HANDS ON

EQUUS - - Equus -

• Strap safety

• Mud trou­bles

• Hot-towel tech­niques

• Im­mer­sion heaters

It’s hard to imag­ine how a warm, cozy win­ter blan­ket could in­jure your horse, but it can. Specif­i­cally, the straps on blan­kets can pose an en­tan­gle­ment risk if you aren’t con­sci­en­tious about a few im­por­tant points:

• Use the ap­pro­pri­ate type of blan­ket. Blan­kets in­tended for turnout are typ­i­cally lined with slicker fab­rics than those in­tended only for sta­ble use. The slick lin­ing keeps the blan­kets from shift­ing as an ac­tive horse moves un­der them, re­duc­ing the risk of straps be­ing pulled out of po­si­tion.

• At­tach the belly straps in the ar­range­ment—crossed un­der the belly or not—as di­rected by the man­u­fac­turer. De­vi­at­ing from the man­u­fac­turer’s rec­om­men­da­tions risks leav­ing dan­ger­ous gaps that a hoof can slip through or stress­ing the fab­ric, which can lead to tear­ing. If you are un­sure of how to at­tach the straps, con­tact the man­u­fac­turer to con­firm the in­tended ar­range­ment.

• Make sure the blan­ket it­self fits. A blan­ket that is too large or too small will be pulled out of po­si­tion, tak­ing any straps with it. Re­mem­ber that straps can­not com­pen­sate for an ill-fit­ting blan­ket.

• Ad­just the straps

prop­erly. Make sure belly straps hang no more than four inches be­low the horse and you can slip no more than a sin­gle mit­tened hand be­tween the chest strap and your horse. Larger gaps risk hoof en­trap­ment when the horse lies down. Straps that are too tight will not only be un­com­fort­able for the horse, but can tear fab­ric.

• Con­sider for­go­ing the hind leg straps. Straps that pass around a horse’s hind legs pose the great­est en­tan­gle­ment risk. If your horse’s blan­ket stays put with­out these straps, you may want to re­move them en­tirely.

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