We often think of horses blankets as a way to keep our horses warm and dry in the winter. Did you ever think of a horse blanket as a training tool as well as protection for your horse? The blanket can come in very useful as you will find out.
Many horse owners never blanket their horses. They do not realize that they are missing out on a great training opportunity. A blanket can help desensitize a horse on a very simple level. The simple act of putting a blanket on a horse will help get a horse use to having objects put on their backs. The straps around their legs will get them use to having objects rubbing them in areas they are not use to. In the case of a closed front blanket, have a large object placed over their head. A blanket can be a very scary item to a horse that has never seen one or experienced it being put on them. This makes it a perfect training tool.
For your enjoyment I have posted below a video of a gal putting a blanket on her horse for the first time. She does pretty good at putting the blanket on except for the leg straps in the back that go around the legs. They should be looped together so they do not rub the legs otherwise when they rub they will cause red skin and or sores.
Foals and young horses often miss out on this training exercise. Adding a blanket to a young horses equipment will aid the horse in getting use to other objects when the horse is getting nearer to saddle training time. It makes foals easier to handle later on as yearlings if they have been trained to wear a blanket. I found this out purely by accident.
One of my mares had a colt that did not get the blanket training as a foal and turned out to be easily startled by flapping objects when we started his formal training. Another one of my mares also had a colt several years later but I had learned the benefits of exposing the colt to blanketing before any formal training began. He started wearing a winter blanket when a few months old. That foal turned out to be almost spook proof before he turned 2 years old. Nothing bothered him. The two colts were treated exactly the same when it came to training but the second colt that was exposed to wearing a blanket was easier to train the calmer than the one that did not have the blanket training early on. I am convinced it was the blanket training that made the difference.
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