I’m going to let Hamish tell this one. (The pictures are from February 2010 Snowmaggedon, not recent!)

“I think all self-respecting horses need to occasionally remind their owners what blankets are really for, and help them keep up with the latest trends in blanket buying, by helping them get rid of out-of-style blankets. Here’s my tried and true methods of blanket shredding. I’m letting these secrets out to all my horse friends in hopes they too can be either naked or comfortable in new blankets. I have identified four major techniques, they are listed below.

1. The Rip and Roll; 2. The Butt Scratch Destroyer; 3. The Trot/Gallop Swing & Shred; and finally, 4. Natural Disaster method. I’ll explain each.

1. The Rip and Roll is the most commonly used by nearly all classes of horses. It usually involves a variation of getting down to roll, swinging over onto your back, and grinding away until you get the front of the blanket to move around your neck. As soon as you feel it tighten over your withers, jump up quickly, remembering to put your front legs either through the front straps of the blanket, or stepping on the back end of it with your hind legs as you rise. This should break one or both belly straps fairly easily. Then it will swing under your belly, and then let the fun begin — you can then incorporate the Gallop Swing & Shred to complete the task or just get creative — have a buddy grab a piece in his teeth and then simply walk away and it will usually rip into at least two pieces. Personally, I like to make sure at least a part of it is hanging around my middle or around my neck just so it looks as though it wasn’t my fault. Use your best “who me?” face with this one, and I can just about guarantee a new Rambo, baby!

2. The Butt-Scratch Destroyer is actually one of my newer methods. I found this one when I was itching a little dry spot on the top of my tail, and the sheet caught on the side of the shed where I was working on it. I used my best strolling walk-away and voila! The sheet ripped and I was able to make short work of it. I recommend this when you are in turnout with others, too — get it started on a fence, or shed, and then enlist the help of your buddies to continue the complete destruction sequence. Remember to work on those belly straps before you kick it off, however. Just a little safety reminder for all my warmblood friends (they’re a little slower, I know, but we love them just the same even though they take the little bus to school.)

3. The Trot/Gallop Swing and Shred. This is one that does require a bit more physical effort, and as such, works well for Arabs and Thoroughbreds. Key in this destruction method is the weakening and eventually fail of any leg straps. The blanket must be shifted to the right or left of the withers (I know it feels funny but you know, no pain, no gain.), then allow the bulk of it to swing down along your side as you trot. Make sure to duck-step (that is, throw your hoof out wide enough) to step on the blanket and it will rip pretty easily. As soon as you hear that sweet sound, be sure to get at least a front foot through the neck, too, and it will be in a heap in the field, just where you want it! I have used this one many times to my advantage in turnout. Doesn’t work very well in a stall, though. (All the duck-stepping will make a lot of noise in the barn, alerting the humans to your progress, and they will get there in time to save the blanket and straighten it out. You really want to avoid being detected if you can.)

Indy supervising Rugby’s Roll and Shred technique.

4. The Natural Disaster method. This depends completely upon the weather. Windy, rainy, snowy or muddy will all work, and that does consist of most of the winter, so you will have many opportunities to perfect your skill at this method. When the wind whips the blanket up, be sure to move at just the correct moment so that it ends up swinging to one side or another. Then use Method #3. Or, find the deepest and wettest puddle, and get down and dirty — it makes the blanket heavy and it should shift pretty easily then, allowing you to either try Method #1 or Method #3 to complete the task. Be on the lookout for these opportunities, because it will definitely be worth it when you are sporting the newest blanket style in the field!

So long, Sports Fans, and good luck in your destruction endeavors! Email me if you have questions about your technique, I’ll be happy to provide you with an expert opinion. Sincerely, IBD – Level 4 (International level Blanket Destroyer) Hamish.”

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