Several people asked me to post on blanket fit, both the sizing issue and the fitting of the straps, so I took some photos of some of the blankets some of the other boarders and I use - I consider all the blankets shown to be properly sized and fitted. Dawn is in an older Rambo Wug heavyweight blanket (Horseware Ireland - their less expensive Rhino line of blankets isn't bad either, although I've found them somewhat less durable). I'm a big fan of the Rambos - they are extremely durable and well-made - but the downside of this is that they're also quite expensive. For some reason, although Dawn is 12, her blanket is now too tight in the chest and shoulders, so I've improvised an extra couple of inches at the front closure using clips that came off some old elastic leg straps - I save stuff like this for just this sort of need. When blankets go on sale, I'll see if I can get her a new one that is like Noble's and fits better. The things I don't like about this older Rambo are its very heavy weight, and the fit in the shoulders - Rambos use a very secure and easy to fasten two clips into one ring fastening at the front, but this design, plus the lack of shoulder gussets, means the fit can be somewhat constrictive in the shoulders. Here's Dawn in her purple glory, with my younger daughter (home for the holidays) - her real owner - in the first picture:
Dawn's blanket is at least 3 or 4 years old, and Noble just got the latest version of the same heavyweight blanket, also a Rambo Wug, but its design has been improved. There's better contouring in the withers and back, the weight has been greatly reduced without sacrificing warmth by using newer materials, there is a better velcro attachment at the chest, and the blanket hangs better due to the "leg arches" (as they call them) and the new three belly strap arrangement, which also provides more coverage on the underside. Here's Noble, also in purple:
Here is Noble demonstrating how I fasten the belly straps - tight enough to constrain the sides of the blanket but not so tight as to pull, but not so loose as to hang:
Here is Noble showing how I have fastened his tail strap (the Rambos don't have rear leg straps) - just tight enough to keep the sides from being blown up by the wind (Noble gets his tail strap very dirty, and if we get a day when he's not wearing this blanket I'll clean the tail strap so he doesn't get rubs from it):
Maisie wears another blanket I've had good experience with - this is a Brookside - the only one I've ever had but it was relatively inexpensive and it's been very durable - Lily wore it for several years first and she was outside 24/7. I'm not sure if the heavyweight turnout is still available - I used to like their relatively inexpensive rain sheets but I'm not sure they make them anymore. It fits Maisie well, and is appropriately contoured and with good shoulder gussets, although the coverage on the sides isn't as long as I'd like due to her size. The rings to attach the belly straps are convenient, although I've found that they tend to catch on things like eye hooks on doorframes and gate latches - I've had to have several broken rings repaired. Here's Maisie in silver and black (note the tiny Charisma and Blackjack in the background of the second shot):
Here's how I fasten Maisie's belly straps - the same as Noble's but this blanket doesn't wrap around the way his does and has only two straps:
And here's how I fasten Maisie's rear leg straps - I go with one strap from the rear ring to the side ring on the same side, and then do the same with the other strap but run it through the first strap on the way (I find this arrangement works better to prevent leg rubs than just doing an "x" with the leg straps crossing from one side to the other):
Several of the boarders have Weatherbeeta Orican heavy blankets, and I'd have to say that the experience with those has been mixed. A particular weakness seems to be the hardware - the snaps are small and tend to break or get stuck in the open or closed position. And the fabrics don't seem as durable as I'd like. They also introduced this odd double withers pad arrangement, I suppose to keep the blanket in place, but they do seem to slide around more than some other brands even with that. I also am not fond of how they fit in the neck, even with the high neck version. I do use Weatherbeeta rain sheets, and have been relatively satisfied with those, and have found them a decent value.
And here's Fred in his Rider's brand turnout from Dover - this is a durable blanket that is a good value, but it doesn't have much in the way of contouring, although it has excellent shoulder gussets (their rain sheets are also a good value):
Fritz insisted on getting in on the act, and here he shows us the front closure on the Dover blanket, which he also wears:
My daughter has a Baker turnout blanket for her mare Miranda, and is pretty satisfied with it - the fit is good, although it could have more depth in the sides, and it may not be as durable as she would like - there's one tear already despite it being 1,200 denier (of course this can happen to any blanket, and does) and the front straps are showing signs of wear.
That's it for blankets in review, and have a great day, and may it include horses!