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Dr. Hilary Clayton - Michigan State University Study

Michigan State University veterinary study confirms V-FREE™ design is effective in relieving pressure on the horse’s withers

Dr. Hilary Clayton writing in the USDF’s Horse-Health Connection reported results of a study measuring pressure exerted by winter blankets on the withers. Three styles of waterproof turnout blankets were tested – V-Free insert, straight cut (Euro style), cutback withers style. Using an electronic pressure mat they tested each style on 12 different horses, recording measurements with the horses both standing and walking. The highlighted cells below illustrate the readings.

The Findings:

“The blanket with the V-free insert had the lowest total force and the smallest area of high pressure while both standing and walking, despite the fact that it was the heaviest blanket tested.”

“The blanket with cutback withers produced force and pressure readings midway between those of the other two styles, but the pressure was concentrated at the back of the withers as indicated by the arrow...”

“The straight-cut blanket produced the highest total force... and the largest area of high pressure. With the straight-cut style, the greatest pressure was located over the highest part of the withers.”

"All three blankets exerted higher pressures during walking than when the horses were standing still. This effect was especially marked for the straight-cut blanket"

The Conclusion:
“Prevention is the best option: Select a blanket that provides relief of pressure over the withers. In the blankets we tested, the presence of a V-free insert at the withers appeared beneficial in reducing wither pressure.”

Click Here to read the entire study done by Dr. Hilary Clayton at Michigan State University

Note: The V-Free™ blanket used in the test was a StormShield® VTEK® Marathon Heavyweight Turnout. V-Free™ blankets are produced under US Pat 6,408,604.

Click Here to View V-Free Blankets featuring the Pressure Free Wither

Hilary Clayton, BVMS, PHD, MRCVS, is a world renowned expert on equine biomechanics and conditioning. Since 1997, she has held the Mary Anne McPhail Dressage Chair in Equine Sports Medicine at Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, East Lansing. The position focuses on dressage and sport horse focused research.