What is a Monty Roberts blanket?
The Monty Roberts blanket takes its name from its inventor, American horse trainer, or ‘horse whisperer’, Marvin Earl ‘Monty’ Roberts. Originally designed in the early Nineties, the lightly-padded blanket is fitted, temporarily, behind the saddle and covers the hindquarters of a horse down as far as the hocks, or the equivalent of the human ankle. Other styles of stalls blanket exist but, in Britain, Monty Roberts has become synonymous with this type of equipment.
All starting stalls include rails, on either side, on the inside walls, on which jockeys can put their feet down. In the absence of a Monty Roberts blanket, contact with these rails can cause some horses to become claustrophobic and unruly. The purpose of the blanket, therefore, is to protect the ‘vulnerable’ areas of the horse, such as the ribs or stifle joints – the equivalent of the human knee – from unwanted brushing, or bumping, against the starting stalls. A rope is attached to a ring at the rear of the blanket, so that it can be pulled off by a stalls handler when the stalls open.