Old Man Winter Says 'It's New Blanket Time!' -- Sizing And Fitting Your Horse’s New Blanket

With the change in the length of days and the onset of colder weather, many horse owners start looking for ways to keep their animals warm, dry, and clean during the months of rain and snow ahead. Even though nature provides our equine friends with an extra coat of coarse, furry hair for the winter season, stable blankets, turnout blankets, and all-weather-proof blankets provide horses with an extra layer of protection from the elements. When you are purchasing a blanket for your horse, there are several points to note about measuring and fitting a blanket to ensure a correct, comfortable fit.


Measuring Your Horse For a Blanket

The easiest way to measure your horse for any turnout blanket, anti-sweat sheet, stable blanket or summer sheet is to take a tape measure and run it from the middle of his chest straight along his sides to the middle of his tail. Depending on the size of your horse, you may have to stop half-way and reposition the tape, but just make a mark with your wet thumb on his coat where the measuring tape ends, and continue around to the tail from that mark.

That measurement gives you the size of blanket you need to order. Since blankets come in 2-inch increments, always order the larger size if your horse measures in between sizes to allow for freer movement.

The height chart below will also guide you in picking the right size for your horse:




Horse Size


(In Hands)

Rug Size

11 1/2

58" - 60"

12 - 13 1/2


13 1/2 - 14 1/2


14 1/2 - 15 1/2


15 1/2 - 16


16 - 16 1/2


16 1/2 - 17 1/2

78" - 80"


82" - 84"



Fitting Your Blanket To Your Horse

Consider the shape of your horse’s body when choosing the correct blanket for him.

A high-withered horse, like a Thoroughbred or an Arabian, may need a slightly longer blanket than a same-sized Quarter Horse due to the extra fabric required to cover the shoulders. In order to avoid placing excessive pressure on the point of the shoulder or directly on the withers, always choose a blanket that lies 2- to 4-inches in front of the withers with a space large enough for your horse to freely move his fore quarters.

Look for a blanket that allows your horse plenty of room to move his neck and graze. The top strap of the front fastening should be in line with the point of the shoulder on a well-fitting blanket. If the strap is too high, it restricts neck movement. If the strap is too low, the blanket can cause rub sores on his shoulders.

The backside of the blanket should incorporate 3 to 5 darts to ensure a snug fit over your horse’s rump. The tail flap on the end of the blanket needs to begin within 1- to 2-inches of your horse’s tail head.

Make sure that the blanket hangs low enough on your horse’s body so that you can’t see the belly. Many newer style blankets are made with cross-surcingles that run under the belly and provide a secure, non-slipping fit. These cross-surcingles need to be buckled to hang about 4-inches under the belly so they are not too tight on your horse and don’t strain the blanket. You will need to check the surcingles after the blanket has been on your horse a few days to see if they have become too loose to keep the blanket secure. You will need to purchase leg straps if your blanket has only one surcingle tie to run under your horse’s belly.