Nothing is classier on a cool, rainy day than a beautifully turned out horse in a perfect wool cooler or beautifully fitted rain sheet. The Clothes Horse has been in the business of dressing horses for 48 years, and can make just about anything discerning equestrians want.
The current trend in custom coolers is color blocking: a wool dress sheet is solid on the top 2/3 and plaid below that, or with a plaid stripe, or in one daring but beautiful design, the two colors are seamed diagonally. Proprietor Katrina Coldren enjoys the challenge of finding new ways to make things fresh and finding a way to take a client’s design from paper to fabric.
Customization options include specific buckle styles, one or two surcingles, and accommodating special needs. “If you have a horse with a special need of some kind, like an injury recovery situation, so the stable sheet needs to be padded or contoured differently to accommodate a bandage or avoid touching a sensitive area, those kinds of customizations are all possible also,” Katrina explained “People think of us customizing their blankets to be pretty, but customizing can be practical also.”
For customers who don’t know what colors they might like, the website features a build your own cooler option. This tool allows you to choose a main color, binding color, and piping color, then view the blanket on a horse (you can even change the horse’s color) to get a feel for the overall look of the color scheme. Once the customer narrows down color combinations, they can contact The Clothes Horse directly over the phone or through the website to complete the look with fancy trim layouts and fine tune the exact design.
Katrina is always on the lookout for the best fabrics, and sources them from all over the USA. “We endeavor to find the best quality fabrics across a range of applications and needs,” she said. “For example, rain sheet fabric needs to be lightweight enough to be easily managed, breathable enough not to make the horse uncomfortable, yet water repellent enough to do its job repelling the rain. We have changed the fabric we use for rain sheets a few times since I started here in 1990, because this is a case of technology improving the options. As more technologically engineered fabrics become available–even though these are designed for the human clothing market–the horses benefit from these advances as well.”
Over the 48 years of The Clothes Horse, designers have not been afraid to tweak their patterns and fit to evolve along with the horses we outfit. When Edith Friedman started the company, most hunter/jumper horses were thoroughbreds, and their patterns were designed for that type of horse– which she did by pin-fitting them on horses until she liked the fit. As more warmbloods entered the scene, and hunter/jumpers in general started to be bigger, they updated the pattern using customer feedback, and more pin-fitting.
“We have a philosophy about horse clothes fitting in front of the shoulder muscle and wither. We feel this keeps the blanket in place better, and does not allow any rubbing behind the wither,” Katrina emphasized. “This makes the fronts of our blankets shaped differently than some folks are used to. Once in awhile, a new client calls to say the neck of a sheet is too small, but when we talk about moving the sheet forward, they see it is just a slightly different way of blanketing a horse. We also modify our patterns depending on the fabric being used (cotton sheets and Irish knits are cut in such a way that they still fit after the inevitable shrinkage that occurs when laundered). This is all in the hopes of creating horse clothes that fit and remain useful for as long as possible.”
Visit theclotheshorse.com to get started on building the perfect cooler, dress sheet, or rain sheet for your horse.