For the next step in stable sheets, Dog Gone Smart Horse Wear uses a sturdy high performance fabric that is breathable, stain resistant, water resistant, bacteriostatic and wicks moisture away from a hot horse. Nanontechnology contributes to this technologically advanced stable sheet. I wasn't sure what nanotechnology was, and what it would contribute to the quality and benefits of stable sheet. So I did a bit of research and learned that nanotechnology is the science of engineering things on a very small scale and the actual forms that the take are usually too small to be seen without a microscope. In the case of fabrics, they can be coated with nano-particles of metals that prevent bacterial growth, block UV rays, repel moisture and are self cleaning. The result is a long wearing finish that can withstand many washings, resist odors, but still remain breathable and water resistant. Dog Gone Smart Horse Wear's finish is made to resist up to fifty washings. The fabric is supposed to dry faster than untreated fabric. The coating on this fabric is non-toxic, and is bluesign approved.
I was impressed by the sturdy woven fabric and heavy-duty construction of the Dog Gone Smart Horse Wear's blanket. In fact, as I unpacked the blanket at the stable several other horse owners commented on the quality of the textile itself. In the past I was an industrial sewer, so I know what to look for when it comes to seam construction and quality fabrication. My one tiny nit-pick was that I thought the tension on one seam looked a bit too loose. The upper tension on the machine may have needed to be increased slightly. Most people probably wouldn't have noticed this.
Because the sample blanket was several sizes too small for my own horse, I gave it to the owner of a small Arabian to try. Immediately after putting it on the mare we really liked the fit over the haunches but were slightly concerned about the fit through the shoulder area. Even on the narrow chested Arab we had it on, we noticed that it seemed to fit a bit tight. Another problem was how the front closed. When the buckles were fastened, the hook and loop beneath them that prevents the very front of the blanket from sagging was bunched. We did like that the neck fitted well, and didn't gape or sit too low.
Our concern with the fit over the shoulders was justified when a few days later it was very obvious that even with the softer cotton-like fabric lining the front of the sheet, the horse's shoulder were being badly rubbed. In this respect, I think for the sheet to be a real winner the front needs some redesign. The closures at the front need to be re-thought and there needs to be some adjustments made to the shoulder areas. The fit over the haunches was so good, it's confusing why the same attention wasn't given over the shoulder area where good fit is even more essential. Slightly different shaping through the neck area and a gusset over the shoulder as seen in many blankets would probably improve the fit.
As we put this on a horse with rather narrow forequarters, I think the problem would be worse on a wider beamed horse. Blankets that bind and rub hair don't just ruin a horse's coat. Rubbing and binding can also cause nerve damage. So a slipperier fabric underneath to prevent hair breakage may not be the answer. The blanket has to fit well to avoid possible permanent damage. I know that sewing in extra darts and gussets requires extra materials and time, but I'd be glad to pay a few dollars more for better fit.
The blanket after few days wear and a few rain showers looked nice and clean. There was no evidence of staining and it smelled a bit like a horse—but no too badly, so perhaps the antibacterial was at work. It's an interesting idea that you could put this horse on several different horses and not be overly concerned that you were transferring any skin problems like mange or ringworm.
Another thing the manufacturer may want to consider for the future is offering more colors. The navy with green trim is just fine with me—I don't care if my gear is all matchy smatchy. But many horse owners love having all their horse's gear perfectly matched and I can see a lot of people passing this blanket over because it doesn't come in 'their colors'.
The Bottom Line
Overall, I think this is a good blanket with a few fitting problems. I think the nanotechnology idea is great, for no other reason than because washing horse blankets frequently is a lot of work. I liked the colors, but they might not be to everyone's taste. I think this is going to be a long wearing item, as the fabric and construction are sturdy. I'd really like to give this blanket more stars, but for now it's a two and a half, plus a half just because I like the direction Dog Gone Smart is going with this. Better shoulder fit and it would be a solid five out of five.