Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Product Updates: Winter Wardrobe Findings

This winter I tried out a few new winter clothing items for Charlie. This included:

1 - Smartpak Ultimate Turnout Sheet (appears on sale as of this writing!)
2 - Horseware Ireland 100g Blanket Liner
3 - Mio Turnout Sheet
4 - Snuggy Hood Silky Bib (currently unavailable from that link, but appears to be available here from the UK)
5 - Weatherbeeta Satin Shoulder Guard

a healthy coat, a clip that lasted through the season, and zero rubs. just what i want for my prince!
Each of these pieces made it out the other side of our winter gauntlet. Spring is finally here. Even if the sheets are still in regular rotation....

So let's take a moment to see how I feel about the pieces moving forward!

smartpak ultimate turnout sheet: roomy enough for dance moves while he's wearing it
1 - Smartpak Ultimate Turnout Sheet (appears on sale as of this writing!)

This sheet is in great shape after regular use since September. There are no holes, pulled threads, or tears. Just in case, however, this sheet is covered by a 10 Year Indestructible Guarantee.

I know from past experience with this style sheet that the gussets will rub Charlie, so he never wears it without a shoulder guard (more on those later). With the shoulder guard, however, all issues with rubs are resolved.

My only issue with this sheet is that it's not as waterproof as I would like. And sometimes feels a little heavy for those in-between days where it's maybe warmish, but with strong winds and/or rain showers. So I ordered the Mio to fill that gap. See below for more on that.

Final thoughts? I'm happy this sheet is in Charlie's wardrobe and feel it was worth the value.

horseware ireland 100g liner: the perfect weight and basically doubled my blanketing options
2 - Horseware Ireland 100g Blanket Liner

I adore this liner. So much. It's simple and gives me so much more flexibility in dressing my horse. Especially throughout the rainy spring season, I haven't had to worry about blankets not drying quickly enough bc I can mix and match with everything and always have something warm enough to put on the horse.

My final thoughts on this blanket are that I would 100% buy again. In fact, I've already purchased this blanket again after an unfortunate miscommunication with the person who helps me with Charlie's blankets left my first liner shredded.

The liner has no belly straps or surcingles, but instead has little clips on the rear that clip to whatever blanket you've layered on top of the liner. The person helping me didn't know about those clips, and so the liner slid under Charlie's belly and he shredded it. Nbd, I just ordered it again bc it's definitely worth it.

the mio turnout sheet certainly looks comfortable
3 - Mio Turnout Sheet

I really wanted to like this blanket. Really really really. It's SUPER waterproof, while also being the thinnest possible shell. I love it as a windbreaker, or as a waterproof layer on top of one of Charlie's other blankets for days with heavy rain. Or just on top of the 100g liner for something kinda in between a light and a medium.

it's not sturdy tho. some of these are small, but they're everywhere. those tears on the upper right tho are inches long
Unfortunately, tho, it's just not a sturdy blanket. The properties that make it so perfect are also its downfall: it's completely riddled with little holes and tears and pulled threads. Completely. And it's only been in rotation since January. So many spots need patching that I'm pretty sure the cost to repair this blanket would exceed what I paid for it.

Considering how quickly it has fallen into disrepair, I'm not sure it's worth the cost of replacing either. I may hang on to it as-is (possibly doing another waterproofing treatment on it myself) just to have as a top layer in downpour conditions. But... I just can't recommend paying full price. On sale? Yea, maybe. I did like it, it just didn't last.

snuggy hood bib 4 lyfe
4 - Snuggy Hood Silky Bib (I purchased it from Amazon but it's been unavailable. Manufacturer's website here, and appears available on eBay here from the UK)

This thing is the light and the truth. This bib has been a game changer for Charlie. It's wayyyyyy less fussy to deal with than one of those elastic slinky type shoulder guards with the belly strap. And has seemed very comfortable to Charlie. It's easy to wash myself, and all seams are in great condition after daily use for the entire season.

I use this bib under every single sheet or blanket that goes on Charlie, including his Back on Track mesh sheet. And Charlie had zero rubs at the end of the season. Judging by reviews, sizing does matter. If you get too big a bib, it might slide down the horse's withers and rub there. I did not have that issue with Charlie, tho.

End of story? I cannot recommend this product strongly enough. I love it. Am bordering on evangelical in describing it. Will spout off about it to anybody who makes the mistake of feigning even slight interest. Only bummer is that it hasn't seemed available Stateside since I bought it last year.... tho presumably you can order from the UK on eBay or directly from the manufacturer (links above).

the weatherbeeta bib is fine too tho. a little saggier, with more static, and the seams didn't last. but it works.
5 - Weatherbeeta Satin Shoulder Guard

I ordered this second shoulder guard after Charlie's liner-shredding incident, since he had been wearing his Snuggy Hood bib during the episode and I was devastated to think he'd destroyed both. Turns out tho, the Snuggy Hood is indestructible and survived that carnage without a single tear. Yay!

