you put a blanket on, you should always do the chest straps first, then the belly and the back straps.
And that is extremely important.
The reason why is that if you do the belly and/or the back first,
and your horse gets away, you are going to have quite an ugly wreck.
So you always do the chest straps first, when you put the blanket on.
Now, the opposite is true when you take the blanket off:
When you take the blanket off, you always leave the chest straps till last!
Unclip everything else before the chest straps.
When you remove the blanket, unclip the leg straps,
you can just let them hang, then undo the belly straps.
Because now, if your horse happens to get away and run about,
at least the blanket is attached at the chest.
Then you unclip the chest straps.
Finally , before you pull it off, make sure you check one more time to make
sure all the straps are undone!
Otherwise, we might think all the straps are undone, and then when we go to pull it off, it is still attached to the horse, and that can create quite a wreck as well.
Make sure all the straps are undone, and then just slip the blanket off the back or the side.
And then, I always hang my blankets.
And that's about it.
READ MORE ABOUT BLANKETS UNDER
"PRODUCTS I RECOMMEND AND WHY"