TABLE OF CONTENTS
Turnout vs. Stable
Turnout blankets are designed to be worn outdoors regardless of the weather. They're waterproof, breathable, and more durable than stable blankets. A properly fitting stable blanket tends to weigh a little less than the turnouts, putting less pressure on your horse while they are in the barn. If your horse is stabled inside at night and turned out during the day, a good option is to use a stable blanket with a turnout sheet over it while your horse is outside. Shop turnout blankets here and stable blankets here.
Denier: What is it? And what do the numbers mean?
Denier is a word used to describe the threading and how tightly woven the fabric of the blanket is. The higher the number, the tougher the outer shell of the blanket. Generally, higher denier blankets also tend to have a stronger waterproofing. Most people will not go lower than 600 denier for their turnout sheets or blankets. A 1200+ denier blanket is the best choice for horses that are tough on blankets or who are turned out with other horses that tend to be rough on blankets. Ballistic nylon is the toughest type of blanket and is the least likely to tear.
Lite, Medium, and Heavy
A lite weight blanket generally refers to a sheet with no fill. A medium weight blanket usually has between 180-220 grams of poly fill. A heavy weight usually has between 300-370 grams of poly fill. Some companies make an extra heavyweight blanket which has closer to 400 grams of fill. There are some blankets that offer 100 grams of fill, which is a great weight for horses on an day too warm for a medium weight but still too chilly for just a sheet!
How should my horse's blanket fit?
The neck area should be snug -- not too tight and not too loose! A blanket that is too loose through the neck will tend to slide back and can put a lot of pressure on your horse's withers. A blanket that is too tight tends to rub the shoulder area and withers. You should be able to run your hand between the blanket and your horse.
The chest area should overlap slightly on either side. When the blanket overlaps a little bit, it will help keep your horse's chest warm and less drafty. You should be able to buckle the chest buckles tight enough to help hold the slight overlap in the blanket.
The sides of the blanket should drop down far enough so you cannot see your horses belly, but should not be far enough down to reach your horses knee or hock. If your blanket is too short, your horse will lose some heat from the belly area.
The hindquarter area should be covered entirely, but the blanket should not reach all the way around to the tail unless the blanket has a tail flap.
Polo wraps are usually made from fleece material, and they are generally used to protect horses' legs during exercise. They can be used as an alternative to boots. The wrap material is slightly stretchy, providing support to the tendons and ligaments. Polo wraps can be applied so they fit a wide range of horses and ponies, since they come in different lengths. They can be used to cover an injury, since they are soft enough that they won't damage scar tissue or rub a wound. Shop polo wraps here.
Training bandages offer more support than polo wraps, and they are ideal for horses in work. These generally are more stretchy than a polo wrap. They help support the tendons and ligaments, and they can be applied a little more snugly than traditional polo wraps. Training bandages are best applied by an experienced professional, since if applied too tightly they can cause damage to the horse's legs. Shop training bandages here.
Standing wraps are less stretchy than polo wraps, and they are more supportive. Legs are generally wrapped in a two-step process in order to allow proper circulation throughout the leg. First the leg is wrapped in a cushioned wrap often referred to as a pillow wrap or a no-bow wrap. Next, the leg is wrapped in a standing wrap to provide support. Standing wraps can be used for injury, shipping, reduction of post work swelling, and more. Shop standing wraps here. Shop pillow wraps here.
Open Front Boots
Open front boots are most often used on hunter and jumper horses. These boots are used primarily on the front legs, and they provide support to the tendons and ligaments while leaving the front of the leg open so that the horse can feel a knocked rail while jumping. Fetlock or ankle boots are sometimes used on the hind legs as well. These help protect the horse's hind legs from interference and damage from hitting the legs together. Shop open front boots here. Shop fetlock boots here.
Splint boots, sometimes referred to as brushing boots, are one of the most versatile boots available. These boots can be used for riding, lunging, or turnout. Splint boots help protect the legs from interference and damage from hitting each other. They usually have three or four straps for adjustability and come in a variety of sizes and colors, as well as materials, the most common being neoprene or leather. They can be lined with foam or fleece for added protection. Shop splint boots here.
Galloping boots are similar to splint boots, although they offer more protection and are often worn on both the front and hind legs. Galloping boots protect the cannon bone and the pastern, whereas splint boots only protect the cannon bone. They are often worn while galloping or for riding cross country. Some galloping boots are made just for the front or hind legs, while others can be used for either. Shop galloping boots here.
