About Horse Blankets
For centuries, horse blankets have been prized possessions, used at ceremonies and other special events. They are usually fitted under the saddle, often alongside an additional pad- the blanket serves to cover the pad, giving a better overall look. Blankets can also be used by more adventurous riders instead of a saddle or pad- this tradition ties horse blankets in strongly to Native American culture.
Native Americans would weave their own horse blankets by hand, and this tradition has continued to the present day. As well as their more practical use, these blankets would also be traded for other goods. Navajo blankets remain the most popular because of their decorative appeal. They usually incorporate earthy tones and fringed edges, and would also be used as rugs or for decoration.
The most popular form of horse blankets were, and still are, double blankets. These are, as the name suggests, folded in half before being placed on the horse’s back. Although they come in a variety of designs, the most common Navajo woven horse blankets feature a distinctive diamond shaped woven pattern. Authentic Navajo horse blankets are admired the world over for the subtleness and simplicity of their design, as well as the fact that an individual person has put a lot of time and effort into creating it.
Double saddle blankets were usually woven without any art in the middle. That’s because this part of the saddle would be covered when the rider was sitting on top of them- all the effort that goes into creating the art itself would have gone to waste.
Horse blankets aren’t just of practical use- they also make a quirky decoration that can bring something to any home. If you want to create that old time cabin feel in a room, then photographs or paintings of horse blankets can help to cultivate a Western theme. Try visiting your local library for books about Navajo horse blankets, weaving techniques, and natural inks, to help broaden your mind about these spectacular, intricate creations. When used in the right way in your home, a horse blanket can transform the minds of your visitors back in time.
They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and that’s certainly true of horse blankets- although they may become worn out when they have seen heavy use, this adds a certain character to them, and means each blanket has its own unique story to tell. Horse blankets stimulate the senses, and help to bring the feeling that you’re really there in the Old West, hitting the trail.
Woven horse blankets had a big advantage out on the plains- they can easily be washed in cold water without the need for any soap, and they dry quickly when they are hung up- although in most cases in the Old West, they would be simply laid out in the sun on a nearby rock. Nowadays, plenty of advancements have been made in the field of horse blankets, and there are fabrics available that resist stains and are easier to clean.
Given their long and rich history, horse blankets are therefore particularly valuable to those who have an interest in Western culture.