But I didn't know that when I ordered the Weatherbeeta, and then figured having two was fine since I could always have one on hand while laundering the other. And this Weatherbeeta is fine. It's a little looser around Charlie's neck than the Snuggy Hood, but it has likewise protected him entirely from rubs.

The construction isn't as good as the Snuggy Hood, it is sometimes more static-y, and the seams around the loop (for attaching the bib to the blanket's chest straps) blew out almost immediately. The tears haven't gotten any worse tho, and it remains serviceable.

For my money, I'd go with the Snuggy Hood. The Weatherbeeta is a reasonable alternative tho. Mostly just bc I love this particular design of shoulder guard and will probably never not use one ever again.

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What about you? How did your horse's winter wardrobe survive the season? Did you add anything new to the collection this year that blew you out the water and changed everything? Or did you have high hopes for a product that left you underwhelmed?

Are you going to be shopping the sales to fill any gaps in your horse's clothing, or is there anything in particular you've got your eye on?

29 comments:

  1. I have the horseware liner and LOVE it. And even use it to haul Remus on days it was really chilly but he didn't need a full blanket. So it is very versatile. And I have two Mio's they are not the best (but they are so light I love it for those days when they almost don't need a sheet but you want them to have them). I am SO lucky that Remus has never rubbed with blankets (so he has never needed a shoulder guard) I am glad you found items that worked for you. I would totally go snap up one of those Smartpak sheets but i am chanting to myself "I DONT NEED ANOTHER SHEET, I DONT NEED ANOTHER SHEET" HA HA HA I have so many.....Speaking of which I think I can finally send my mediums and 100 grams out for cleaning YAY SPRING.

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    1. Ha but we always need MOAR SHEETS 4EVA!!!

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  2. Poor Gem is neglected compared to Charlie :) She has one sheet, a light weight Amigo without fill, that I use on rainy days below 40F but otherwise she is fat, fluffy and left to her own devices.

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    1. I mean that sounds pretty good to me haha! I definitely like doing less blanketing vs more. But Charlie is kinda a pansy lol. Plus he sweats a ton on his neck so unless I want to sit around forever drying him off, I gotta clip. So. We blanket.

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  3. I have the Smartpak ultimate turnout sheet and the midweight for May. They are on their... 3rd? season. They're still in great shape. Some of the piping and other details have cracked or really come off lol, but the actual blanket is still looking great. They both need to be re-waterproofed at this point, so I will be doing that this spring/summer.

    My heavyweight (which also has a hood for if I ever clip poor May) is a weatherbeeta freestyle. It gets used maybe 3 weeks out of every year, but it is 5 years old at this point and still cleans up to look brand new.

    I use a lycra shoulder guard for May. She is so short and wide that the satin ones don't really cover the apex of her shoulder. However, I will say that this year it got used pretty sporadically, and she didnt get any rubs.

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    1. Yea I could see how the sizing for the bibs would be trickier for May ! Tho actually this weatherbeeta that I have would possibly be a better shape for her. Maybe. Awesome tho that she’s not getting much rubs anyway

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  4. i had that mio sheet as well, and it REALLY went through the wringer with runkle. I was actually going to just throw it out but in all the keffuffle of his passing it accidentally got sent out for repair... sooo I sold it for the amount I spent on repairing it lol.

    i really like that its just a SHELL... doesn't have any lining. and its also so cheap and on sale so often i honestly don't think i'd mind just purchasing a new one every year or two.

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    1. Yea I did really really like this mio and maybe used it more often than the sheet. For full price tho I just can’t do it again. On sale? Yea maybe. I’m gonna try to keep it around for as long as I can tho, but idk how long that will be. Since the pictures above, those big hind tears have gone ahead and extended to ripping the binding off. So it might be done for good soon....

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  5. I need that bib! P has a BigD heavy, and both his med and sheet are Amigo, and I've been really happy with all 3 except for the terrible shoulder rubs he got!

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    1. dude this bib is awesome. completely totally awesome. and completely eliminates all rubs, plus couldn't be easier to slip on and off, with no fussy snaps or buckles. 100% recommend!

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  6. We have a couple of horses at the barn that have the Mio sheets and I am shocked at how waterproof they are, especially since they are so thin! I would definitely consider one for a horse that is in single turnout and/or not destructive ;)

    I'm slowly replacing Crumble's (honestly-not-extensive) wardrobe with Smartpak Ultimates because they have the Rockin' SP line that fits QH types and that's literally the only style of blanket I can find that fits him properly without drowning him and/or rubbing. I liked the warranty because he is often chosen to babysit the more rambunctious babies who might decide to shred his clothing...and I can't afford to replace them!

