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We Are Flying Solo

December 14, 2013

This Is How We Roll: Turnout Blankets, Part Deux (Or Trois? Quatre?)

In case you need someone to state the obvious, it's winter.  Cold, wet, dark winter.  Unless you live in Florida.  Or the US SW.  Or the southern hemisphere.  Or...well, I don't care, it's winter here!

This leads to cold, wet ponies and our need to muddle through the excessive array of horse clothes and, with little empirical data, figure out if there is any reason we actually need to spend $400 on a freaking sheet of nylon that will be rubbed into a pile of horseshit, urine, and wet clay.

I've talked about turnouts a time or two in the past:  (1) The original November 2011 review of the Weatherbeeta Landa midweight turnout, the Rider's International rain sheet, and the beautiful ears-to-tail midweight rug from  (2)  My stupid self-jinx wherein one month later Solo destroys his own blanket after 5 years of faithful service.  (3)  The April 2013 review of SmartPak's 10-year Ballistic Nylon sheet, wherein they actually do honour that guarantee! 

Lessons learned:  A 600D turnout is just fine if your horse is (a) by himself, (b) top dog, or (c) in a generally placid group that don't bite each other and don't seek out pointy things.

Also, if you DO need to fix some things, I just handsew the tears, then seal with this waterproof seam glue and, if needed or in too much of a hurry to sew, slap on a Stormshield patch.  Yes, they work!  Thank you, SSTack!

So what's on the runway this winter?  Well, things are a little simpler now that the boys are separated, thanks to Solo's decision to use Encore as his personal chew toy and getting a little bit carried away (I can't tighten a girth over raw, chewed-up skin, that's just not very nice).

Rainsheets:  Encore is shedding the wet in his second SmartPak "indestructible" sheet.  Sooo, they are not quite indestructible, and this one has a very small hole now, but the important part is that they ARE pretty tough and, even more important, SmartPak DOES back up their product.

Not Solo.  His is purple.  With green trim.  Oh yeah.
Solo is still wearing his McAlister 600D sheet.  They both had these at the beginning of last winter, I believe I got them on sale at Horseloverz, but Solo, naturally, ate Encore's.  His own is still 95% intact; the only flaw is that his big QH chest combined with cheap metal on the chest clips equaled the top clip separating from its base on the upper chest strap.  I just flipped it around so the clip goes through both the metal loop and the hole in the chest strap.  It works the same, and all the rest of the hardware is fine, so I reckon it's doing well and it still keeps the wind off and he is dry.  Not sure that brand even exists anymore, looks like Horze has moved into that price point.  

Insulated blankets:  In the aftermath of Solo's nylon-ivorous (?) rampage, I found a couple of 1200D Centaur blankets on steep sale and decided to try a new brand.  Given their low price, I've been pleasantly surprised!!

Obviously not Solo. Duh. But that plaid!
Solo has the mid-weight; nice nylon lining, evenly-distributed insulation, totally waterproof and breathable, nice, durable leg strap snaps.  The only thing missing is chest snaps, but it does have velcro and buckling straps won't kill me, I don't have to blanket 10 horses.  Naturally, in a sale, you don't really get to pick colours, so he rocks the blue and brown plaid (at least it's nicer in person).

Since Encore has been in work, usually has a higher clip, and burns calories when he blinks, he got the heavy-weight, high neck version.  I like it just as much as Solo's.  The only colour option was black (you get even fewer choices at 81"), so he looks a bit ninja, but he really seems grateful when I put it on and it has helped a lot in my constant efforts to hold his weight.  The high neck even gives His Wussiness an extra draft collar.

Encore's high neck version.  On not-Encore.
Both the Centaurs have a nice, weighty, well-made feel for them, neither have rubbed, shifted, broken, or torn and they've kept my boys protected on these 25 degree, breezy nights this week.  They don't get too sweaty if the sun comes out during the day (I can't always be there to pull blankets), so I don't have to worry about gross overheating thanks to good breathability.

I did pick up one extra in case Encore's Centaur didn't make it, as Solo did manage to rip it once before they were separated; during one of SmartPak's clearance events (I always blanket shop in June/July).  I got one of their super nice insulated blankets for something ridiculous like $60, but I'm saving it for backup, so it's nice and clean in storage.  I also still have his older (multi-repaired, but still functional) EquestrianClearance mega-warm blankie just in case too.  Hey, spares are important!

Fingers crossed, but so far, things are looking warm and uneventful in the horse clothes category this winter!


  1. Hey, we Floridians sheet/blanket on occasion, too! Last year we had lots of nights in the low 40s, and a few in the 30s. And a few years ago, we had such a long cold snap that all the lizards were in suspended animation/comas!
    I have the Weatherbeeta Landa turnout sheet in navy/silver, and a Schneider's fleece blanket liner that I only bust out on super cold nights. Our guys do not have thick coats and aren't used to the cold, so we do baby them a bit. And since I'm paying $22 per bale of two-wire orchard, I prefer for Salem to keep himself warm in a sheet instead of by eating a ton of extra hay!

  2. I have the centaur fleece in blue/brown plaid and I love it. I also grabbed a smartpak blanket in their summer sale and it's fits Cuna great and isn't rubbing his princess skin.

    That said, none of my horses have ever been able to wear weatherbeetas. Rub central! C-rage took my latest weatherbeeta and now has some serious gangster rubs going on.

  3. I miss my Landa, that was Solo's colour too! Don't you have tiny ones to protect the lizards????!

    SB, great minds think alike! I think the Weatherbeetas aren't cut as well for narrower horses (my made-up theory, but anecdotal data supports it) and they get tight across the shoulders. C-rage needs a horse bra, my old BO put one on her horses, they are hilarious!