Rider's Northwind turnout from Dover's or SmartPak Ulimate?
Well Sky's winter blanket is showing signs of not surviving much longer (it's a TOTD special, and believe me, I think 4+years is doing pretty darn good all things considered) and I need to decide on a replacement soon. Currently Sky is in 24/7 turnout and is often at the mercy of my younger horse (Rocky) nicknamed "The Pest", and for good reason. It seems Rocky's favorite past time during cold weather is to see if he can strip the blankets off other horses. You get the picture.
The Rider's Northwind is 1680D, vs SmartPak 1000D. Rider's has a lifetime guarantee...but on Dover's website it states that's for the outer shell, no mention of the hardware or inner lining, whereas SmartPak states 10 yrs...for everything. Both have good reviews.
And for what it's worth, I've had excellent service from both companies.
So, your opinions and experiences with either one or both please.
"It's not a mistake if you knew what you were doing was wrong."
I love all my Dover blankets and really dislike my one SmartPak blanket (different one - heavy high neck something). It shifts like crazy, the leg straps are cheap and they don't stay adjusted. It also ripped the first week I had it and my horse gets turned out alone. Yuck. Dover Northwind any day of the week!
I had 2 dover blankets for 7 years and they are still hanging in there. They aren't truly waterproof any longer and one has a small tear, but they are still going. I replaced them with another north wind high neck last year. And this is coming from someone who strongly dislikes dover and their lack of customer service, rediculous shipping practices, and non-sale "sales".
I've never owned a Smartpak blanket, but all my boys' winter blankets are Northwinds and they've held up pretty well. The oldest is probably 6 years old, and I have several others going into their 3rd or 4th year. Dover has a guarantee against ripping and tearing too, which is a plus.
"You can't blame other people. You can't always say what happened wasn't my fault, and you know what? Even if you have an excuse, shut up. "Bruce Davidson Sr.
I don't have a Northwind, just a cheapo Riders International, more low-end...but it's on about its fifth or sixth winter on its third horse and still going strong (I think it has one tiny rip in the lining)...and I believe it's only a 640D. Definitely worth the sale price I paid for it.
Mel's Northwind has to be 8 years old and needs replacing. I did put a small rip in his first one and they replaced it immediately. They seem to last well, there was a rip in the lining (at the bottom) that I fixed because someone took it through a briar patch. Since the blanket is living in Wisconsin right now, I don't know how damaged it is, but the child did think that I could repair it to be a backup blanket, so it can't be too bad.
I have one of the early Northwinds (probably 8+ years old) and have been very pleased with the durability and fit. It has not seen heavy use, but a decent bit, and it still looks new. Now if they would only make a NYLON lined, high neck (not full neck, just half like a Wug) turnout sheet, I'd be set!
I bought a SmartPak blanket last year for my horses' pasture-mate, because one of my horses had totally trashed one of the pasture-mate's blankets. My horse ripped the SmartPak blanket (while his friend was wearing it) in the first day or two. SmartPak did replace the blanket but I had to pay to send it back to them. I have just received a Northwind blanket for my horse and I'm curious to see how it does. I've had good luck with my Rambo and Weatherbeeta blankets but I've found the biggest factors in blanket survival to be who they are turned out with,where they are turned out (somewhere with branches, wire fence posts, etc), and how hard they ate on their clothing in general.
Pony from Hell has the Smartpak Thinsulate-lined turnout and it is going into Winter #4 looking brand-new. Granted, I do not have blanket-rippers & rarely blanket, but it was priced pretty reasonably - around $125 IIRC for his pony-sized 52.
*friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon: Steppin' Out 1988-2004 Hey Vern! 1982-2009 Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
If your horse (or pasture pal) is hard on their blankets, I wouldn't get anything under 1680D.
I know you didn't mention them, but check out the Scheiders(sstack.com) turnouts.
We've used them at the barn for over 15 years. Right now most of the horses are using the Comfort Collar blankets. They fit nicely w/o rubs on various sizes, hold up to rough housing & best of all won't break the bank.
We've used/have Dover blankets, Hugs, Rambo, etc. but everyone still ends up going back to the Schneiders.
My horse destroyed the Smartpak "Indestructible" blanket in just a couple of days. They did give me a credit, so I bought a Rambo instead. The Rambo did survive the winter, however need to be patched after a few months. My horse re-defines destructive with his clothes!