With the changing seasons, you might be thinking about outfitting your horse in a blanket to maintain their body temperature and keep their coat slick and clean for shows or easy grooming. To ensure your horse remains comfortable and protected from the elements, properly measure them for the right-sized blanket. A blanket that is too small can cause chafing, overheating, or impede your horse’s movements, whereas a blanket that is too big can slide around, potentially getting your horse’s legs caught in the straps, or it can allow cold rain, snow, or wind to get underneath. If you are unsure how to best measure your horse for blankets, follow our handy guide below.

Step-by-Step Guide to Measuring Your Horse for a Blanket

Before starting, make sure your horse is calm and relaxed so you can obtain the most accurate measurement. You may need at least one extra set of hands to help you hold your horse squarely on level ground and to hold one end of the measuring tape in place.

How to Measure Your Horse for a Blanket

  1. Measuring Length: Horse blanket sizes are usually based on length. Start by measuring from the center of your horse's chest to the base of their tail. The tape should be taut but not tight. Measure along the widest parts of your horse’s shoulder and hindquarters. Also, measure a couple of times to verify that you find an accurate number.

  2. Measuring Width (Chest and Neck): To determine the width of your horse, first measure across the widest part of their chest. Next, measure from the withers to the point of their shoulder for neck width. While holding the tape, make sure it is not too snug or hanging too loosely, which would reduce your measurements' accuracy.

  3. Measuring Height (Withers to Tail): To find your horse’s height, measure from the highest point of their withers to the base of their tail. The tape should be held straight, ensuring accuracy. If your horse is unwilling to cooperate, even with a trusted set of extra hands, try bringing their friends nearby, walking in circles, offering treats, or completing each measurement on separate days.

  4. Special Considerations (e.g., leg straps, belly bands): Every horse is built differently with their own unique needs for blankets. Not every horse of the same height will fit in the same blanket, depending on their width and other conformation parts. You may find that the leg straps, belly bands, and surcingles on the blanket need to be lengthened or shortened. If any of the straps must be tightened or loosened all the way, you should consider sizing your horse up or down accordingly for better stability, security, and comfort. Straps that are too tight can result in rubs, while straps that hang down too much cause safety issues while your horse is moving or laying down. You are good to go if you can fit only one hand between the straps and your horse.

Determining the Right Blanket Size

If you land on an odd number or your horse is in between sizes while measuring, round up to the nearest inch. For example, if your horse’s length is 71 inches, order a 72 inch sized blanket. Likewise, if your horse measures 75.5 inches, try a 76 inch sized blanket. Your horse will be more comfortable with a little extra room, rather than a blanket that is too constricting. Bear in mind that you will need to take your horse’s conformation and comfort levels into account when purchasing the right size. An improperly fitted blanket will sag or be stretched too tightly across the shoulders, or it will hang at or below the knees. If you can slide one hand under the material around the neck and over the withers while your horse’s head is raised and in grazing position, the blanket likely fits well.

Blanket Size Chart

Finally, remember that your horse’s blanket measurements may change throughout their lifetime. To double check that your horse is still the same size, measure them about once a year, depending on whether they have undergone any major musculature changes, right before they would need to start wearing a sheet or blanket. Ensuring that their blanket fits correctly is key to maximizing your horse’s comfort while protecting them from the elements.