Monday, January 6, 2014

Review: Weatherbeeta Blankets

So as you may have noted, I am a big Weatherbeeta fan. I own a range of their rugs now, and feel like I should put some reviews out on the internets for others to find.

For those of you who don't know my horses, I own 1 OTTB and 1 Mostly-TB who miraculously are entirely different body types. Foxie, my OTTB is "Kentucky Built" - broad shoulder who takes a MW tree, long but not particularly high wither, "shapely all the way around. She takes a 78 in 99.9% of blanket brands.

Bailey is more of a "typey" TB despite the 1/4 of her heritage that includes Holsteiners and Hanovarians. She is slim shouldered, with an upright neck connection, no real contour change between her barrel and shoulder, and is slim but deep chested. She is short backed and has relatively high withers. So far, she's about a 75.

I actually own a good part of their line, and we will start with the budget:

The Genero.

I own two Genero 1200D turnout sheets as rain coats for my girls:

The fit is quite nice on Bailey (on the snuggest holes) and I think it will get better as she gains muscle. On Foxie, the neck gapes a bit as it catches on the point of her shoulder and as there is no shoulder gusset, doens't have a flat "seam" against her neck. The material is nice (perhaps not *quite* as nice as the material on the higher end blankets) but is distinctly rip stop. Hardware is basic, and I do miss my Quick Clip fronts, but is sturdy and hasn't shown damage or any signs of rust. Leg straps were fine quality, didn't rub the horses, but did stain (grey in color like the binding). Full nylon lining, regular tail flap, nice drop on both horses. No blanket rubs, even without slinkies. I bought mine on discount for about 65$ but probably would have paid 80$. I do prefer the nylon shoulders / mesh lining, but turnouts like that are quite expensive and harder to find. 

The Original.

Bailey has a WB Original Detatch-A-Neck Medium.

This blanket is a 1200D euro-style blanket with a standard tail flap, nice long drop (a trend in all the Weatherbeetas I own) and the safe detatch-a-neck that I really appreciate. Again, I am missing the quick-clip front but the hardware is all sturdy, the straps are well sewn in, etc. I find the neck cover to be a bit stiff, but I think a washing would soften it up. The 1200D feels like a little "step up" from the Genero 1200D - but both are unblemished. Again, no rubs or shifting, the fit really works for Bailey's shoulders and offers great protection.

April Update: Bailey's pasture mates have put a few small holes and snags in the blanket. However, the hardware is still perfect and the ripstop is doing it's job. This blanket will get washed, repaired and pulled out again next year.

The Freestyle.

Finally, we come to Foxie's clothes - two different models of the Weatherbeeta Freestyle Detatch-A-Neck. These blankets are really the cream of the crop, and they fit Foxie's shoulder like a glove. When they say "cupped shoulder dart" they really mean it, and it's a fantastic bit of design. These blankets are also 1200D, with lovely extra large tail flaps, detatch-a-neck and quick clip fronts. One has the "Comfort Cuff" front and both have the withers pad.

These are even the same colors as Foxie has! Her heavy is probably 4-5 years old at this point, and is just starting to fade a little bit on the outside. Otherwise, both are going strong with only some minor snags after being out with several large turnout groups and worn for a months each year in the cold. We tried Foxie's blanket on as a sizer for Bailey and the shoulder appears to work better for your bigger horses - the slab shoulders fit better in a Euro so far.

Why do I do this? We're currently at a "feels like" of -31, and my horses are not freezing to death. I have never (knock on wood) come to the barn to see a destroyed blanket or a blanket that is soaked through. Weatherbeeta has taken really good care of us and thus, this review.

Stay warm!
Ash, Bays and Fox.