Most horses stand quietly when being blanketed.?? Others, however, pin their ears and exhibit threatening behavior.??This problem can usually be fixed if you just take the time to do a little training.
Put a halter and lead rope on your horse and walk him out of his stall.??Before starting, if your blanket has back leg straps, clip them on to the rings to prevent them from dangling as you do the exercise.
Begin placing the blanket on the horse.??If he throws his head or pins his ears, that’s fine.??Your correction starts as soon as his behavior starts. Immediately, but calmly, back your horse up six steps.??Do a crossover behind in each direction, pat him, and walk him forward.
Again, start to place the blanket. As soon as he objects again, back him up six steps, repeat the crossovers, pat him, walk him forward, and try again.
Do this exercise calmly and consistently.??This training exercise will teach the horse that, until he stands quietly, he’ll have to walk backward and do the crossovers.??
It may take a few repetitions for the horse to understand the correlation, but he’ll get it.?? The key is consistency.??Once the horse stands quietly as you place the blanket, if he exhibits a negative response when doing up the leg straps, repeat the exercise immediately.??Walk backward, do the crossovers, walk forward again.
The horse soon learns it’s a tedious exercise and much easier to stand still for a couple of minutes while his blanket is being put on.?? At some point, most horses will let out a heavy sigh, indicating the relaxation you’ve been waiting for. (Follow the same procedure if he objects to unblanketing.)
Once the blanket is safely on your horse, pat him to tell him he did well. If he resorts to the old behavior, a few days of the exercise to remind him should be all that’s necessary. It’s simple — provided you’re consistent. If you are, your horse will accept his blanket quietly.