Just as you want to be comfortable when you’re riding your horse outside the stables, your horse also needs the comfort of a saddle blanket. This performs innumerable functions:
- It provides comfort to both the rider and the horse.
- It keeps you stable atop the horse –beginner level riders need saddle blanket the most.
- It reduces the horse’s muscle fatigue and helps him to adapt to long rides across rough terrain.
- It also absorbs the sweat– and it also compensates for the horse’s body structure.
Earlier people used blankets and clothes to serve the purpose of saddle blankets, but with the manifold saddle pads available in the market, it’s better to use proper saddle pads. But there are a few guidelines to buying saddle pads for your horse…we take you step-by-step so that you can make an informed choice when you are making your purchase.
Know the different types of saddle pads/blankets to make the best buy!
Saddle blankets according to materials:
- Fleece: made either from sheep fleece or synthetic fleece, wool fleece saddles are more comfortable but lack the durability of synthetic fleece. If your horse sweats a lot, you might not want to buy woolen fleece because the compounds in horse sweat break down the fleece and make it compact and uncomfortable.
- Felt: has the ability to draw the sweat and absorb it. Plus the 3/4th – 1-inch wool pad acts as a shock absorber and it alleviates some of the pressure points that regular saddle pads might fail to soothe, especially in combination with the appropriate halter.
- Saddle blankets with Neoprene bottom: neoprene is a rubber-like material that is also waterproof. The waffle bottom soaks the sweat and allows the material to breathe so that even after long runs your horse’s body heat will cool down quickly. And the saddle is cushiony (see also this post on how to buy the right western trail saddle), plus it has a ‘sticky effect’ that allows it to stay in place, unlike some other saddles.
- Closed Cell foam: like neoprene, it is a new type of saddle in the market. It consists of molded foam encased in a nylon cover. It makes for an excellent distribution of weight so that your horse doesn’t feel tired or uncomfortable even on long rides Plus, it makes for a great shock absorber, and its advanced technology allows proper air circulation within the saddle. But it lacks in the ‘sticky effect’ of neoprene bottom saddles.
- Open Cell foam: these saddles are denser and come with a tight weave, which makes it less moisture absorbent. However, these saddles are comfortable, and anti-bacterial, though not as breathable as closed cell foam saddles.
- Gel inserted saddle pads: are the newest in saddles – they are infused with a gelatin that is solid but with some characteristics of a liquid. These are shock resistant and disburse impact well.
Saddle pads according to shape
Built up saddles: ideal for high-withered horses as it raises the saddle above the withers.
- Contour saddles: it reduces the pressure on the withers and is ideal for a horse with a swayed back.
- Cutout pads: for a horse with a high and prominent withers.
- Round saddles: for a round-backed horse.
- Swayback: perfect for a horse with a dip in its back.
Now that you know about saddle blankets and its many uses, as well the different types of saddles; make sure you give your horse the best. He is loyal to you…and you are responsible for his care.
What To Look For In A Turnout Blanket
You might be wondering what to look for in a turnout blanket when you’re training your horse?
The trick is to know the basics of a turnout blanket and make your purchase accordingly. We are here to help you do just that.
- The first thing to ensure is to get a blanket made of a waterproof material. You get an amazing variety of turnout blankets made from different materials – of them the traditional ripstop canvas blankets are very popular. The nylon varieties that have recently flooded the market are also quite popular.
- The blanket should not have a seam at the top through which the water from rain might soak into your horse’s skin – making him shiver instead of protecting him from the elements.
- Get a blanket that’s made of wool or synthetic material, and it can be either partial or full lining. This will protect the blanket from damage and also provide your horse extra protection, which is what you want. You can also buy a blanket lining separately.
- Turnout blankets also come with surcingles and a leg strap to keep the blanket in place even when your horse is galloping at full speed. The blanket must also be flexible in terms of the leg straps – they shouldn’t sit too tight or attached too far back, or too high…or your horse might have difficulty moving. And if your turnout blanket has central surcingles, make sure to put a pad underneath where it crosses the horse’s spine to reduce pressure and discomfort.
- Also, be sure to get a turnout blanket that is the correct size. Measure the length and girth from the middle of your horse’s chest, right down to his back. See also this page about horse stretching exercises.
What makes a turnout blanket from Hamilton so perfect?
- It is made from breathable material and comes with a ripstop outer shell that is packed with 400g insulation.
- Open front style blanket is easy to put on, even over multiple layers. Easily adjustable.
- 2 Buckle front closure and elastic adjustable leg straps with crisscross surcingles.
- Available in various sizes to fit most horses.
Plus, this turnout blanket has won applause from all corners and has gained an overall rating of 4.7 stars at Amazon.
Now you are in a better position to know what to look for in a turnout blanket. Plus, you have details on an expert product at your disposal. Make the best buy because your loyal horse deserves the best.