I was turned on to the Schneider’s blankets in January 2017 because I had heard they carried a blanket designed to address the unique shape of thoroughbreds. Broad powerful shoulders and high withers can lead to rubbing and sores with an ill-fitting blanket. I wanted to make sure I had something for Blade that fit just right.
The VTek blankets are designed with wither relief in mind. The patch on top reduces pressure on the withers and is less likely to cause rubbing, The blanket has long sides so it covers a broad-shouldered horse with a deep heart girth like Blade.
- These blankets are built to last and to prove it they come with a LIFETIME warranty. I have not needed to use it extensively but they did replace my hind leg straps when they broke.
- The material is high quality and very durable. It’s a high-end blanket at a fraction of the cost of a Rambo.
- The straps on the belly band are of a good length to allow for different shapes. The side of the shoulders also has “adjusta-fit” straps that you can grab and pull to adjust.
- Made to Last
- This blanket is made of great material. After having it several years it is faded but still in great shape. No rips. No tears. Still waterproof.
- Extra room for the shark fin
- Thoroughbreds are known to have high withers and thin sensitive skin. Few blanket makers take that into consideration but the VTEK was designed for exactly that. The blanket is designed to allow extra space and reduce blanket sores.
- Many options
- You can choose to add a detachable neck if you prefer. If you don’t have a high withered horse and want something designed to fit better, you can also choose V-free or the Cutback versions. V-free is made for a horse with a sloped shoulder like quarter horses. Cutback is made for a horse with a high head carriage like saddlebreds. Further, you can choose from crisscross belly straps or the full belly band.
- Back Leg Straps
- The rear leg straps don’t seem to stay put. I seem to always be readjusting them and shortening them. It’s not a deal-breaker but it can be a pain in the butt.
- Blade had the typical high withers of a thoroughbred but I struggled to find a fit that really worked with his build. It also rotated a bit on him. I have seen similar complaints from other users of the blanket. This can often be due to an unbalanced conformation but also somewhat in part to the belly band. If I purchased another I’d try the regular straps.
- That said, I have been putting it on Tiger the last couple of months and I have seen NONE of the trouble I had with Blade’s fit.
Not specifically for the blanket itself but for turnout blankets in general:
- Belly Surcingles crisscross.
- Rear straps go around each leg, crisscrossing in the middle
- Fit the belly surcingles relatively close to the barrel of the horse (no more than an inch or two of space preferably) to prevent legs getting caught.
- Frequently remove the blanket and check underneath. Check your horse for rubbing, healthy skin, healthy weight.
- During inclement weather always check under the blanket to make sure the blanket is still waterproof.
- Keeping blankets clean is crucial, but over-washing blankets can deteriorate the waterproofing. Always make sure you are using the recommended detergent and follow care instructions to keep your turnout rugs looking good (I use Rambo Wash).
A few other brands you might have heard of:
- WeatherBeeta ($200-250)
- Horseware Ireland’s Rambo ($300-450)
- Tough-1 ($90-150)
- Saxon ($70-100)
I purchased the midweight Schneider’s Warrior VTek blanket with belly band in January 2017. After a few years, it is still in great shape showing no signs of rips or tears; and it’s still waterproof.
In my opinion, this is the best bang for your buck. They are built to last and backed up by a lifetime warranty so if you have a horse that’s rough on blankets this may be a great option. The blanket lists at $299-389 but you can often find excellent deals throughout the year, This time of year, for example, they are offering end-of-season blowout deals and I am finding them at $124-209. They aren’t the cheapest but they certainly hold up well and cost less than replacements every year!
If you think this is a blanket you’d want to purchase you can visit:
The exact model is the Warrior VTEK with Belly Band.