This post is inspired by something that happened with a new client of mine. She has a 3 1/2 paint that i am training/starting. She had "Dolly" tied to the hitching post and and was taking of her winter blanket. (this was happening while i was on the other side of the ranch) I guess she unbuckled the blanket from front to back, and as she was doing the back leg straps Dolly spooked and pulled back. Needless to say, the blanket slipped and got caught in her back legs. She freak, broke free from the post(and the blanket), but was thankfully caught quickly. So now i would like to share with you what I think is the best way to blanket and unblanket a horse. If you disagree, please share your methods!
Lets start with the blanket ON the horse.
Keep your horse UNTIED(but make sure you have control if they spook/move), this way if they DO spook they don't feel trapped.
Start with the back leg straps. If you can safely unclip them both from one side do so, or walk around and do the second.
Next do the belly buckle(s).
Now you have 2 choices, take the blanket off over their head, or off their back.
BACK:Start with the bottom chest buckle, then the top. Now reach back and grasp the blanket right above the horse tail, pull up to the withers. Now the blanket should be all bunched at the withers/shoulder. Slip your arm underneath the blanket and slowly slide off the horse.
HEAD:Same as above but don't unbuckle the chest buckles.
ALL DONE! Now to put the blanket back on, just repeat the instructions backwards.
The reason I ALWAYS do the back legs first and the chest last is because horse tend to panic more easily when things get caught in their back legs. But i havn't seen any big spooks if the blanket slips around thier shoulders or chest.
I would love to hear others thoughts!