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Fun Times with Horse Blankets

Published: 12/15/2010
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By Sonia Theobalds

BLANKETS.  
    Yeh, so.  It's that time of year again.  Mud season in November AND December.  I had to check the calendar today 'cuz I thought it was April and that I had somehow seriously overslept.  I will find my lost boot in the spring, I feel sure of it.  It got sucked off my foot this afternoon and I was really ticked off at myself that I didn't waste time putting socks on this morning.
     
    So.  Now is the time when we start rummaging through the trunks and totes in the garage, barn, basement, and horse trailer for the "Horse Wardrobe."  Blankets.  Ya either love 'em or ya hate 'em.  Personally, I would like to live without them but every now and then a nice fleece wicks off the wet and, well, it makes us feel better even if the horses don't seem to get what all the fuss is about with me adjusting buckles and circling around and around them while they are trying to eat.
     
    Somehow, even though I don't like to use blankets, a collection has gathered here.  We have the fly sheets, the rain sheets, the lightweights, the medium weights and the heavyweights with the high necks.  (Those can take up to two people to put on and getting them off when they are laden with 4 inches of snow can be quite a feat when the snow all ends up in your bra).
     
    I'm not very diligent about laundering my blankets because A) the husband doesn't like the smell and the fur in the house, plus, the dryer getting dinged up from the buckles, and B) the laundromat people generally make distorted faces when they see (smell) we horse people grinning innocently at them as we drag a garbage bag or two of stinking steaming horse blankets into their place. I'm not very diligent about laundering my blankets because A) the husband doesn't like the smell and the fur in the house, plus, the dryer getting dinged up from the buckles (Tip:  attach old socks to the buckles with your old hair scrunchies and they'll never know) and B) the laundromat people generally make distorted faces when they see (smell) we horse people grinning innocently at them as we drag a garbage bag or two of stinking steaming horse blankets into their place of business.
     
    Last Spring when our crew was shedding and it was really wet I used the fleece blankets to help get the moisture off one night.  When I removed them, to my horror, I has holding three fleece blankets that looked like someone had sheared a yak and left the hide on the inside.  I brushed and picked off the worst of it and took the blankets to the dry cleaners, filled out the paperwork and slinked out the door backwards.  I wasn't trying to be irresponsible, I just couldn't get the darned things clean here.
     
     The next day the oh-so-polite cleaners called me to say the blankets were so furry they considered them a FIRE HAZARD  The next day the oh-so-polite cleaners called me to say the blankets were so furry they considered them a FIRE HAZARD (I'm totally serious, those were their exact words) and they couldn't risk drying them any more.  I thought they were like, the Star Wars of Cleaners because they have done amazing things for me before.  I felt terrible.  I drove into town to sheepishly retrieve them and apologize.  They exclaimed, "Oh, it's not your fault, we're not going to charge you!".  I couldn't believe it!  I had to take a shedding blade to them, (the blankets, not the Cleaners) but I got the hair off.  Eventually.
     
    I have friends who buy the really REALLY expensive, bomb-proof, super-duper durable blankets that you can hook to two tractors and pull on them and they won't rip.  One day a friend reported that she came home from the tack store with these astonishing products, unzipped the bags, buckled 'em on and turned the horses out.  The next morning she announced that she arrived at the paddock to find them each wearing a set of leg straps.
     
    We have a blanket ripper here (name withheld by request). If someone has a blanket on, this horse spies it and figures it needs to immediately be removed.  It's like a sport to him.  He can unbuckle, unzip, untie any form of clip and clasp. If someone has a blanket on, this horse spies it and figures it needs to be removed immediately.  It's like a sport to him.  He can unbuckle, unzip, untie any form of clip and clasp.  If he gets really "frisky" he just plays and plays until he takes the blanket off over his pasturemate's head.  One day I looked out the window and saw one of them plodding around wearing what appeared to be some bizarre form of a cape.  "He" can even rip his own outfit off which is one of the reasons I don't blanket any more than is absolutely necessary.  Leg straps just don't keep 'em warm and I'm fine with fuzzy ponies.
     
    Stay cozy this Winter!

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12/16/2010 Rosie
A season of hauling on and lugging off horse blankets would surely dampen the 'my little pony' dress up spirit of any girl. Chance is wondering what happened to the 2011 fashion scene here. You know what I'm talkin' 'bout Sonia....
12/16/2010 Carrie
Oh Sonia, you crack me up! I never thought of putting socks over the buckles. Thanks for the scoop. I also don't blanket unless absolutely necessary and it's more to make me feel better than them I think. I truely hate it when you take a blanket off and the static electricity zaps you both. Especially bad on a green horse! YIKES.

   
"In the language of the range, to say that somebody is "as smart as a cutting horse" is to say that he is smarter than a Philadelphia lawyer,smarter than a steel trap, smarter than a coyote, smarter than a Harvard graduate - all combined. There just can't be anything smarter than a smart cutting horse. He can do everything but talk Meskin - and he understands that." - Joe M. Evans, A Corral Full of Stories