Performance boots are made of a ventilated neoprene material with a shock absorbing material in between the layers of neoprene. The ventilation properties of these boots make them breathable and allow heat and moisture to escape from the horse's leg. Performance boots cover the entire cannon bone area, providing support to every structure of the leg. These boots support the fetlock and suspensory ligament with the added fetlock strap. Shop performance boots here.
Bell boots, sometimes referred to as overreach boots, protect the back of the pastern to prevent overreaching (when the hind end clips the front end). Bell boots are worn on horses while jumping, working in mud or other slippery surfaces, riding cross country, lunging, and occasionally for turnout and/or shipping. They are most commonly made of rubber, and they either slip over the hoof or open with Velcro or other fastenings. Shop bell boots here.
Shipping boots protect the lower legs of a horse while travelling in a horse trailer. They start just below the knee or hock and end at the floor, protecting the cannon bone, tendons, fetlock, pastern, coronet, and heels of the horse while in transit. Shipping boots can be used for travel as a faster alternative to standing bandages and pillow wraps. Shop shipping boots here.
No one likes pesky insects. For your horses, they can cause a variety of issues, from minor behavioral problems to painful Sweet Itch. Many insects are carriers of disease, also putting your horse at risk for serious medical conditions such as Lyme disease or West Nile Virus. Fortunately, there's a wide variety of measures you can take to control your horse's exposure to flies, and The Cheshire Horse can help!
Fly sprays are the most common method of controlling insects. We offer a great variety of fly sprays that come with different active ingredients, from the strongest permethrin-based product to the gentlest blend of essential oils. Roll-on and ointment repellents can be used for the horse's face and other sensitive areas. Spot-on treatments contain higher concentrations of repellent, and they are applied less frequently, requiring less maintenance than sprays. You can enter to win a fly spray package all month long with Absorbine UltraShield on our Facebook page! Shop our large selection of Fly Repellents here.
Fly Sheets, fly masks, and leg guards provide a physical barrier between insects and the horse. They're available for use in turnout or while riding. Fly apparel is a cost- and labor-effective method that can be a great option for sensitive horses. Fly sheets and masks have the added benefit of UV protection. Some are also made with insect repellent fabric, such as the Amigo Bug Buster by Horseware
, pictured at left. Shop all Fly Apparel here and here.
There are three main types of fly traps. The first is the odor trap, which uses attractants to lure and catch flies including house flies, flesh flies, bottle flies, and eye gnats. The second is the sticky trap, which uses shapes and bright colors to attract, trap, and kill flies. The third kind of trap is the biting fly trap, which is the only type of trap that will catch biting stables flies. Fly traps work best if you use a combination of the three and place them around the border of your facility. Shop all Fly Tape & Traps here
Spalding Labs Fly Predators
Fly Predators from Spalding Labs are tiny biteless flies that destroy pest flies in their cocoon stage. According to Spalding Labs, "Fly Predators serve as a major check of pest fly populations by destroying the next generation of flies in their immature pupa (cocoon) stage." To learn more, visit www.spalding-labs.com
To maximize the effectiveness of Fly Predators, begin spreading them in all manure areas when daytime temperatures reach the 60s. Additional Fly Predators should be spread every 3-4 weeks as well, because pest flies reproduce nine times faster. To purchase Spalding Labs Fly Predators, visit either The Cheshire Horse location and fill out an order form.
Feed Through Fly Prevention
There are a number of oral supplements that can be used to deter flying insects. This is a great option for sensitive horses. These supplements commonly contain garlic, thiamine, and/or brewer's yeast, which are reported to keep pest flies away. Some also include ingredients to reduce manure odor and pest attraction, as well as to interrupt the fly’s reproduction cycle. Pictured at right is The Cheshire Horse Garlic
, a human-grade supplement to protect against flies, ticks, mosquitoes and gnats. Shop all Feed Through Fly Prevention here.
Prevention & Manure Management
Manure management is one of the most important ways to reduce fly populations. Cleaning stalls daily and paddocks weekly can help to eliminate the fly eggs before they hatch. Composting manure is one of the best options in climates that get regular rain. The heat created by decomposition prevents larva from surviving below the outer surface of the pile. Stirring or shifting the pile can help speed decomposition. Other methods of prevention include eliminating unnecessary standing water, regularly cleaning buckets and feeders, and providing a regular source of airflow for your horses (e.g. with fans). Shop Stable Supplies here.