The correct length and placement of leg straps keeps your horse's blanket securely in place, whether he's snoozing or galloping. A properly fitted blanket helps keep a horse warm, dry, and clean. Knowing the right way to adjust and fasten the leg straps on the most common types of blankets will help you make sure your horse is comfortable when he's wearing his blanket.
Leg straps prevent injuries and potentially dangerous situations by keeping blankets in place. If blankets slide back and forth during movement, they cause painful rubs or sores on your horse's back. This can keep you from riding him if the sores occur near the saddle or girth area. A horse also can catch a leg or hoof in a twisted blanket, which can lead to injury.
To fasten the leg straps, place the blanket on the horse's back. Fasten the belly band or straps in place. Velcro belly bands should be snug, but straps should be fastened so that you can slide one hand-width between the horse and the strap. Buckle the chest surcingle or band in place. Stand on your horse's left side and take the left leg strap in hand. Run it between your horse's back legs and to the D-shaped ring on the blanket on the left side. Walk around your horse to fasten the right leg strap. Cross the right leg strap through the left and connect it to the right D ring.
Leg straps may need to be adjusted from the factory length to fit your horse. Before placing the blanket on your horse, make sure all of the straps are open and loose. Place the blanket on your horse's back and slide it into place. Fasten the leg straps on each side. Slide your hand between the strap and the horse's leg. There should be about a hand's distance between the strap and the leg. Lengthen or tighten the strap to the proper length using the buckle or closure on the middle of the strap.
If you're layering blankets and both blankets have leg straps, use blankets with removable straps. Remove the straps from the underside, and use the leg straps from the outer layer to secure the blanket. This avoids bulky double-straps that can impede the horse's movement. You also can purchase replacement leg straps if one rips or a set gets lost.
Jeanne Grunert has been a writer since 1990. Covering business, marketing, gardening and health topics, her work has appeared in the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books, "Horse Illustrated" and many national publications. Grunert earned her Master of Arts in writing from Queens College and a Master of Science in direct and interactive marketing from New York University.