Avoid Entanglement, Be Safe, Check Your Blankets!
Safe Strap Saturdays!
Lets talk STRAP SAFETY! So foremost, an unspoken rule…that has been mentioned before, your blankets should always fit! Not only should your blankets always fit, but as mentioned before, you REALLY, REALLY should be checking your blanket straps (including the surcingles or belly straps, and leg straps) ideally twice a day, some say that it isn’t realistic, so lets just say AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE, and hope it is SEVERAL times a week, and if not make it a goal to check it on SAFE STRAP SATURDAYS!
Have you been in an airplane? Remember that last line before you depart? “Be careful opening the over head compartments, luggage may have shifted during the flight…” well the same occurs with straps. A horse is typically, constantly in movement, those little metal pieces that the nylon weaves through, is actually called a slide…because that is what it does. Those slides can move throughout the hours, days and weeks, typically making the straps longer. Thus creating a loopy strappy trap that is perfect for the horse’s hoof or leg to become stuck in when laying down or playing. This could also cause blanket slipping and create rubs, if the blanket doesn’t just come off, entirely.
So lets review the seatback pocket safety information card, and learn some tips on how we can make straps as safe as possible…keeping with the plane theme… “US federal law prohibits tampering with, disabling or destroying lavatory smoke detectors… please make sure that all seatbacks and tray tables are stowed in their upright and locked position, and carry-on luggage stowed in the overhead compartment or underneath the seat in front of you…From all of us crew here at Laura’s Blanket Repair we ask that you sit back, relax and enjoy your reading, as we discuss the importance of Horse Blanket Strap Safety.”
Turnout or Stable Blanket?
- Use the appropriate type of blanket. If you have any question on that, please feel free to visit here to discover the difference. Turnouts will help aid in the freedom of movement, be more durable during play and activity, and provide a lesser chance that straps will move out of position, as the slick material helps the blanket to move with the horse. Using a stable blanket when outdoors, will increase the chance that weak straps and the weaker material of the blanket will get torn.
- Attach the belly straps in the manufactures designed arrangement. Typically, the straps will cross underneath the belly. It is important to make sure the straps cross in the center, not too close to the front legs or too close to the stifles. Not crossing straps may lead to many wide, open areas, and dangerous spaces for a horse to slip a hoof through. This will cause a horse to become tangled up in the straps, or if your lucky just break the straps off. Tip: When checking your straps, make sure you can fit a fist between the belly of the horse and the straps. There should be about 4 inches! Too tight and it may be uncomfortable and cause rubs, too loose and it welcomes entanglement when the horse lays down.
- Leg straps greatly increase the risk of entanglement. If your blanket is intended to be used with a tail strap, avoid using leg straps all together. Make sure leg straps are checked 2 times a day, or as often as possible! Leg straps make become longer as the slide moves, causing straps to be too loose. AVOID knotting the slide. Should your horse become caught up in the straps, those knots may create pressure points. There are times that a horse will fight it so much, it results in an increasingly worse situation, where the straps continue to get tighter (especially with elastic straps), these knots will only increase injury and wounds. Elastic leg straps are also seen as a great idea, however if a horse gets caught up, the elastic will become more of a tourniquet and less likely to snap under pressure. Again, too tight and you risk rubs, too loose and you risk a horse getting a foot stuck.
Ways to Attach Leg Straps
**This is a very debatable subject. So lets keep this as respectful as possible. To each is own, and everyone has their own way that has worked for them. But for safety reasons, lets discuss what is recommended! **
Straight Through- This style may increase rubs, and is not the most secure way of attaching leg straps. This style leaves the blanket to easily slip from side to side. This style may beneficial and recommended for stallions….no explanation should be needed.
Cross Over- the X Usually much more secure than the above. But again, does risk rubs as the blanket is pulled diagonally through the horse. Creates large spaces that make it easy for a horse to get caught in.
The Loop- The recommended way, the most highly secure and safest. The way that is most taught to young equestrians. This way provides limited movement of the blanket both forward and backwards and side to side. Because of the style it avoids chafing of the stifles. It is important to make sure the straps are the same length. Avoid having one strap long and one strap short.
What is your opinion? How do you secure your leg straps? Do you have any experiences?
Have you earned you wings? Thank you for joining me again this week! I hope you had a safe and knowledgeable read…and we hope you join us again next week! Until then, have a safe, healthy and happy blanket season!