During the winter months in many areas, temperatures can dip quite low. For certain horse breeds that don't grow a heavy coat, a blanket is needed to keep them warm. You can buy blankets online or at your local tack store, but they can be quite expensive. Making your horse a blanket at home is a less-expensive alternative.
The Horse's Needs
The first step in making the blanket is deciding on the level of protection your horse requires. Horses with thin coats, who have been clipped for shows or live primarily outside, will require heavier-duty materials. Horses living in milder climates often need only a light blanket to keep their coat from growing out. Layering blankets is a good approach, as it allows for many forms of protection from the elements.
For horses living outside, a waterproof heavy-knit nylon blanket will protect them from rain or snow seeping through. A heavy liner can be added, or a separate heavy blanket can be used underneath. Having two blankets provides more options; when the weather is warmer but still raining, for instance, a light waterproof blanket is the choice. For extreme weather, a liner for added warmth under the other two blankets can be a good option.
You can purchase horse-blanked patters, but you can also custom fit your horse's blanket. Take measurements starting at the center of the horse's chest to the middle of his hamstring; add two inches and this is the necessary length. Next, measure from his spine to just below his belly, this will tell you how wide to make the blanket. Depending on how narrow or wide your horse is, you will have to adjust the dart on the hips and shoulders. Making a pattern and trying it on your horse is recommended for best fit in the finished blanket.
You will need a heavy-duty sewing machine and heavy-duty nylon thread to sew the blanket. Using lower-tensile-strength material will result in a blanket that probably won't last the season. Next, decide on the outer shell material. Again, heavy-duty nylon is recommended as horses can be hard on their clothes. For the lining, you can choose from wool, down, fleece and cotton depending on your horse's insulation needs. There are many types of closures and buckles available, so look at a few commercial varieties to get an idea what will work best for your horse.
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