Not all blankets fit all horses.
The evolution of the shapes of the blankets, which are more or less high on the neck depending on the model, makes the size of your horse's back irrelevant in the choice of your blanket.
In order not to make a mistake when buying a blanket, you must know the total length of your horse, from the chest to the back of the hindquarters.
This measurement does not vary according to the type of blanket.
From the "American" cut rugs to the "Tyrex" High Neck paddock rugs, there is a 50 cm difference in back length when comparing two rugs of the same total size 6'3″/190 cm.
The first covers 127 cm of the back, the second 190 cm (from the inter-ars to the point of the buttock) and covers not only the back but also the withers and the beginning of the neck.
Neither of them are the theoretical 145 cm of the old models. The back sizes 135 145 155 cm that we all used for a long time (because the general shape of the blankets had not evolved) can no longer be used.
Today, only the middle chest/back dimension has not changed, it is the only reliable basis.
Reliable system for measuring my horse
It is quite easy to choose the right size of rug for your horse. Most of the time it is enough to know the height at the withers of your horse with sufficient accuracy. If you don't have a measuring tape, a board or a stick of sufficient size, marked with a pencil line at the height of the horse's withers will give you a sufficient measurement, without approval !
Using a tape measure directly is not obvious, the horse starts to move like hell ! So you have the height of your horse at the withers. This gives you a blanket size, which experience shows is very unlikely to be wrong.
My horse's shirt and blanket size guide
|Height at withers of my horse||English Dimension||Theoretical back length||Total length of the cover|
|0.80 cm to 1.00 m||4'3||95 cm||130 cm|
|1.00 m to 1.10 m||4'9||105 cm||145 cm|
|1.10 m to 1.20 m||5'0||110 cm||153 cm|
|1.20 m to 1.30 m||5'3||115 cm||160 cm|
|1.30 m to 1.50 m||5'9||125 cm||175 cm|
|1.50 m to 1.60 m||6'0||135 cm||183 cm|
|1.60 m to 1.65 m||6'3||145 cm||190 cm|
|1.65 m to 1.70 m||6'6||150 cm||198 cm|
|1.70 m to 1.75 m||6'9||155 cm||206 cm|
|1.75 m to 1.80 m||7'0||160 cm||215 cm|
|> to 1.80 m||7'3||165 cm||221 cm|
Example : Your horse measures 1.55m at the withers. The right blanket size for him is a 6'0 blanket, 135/183 cm (length of his back).
What misleads many people is that :
1- They confuse height at the withers with back length
2- They don't understand the correspondence of back length in cm, which is the French practice, and the sizes in feet and inches which is the English practice.
3- They even confuse the total length with the length of the back.
Know that your saddler will not confuse the two, whatever the measurement you give him. To be on the safe side, tell him the height at the withers of your horse.
For those who want to know more :
The Anglo-Saxons take the total length of the horse as a reference. So for your horse of 1,55m at the withers, the measurement in "foot" is 6'0 or 182,88cm, which is its total length from the point of the sternum to the point of the buttock ! You can see that this system only confuses things.
Having said that, no one will be prevented, once the size of a given horse's blanket is determined with certainty, from stating his need in feet and inches. And to ask his saddler for a blanket "in 6'3" for a horse which measures 1,62m at the withers, and thus needs a blanket of 135cm of back length and 183cm of total length ! To set the record straight, the 6'3 size is by far the most common. This is the size that suits the classic club horse.
Caution to be taken : It is better to choose a blanket that is slightly larger (3 to 5cm) than too small. Most horses hate to be compressed, and what gets in the way they tear it up.
Another method to measure my horse
With patience, if your horse moves when measuring, it is possible to measure the total length (point of sternum to point of buttock) of your horse's future rug.
Use this method if you already have a blanket for your horse and you want the same size.
Here is a representative picture :
Beware of the old method of measuring back length
Today, blanket manufacturers tend to cover more and more of the horse's withers. They have many cuts that cover the horse's neck.
We advise you not to use this measurement system.
How do you adjust the blanket on your horse ?
Tip : if you try a new blanket on your horse and you are unsure of the size, take the following precautions : do not remove the labels and put a clean stable shirt or sheet on your horse's back so that the blanket you try on has no smell and no trace of hair, so that if the size does not fit you can return it. The blanket is placed on the back and pulled up to cover the withers, the chest bindings are attached first. The chest bindings are attached first, making sure the blanket does not slip back.
Then adjust the belly straps : the straps should cross under the belly and be tight enough to prevent the blanket from turning without being too tight (you should be able to put your fist between your horse's belly and the place where the straps cross).
In addition to the size, two other important pieces of information are listed on horse blanket descriptions : the weight and the number of deniers. Find out more about the 400g Kentucky stable blanket.
What is the grammage for a horse blanket ?
The grammage is the weight of the fabric per square meter (g/m²). It is what determines the thickness and the heating capacity.
Horse blanket temperature
What about denier in horse blankets ? What does this mean ?
It is the degree of resistance of the fabric linked to the quality of weaving, the average is around 600 deniers but there are blankets of 1000 or even 1200 deniers for less disciplined horses 500 deniers 1200 deniers.