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    1. yea that sheet is freakishly waterproof, even with all the little holes in it. for that reason i'm definitely keeping it around and would possibly buy a new one if it were on steep sale.

      also that's super cute that Crumble gets to be baby sitter for all the baby horses haha, but yea i can see why the guarantee would be useful in those situations!

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  7. What a super helpful review, thanks Emma! Harley just got a brand new heavyweight schneiders VTEK (wither relief) marathon blanket this year after shredding his old heavy last year. It is great but he only needs it on the coldest days and unfortunately got turned out in it one day this spring so now it's coated in mud and I'm miffed because now I have to figure out how to wash it...it's an 86... He has a lightweight blanket of the same model for the majority of the time. We are in the market for a new waterproof sheet though, his old Tough1 has given up the ghost even after I made more repairs and tried to re-waterproof this year.

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    1. man that's a BIG blanket!! charlie's giant but only wears an 82 haha. good luck finding something waterproof. if you see this Mio on sale (i think regular price is in the $60s??) it might be useful for that, but again it probably won't last.

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  8. I’ve heard other people complain about the Mio’s inability to hold up for long periods of time. Which is sad bc they seem like a nice cheap option. I have the Smartpak ultimate too and those things wear like iron! Mine isn’t super waterproof anymore but I’m hoping just needs a washing/rewaterproofing to get it going again. If not then back it goes! You really can’t beat the 10 year warranty!!!

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    1. yea my smartpak ultimate doesn't have a single mark on it after being used for longer than the Mio, but also yea it's not that waterproof. often if i know it's gonna be really pouring i'll layer the Mio on top of the SP ultimate just to get that extra waterproof factor

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  9. I have to second the opinion on the Mio. I first bought one maybe 10 years ago and it was indestructible. But recently they've changed the fabric and they seem to shred just hanging on the wall. It's a shame though, because they are a really great lightweight option!

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    1. yea it's a real shame. but honestly i think it'd be kinda impossible to get that type of blanket - just a simple lightweight shell that's freakishly waterproof, plus cheap! - in any type of material that would last. it's like you can pick three: very light; waterproof; indestructible; cheap. sigh.

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  10. Henny has made it through year 2 with his HUG blankets with no rips or tears or rubs! Which is saying a lot, considering how many we went through in our previous seasons due to destruction or fit issues. I had that Amigo but had so many problems with it rubbing that I never could actually find out if it was durable or not. That one got "donated" to Willow Tree, along with the other huge stack of sheets of blankets that Henry deemed not worthy. Horses are fun.

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    1. so fun.... always an adventure haha. but yea the rubs issue is so real. idk if this Mio would rub or not tho honestly bc once i found the bib, rubs became a non issue for any style or fit of blanket.

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  11. I love that new style of bib. I bought a Bossy Bib, then had Pony Grandma (who is a pretty talented seamstress) make a pattern from it and she whipped me up a bunch more for cheap. Pretty easy to make if you gave any sewing skills.
    And then I bought a Rambo Duo and haven't had to worry about rubbing.

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    1. yea this style really lends itself to DIY efforts. just judging by how well the snuggy hood held up vs the weatherbeeta, it still needs some careful construction, but someone who's good with a sewing machine and can choose good materials can certainly make it happen!

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  12. I only have a few blankets for Annie - 1 lightweight, 1 midweight and 1 heavyweight.

    The lightweight and heavyweight I've had since the Suzie-days and she was very easy on her blankets. So they're about... 4-5 years old now? They've just started to obtain small tears where the buckles rub eachother and Annie has this affinity for catching the shoulder gusset piping and ripping it!! Grrr!!

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    1. that's awesome that annie is good on her blankets tho! my heavy weight was also a handmedown and is a couple years old at this point too. it isn't super waterproof any more (so again, i like to layer that Mio over it in cases of heavy rain) but it's held up well.

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  13. The penguins survived the winter with nary a scratch so all is well with the world! I need to find a good 100g-ish t/o blanket though as Opie got too hot for penguins until I gave him a full body clip.

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  14. After about 5 years and 3 horses my Smartpak sheet is going to get replaced lol

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  15. Meanwhile mine has no clothes at all (California winters + no clip). This winter he might be clipped though, so I'll have to finally get him a blanket!

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  16. Levi also destroyed that same Mio sheet. I duct-taped it back together to make it through the year, but didn't use it this year.

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  17. I bought that Mio sheet as well, in the black/turquoise color, but honestly never put it into the rotation this winter. As soon as I touched it, I loved the lightness, but also knew that it would not last in pasture antics. Glad to know this is confirmed by someone who tried it! It pretty much just sits and looks pretty for now.
    Also yes for bibs being lifesavers! I need to invest in one of those snuggy hoods. Charmer is stuck with a slinky thing for now, but it has stopped his shoulder rubs!

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