Homemade Winter Horse Blanket
Dogs have Masters, Cats have Staff but Horses…, Horses have Slaves!
With two more horses added to my small herd, 24 year old Bonanza and 26 year old Shaman, and no traditional stable, I needed more winter horse blankets. I have blankets for Dream, Willow and Frilly but after so many years of use, they were worn and torn and had been repaired so many times that the repairs wore out and had been repaired.
I searched the web to find the cost of the type of blanket I wanted. I wanted something that was heavily layered for warmth, soft so that there would be no rubbings if I had to leave them on several days and light weight because I had to carry, wash and dry them.
The cheapest winter horse blankets that I considered a possibility was $250 US. But of course I wanted the S475 blankets. No way – no how could I pay that kind of money for blankets that were going on horses who ripped through forest branches like they were on a race track.
So I decided I’d wait and buy synthetic duvets when they came on sale in January. We always have good winter sales in January. Harts, a discount store, had queen-sized comforters for sale for $16.69CDN last week, so I bought five of them. Here is the start to my homemade winter horse blankets.
First, I put the blanket up on Shaman, he was the first available horse around, to take measurements. I strapped it down with macramed reins I have laying about. I put dots with a marker at strategic places to say where I needed straps, ties and buckles. Also, I wanted to know where I had to cut out the area for the neck and raise the area for the tail. I may do the tail section, but it won’t be needed. I’m not going to cut out the neck section because I found that I could roll back the neck into a decent looking shawl collar and it could be rolled up the neck for warmth, if necessary. Notice that they are large enough to close completely under the belly but still leave room for the males to relieve themselves.
I made a drawing to see where I would have to put the straps, hooks, rings and anything to make the blanket more durable. I also calculated ow many feet of strapping I would need for each blanket.
Then I got out all the different pieces of hardware I had to determine if I had enough to complete the blankets and what other things I would need to buy.
One winter horse blanket:
1 queen-sized synthetic duvet
12 – stainless steel rings, at least 1 1/2 inches in diameter
4 small hooks (it is possible to made due with 2 hooks of two solid brass buckles for the front)
48 feet of strapping (52 feet for Gimme A Dream) divided as follows:
2 – 8 foot straps (10 feet for Dream), around the barrel
2 – 2 foot straps, joining barrel straps one for each side
4 – 4 foot straps, for the front (these I a making long for tying because finding good solid buckles has always been difficult for me and I have none available nor are there any on the islands).
2 – 6 foot straps, for under the tail
What I have are the duvets, hooks of multiple sizes and the ability to buy more, rings of various sizes made of brass, stainless steel and galvanized, seat belts from cars (I went to the dump and asked for the seat belts off the vehicles they were going to crush for scrap metal), and miles and miles of baling twine.
Now I get to put it all together, before the next winter storm, which isn’t in the forecast yet. What I haven’t added here and there is a good possibility of my doing so are cross over straps between the hind legs to keep the blanket straight on the back of the horse. That will add 4 more hooks and 4 more rings plus waist band elastic long enough to keep it in place but yet still be comfortable. Also I might have to add heavier material in strategic places for make the blanket more durable.
I have already bought enough material that is normally used for heavy duty rain jackets and made it into a water proof nylon outer shell for the winter blankets. These are chocolate brown with a dark sand layer on the bottom and dark sand colored binding.
When I finish the first blanket I will put up the finished product.