As a thank you for my review of SmartGut (as well as all my other blog posts about Smartpak), Smartpak offered me a couple of their blankets at a very generous discount. When I got the news, I was beaming with glee, and didn't waste any time placing my order. I ordered the Smartpak Deluxe Turnout Blanket - Lite, and the Smartpak Deluxe High Neck Turnout Blanket - Heavy. Both Tucker's turnout sheet and his heavy turnout had seen better days... in fact, the heavy turnout was sporting some emergency duct tape repairs (charming). So we were sorely in need of replacements and I have to say I am very happy with our new purchases! Overall, they are quality blankets, with features that tell you they were designed by horse people.
This first review will be a design and style review, and I'll have to report back on the durability/practicality later, once Tucker is released into the wilds of his field. As I explained to the Smartpak rep, if these blankets make it through a winter of Tucker's ridiculous antics, they are virtually indestructable.
As for style, this is a very attractive blanket. The color is a rich navy with white piping and hunter green trim(the pics below of the surcingle and the fleece wither are the most true-to-life, camera phone can only do so much). The material is sturdy and strong, and the stitching looks perfect everywhere. The buckles feel heavy and durable, not like they are going to snap off during the first roll. The shoulders have a nice nylon lining to prevent rubs, and there is a mesh lining along the back, for breathability. There are D-Rings around the neckline to attach the Smartpak Deluxe Neck Rug.
And without further ado, our lovely model:
Easily adjustable, sturdy front buckles, placed so there's no gap in the front of the blanket once closed
Good neck countour, no gaps, no tight spots
Generous amount of fleece at the wither,
and high enough cut that the blanket rests just in front of the wither, preventing rubs
Excellent shoulder-gusset placement
I'm pretty confident these will prevent rubs, because they extend so high up the shoulder
Nice drape overall, no seams at the top (for waterproofness),
and doesn't come down too low, so your horse won't appear to be wearing a dress
Adjustable belly straps, and surcingles have rubber stops, so they won't come undone in turnout
(which is one of my biggest complaints about Tucker's current turnout sheet)
Optional customization, so there's no confusion about which blankets are yours
Good tail flap coverage -- no one likes a draft!
Elastic leg straps, placed high to avoid getting legs caught when rolling
Many thanks to our beautiful model:
All dressed up, and no place to go....