Hey Sam – as a SmartPaker and a total blanket nerd, I’m obviously going to be a bit biased and say that I love just about every blanket we carry for its own special reasons (they’re a bit like kids or ponies that way…). That said, I can narrow down my recommendations based on what you’ve told me about Rocket (who is totally adorable, btw).
My own horse (24-year-old QH gelding named Cody – seen in the picture below hamming it up for Santa) is very gentle on his blankets, but his pasture mates definitely are not, so I can sympathize with searching for a stock-horse-type blanket that’s going to last. And as a rider with a real world job, I can relate to having to work with a reasonable budget! So, here are my top picks for you, along with a brief explanation for each one (note: these are all waterproof turnout blankets, so they’re good inside and out. If Rocket never gets turned out, let me know and I will happily suggest some stable blankets) :
1. Rockin’ SP Deluxe Waterproof Blanket – $159.95 for the medium weight ($143.96 if your horse is on SmartPaks!). Cody has worn the original SmartPak Deluxe turnout for the last two years, and it has held up really well for him. This is SmartPak’s first year introducing the Rockin’ SP line, and I can’t wait to try it on him. All Rockin’ SP horse apparel is cut to fit stock-type horses (like QHs and Paints), so I think it’s going to fit great (the Rockin’ SP fly sheet fits my fellow SmartPaker’s Paint really well). You can check it out here: http://bit.ly/GzvDLg
2. Big D Sterling Medium Turnout – $129.95 – I have always loved Big D, and there’s a reason this brand is wildly popular in western riding barns – the products are high quality, they’re stylish, they’re built for stock-type horses, and they’re just plain NICE. That said, this turnout only has a 600 denier exterior (compared to the Rockin’ SP Deluxe’s 1200D), so it won’t be quite as durable if he’s rough on his blankies. http://bit.ly/18ltjRk Big D does make tougher turnout blankets, but not in the medium weight.
3. SmartPak Ultimate Turnout Blanket – $199.95 – This one is obviously stretching your budget, but if Rocket is tough on his blankets, it’s worth the investment. With a 10-year guarantee, if this turnout gets torn, SmartPak will replace it at no cost, saving you the expense of buying a new turnout ($200/10 years = $20 a year for a really nice turnout!). While this one isn’t cut specifically for stock-type horses, as I mentioned in #1, my QH has always fit nicely in the SmartPak line of blankets. http://bit.ly/18ltHiQ
I hope this was helpful for you and Rocket, even if it’s just giving you a place to start. If you have more questions, want other suggestions, or just want to talk blankets more, please don’t hesitate to give me a shout. Have a great ride!
Rider, Runner, Stuff-Riders-Say-er, SmartPaker