Product Review: WeatherBeeta Freestyle WIDE Width Blanket

Welcome to EN’s Product Review series! Who doesn’t love shopping, especially when the object of your search is new gear for yourself or your horse? As an enthusiast of all products equine, I LOVE trying out new gear. Please join me as I narrate my personal journey of trying out all of the products featured. While I will make no recommendations, I hope you have fun reading about my many adventures of trying new products, and that hearing about my personal experiences helps you on your own quest for new gear. Go Shopping.

Even though Mark is not a particularly stocky horse, his deep set shoulders really benefit from the extra room that the wider cut gives him - Photo by Lorraine Peachey Even though Mark is not a particularly stocky horse, his deep set shoulders really benefit from the extra room that the wider cut gives him - Photo by Lorraine Peachey

As someone of height, I sometimes fairly often find that many ‘off the rack’ clothes just don’t fit me very well. I had a heck of a time this past weekend while perusing the racks for a new sweater. Of those that I tried on, either the sleeves were just too short, or the bottom hemline wasn’t long enough (curse the trend of crop length sweaters this season).

After trying on a good half a dozen sweaters that I liked, I finally found the one that I wanted to take home with me. It’s just unfortunate that it’s such a battle to find something that works for my tall frame. And don’t even get me started on jeans…they are dang near impossible to find in the right length. And I’m just not a fan of wearing jeans that look like they are crop length.

Over time, I’ve found that there are certain brands that specially cater to those of us who are….well, of height. These brands either offer tall length pants and jeans, OR their regular length jeans are actually long enough for me. Finding said jeans that are long enough are cause for celebration. Because I feel like most brands trend towards fitting the average sized individual–which does make sense.

Sure, I’m tall–but not overly so, at just 5’9″. Though I still have a hard time with sleeve and jean length. And I can understand the challenges that other experience when shopping as well – because anyone with a non-average build probably has some difficulty when clothes shopping!

Horses can have the same problem as people – they come in all shapes and sizes. ALL shapes. AND sizes. From little Shetland ponies, to mountain sized Warmbloods. The range of equine sizes and builds can make blanket shopping challenging, and that’s for darn sure. And I say that with a good deal of personal experience.

The forward facing gussets and cupped shoulder darts of the Freestyle blanket are designed in order to allow for greater freedom of movement - for when your horse is running, flailing, and generally just being a little cray-cray - Photo by Lorraine Peachey

The forward facing gussets and cupped shoulder darts of the Freestyle blanket are designed in order to allow for greater freedom of movement – for when your horse is running, flailing, and generally just being a little cray-cray – Photo by Lorraine Peachey

I’ve got one of those mountain-sized horses right here in my barn – he’s just a smidge on a tall size, standing at just 17.3 hands. Mark is not just tall, but he is also quite long bodied and a deep, sloping set of shoulders on him. I find myself smitten with his model-like looks. However, he is an absolute nightmare to fit for a blanket.

So this season, Mark has been wearing a new blanket from WeatherBeeta. And not just any blanket – it is one of WeatherBeeta’s WIDER width blankets that are brand new for this season. Yes, you read that right–WeatherBeeta now offers blankets in a wider width, in order to accommodate horses of a larger build. Such as Quarter Horses. Drafts (or Draft-crosses). And even Warmblood (or Warmblood crosses…like my Mr. Mark).

After hearing about the wider width blankets, my first thought went to Mark. I’ve spent years struggling against blankets that rub bald spots on his deep set shoulders – and while there are some that do work for him, I’m always searching for another blanket with a fit that works for my (extremely) hard-to-fit boy.

I knew that the wider fit was something that sounded like it would work for Mark – but in addition to offering standard and wide fits, WeatherBeeta also offers several blanket styles as well. By using their online Blanket Identification Tool (or BIT Tool), I was able to answer a short questionnaire about Mark’s lifestyle and attitude towards blankets in order to determine what style is right for him.

And after initially fitting the blanket, I just use the Quick Clips every time I put the blanket on (or take it off) - Photo by Lorraine Peachey

And after initially fitting the blanket, I just use the Quick Clips every time I put the blanket on (or take it off) – Photo by Lorraine Peachey

With his personality, I settled on the Freestyle standard neck blanket in the wide width for Mr. Mark. The blanket itself is quite sharp looking – of course I’m a fan of the navy blue (big surprise, right?), yet it is also trimmed in a nice shade of gray. I also find that the front gussets and tail flap are accented with a lighter REFLECTIVE gray color, and the white / navy trim, and the WeatherBeeta logo on both sides of the shoulders just finishes off things nicely.

The Freestyle blanket offers the most features of the WeatherBeeta line-up to keep your horse comfortable and protected from the elements. The front closure of the blanket features the Quick Clip, which is super convenient – one side is a traditional pull tab that can be adjusted to various hole length…but the other side includes two clips that attach to a loop right on the blanket. And after initially fitting the blanket, I just use the Quick Clips every time I put the blanket on (or take it off).

Another feature that the front of the blanket also sports up front is the Comfort Cuff, which are basically two padded sections that sit on either side of the neckline, starting from where the blanket fastens in the front. I also like that the Freestyle blanket includes a Wither Relief area, with you can see if you look on the inside of the blanket. Where the blanket rests on the withers, there is a teal colored area that has some extra padding.

The forward facing gussets and cupped shoulder darts of the Freestyle blanket are designed in order to allow for greater freedom of movement – for when your horse is running, flailing, and generally just being a little cray-cray. I also really like the Full Wrap Tail Flap of the blanket, because I feel like it offers a little extra protection for a horse standing out in the wind.

I also really like the Full Wrap Tail Flap of the blanket, because I feel like it offers a little extra protection for a horse standing out in the wind - Photo by Lorraine Peachey

I also really like the Full Wrap Tail Flap of the blanket, because I feel like it offers a little extra protection for a horse standing out in the wind – Photo by Lorraine Peachey

From the time that I first fit the blanket on Mark, I was just so pleased at how the wider cut fit worked on his shoulders. Even though he is not a particularly stocky horse, his deep set shoulders really benefit from the extra room that the wider cut gives him. I’ve had experience with the other features of the Freestyle blanket already, and I’ve purchased a number of them over the past several years.

I personally feel like the Freestyle features make the blanket more convenient for me to use and more comfortable for Mark. The Quick Clip front is so easy to use. And SO convenient. Also, I like the Comfort Cuff, Wither Relief and Full Wrap Tail Flap, because I feel like they are designed to help keep Mark more comfortable. And the forward facing gussets and cupped shoulder darts are great for times when Mark is running and playing.

The Freestyle standard neck wide blanket also includes a 1200 denier Triple Weave shell – and all WeatherBeeta blankets now feature at least a 1200d rating (or higher). Since he has been wearing it, the blanket has held up against even the tugging and pulling of Mark’s pasture buddies. Mark’s blanket is a medium weight, which does include 220g of polyfil. And WeatherBeeta also offers a three year warranty on the hardware, waterproof-ness and breathability of their blankets.

The Weatherbeeta Freestyle 1200D Standard Neck Medium Wide blanket retails for $219.99, and you can find one here.

Go Blankets that FIT (Even When Your Horse Needs A Little Extra Room).  Go WeatherBeeta.  Go Eventing.

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