Horse blankets have been used at ceremonies and other special occasions. The intention was actual use under a saddle, often with an added pad. The blanket also served to cover the pad for a better look for riding or for show. The blanket could be used when riding with no saddle or pad, serving as a barrier between the person and the horse.
Native American Indians wove their own horse blankets and still make them today. Blankets were traded for other items, as well.
The Navajo blankets are an especially popular decorative horse blanket. Found with bright inks or earth tones, usually with fringed ends. They were also used as rugs by the early Indians, woven smaller for that use or for decoration on top of the saddle.
The most popular horse blankets were the double blankets, which were used by folding in half before placing on the horse.
Although it wasn’t their only design, the Navajo woven horse blankets can be easily recognized by the diamond patterns woven into them. An authentic Navajo horse blanket is to be admired for its simple, artistic quality. It should also be a reason to respect the person who put his or her time and effort into its creation.
The double saddle blankets were woven with no art in the centers. These would be covered by the saddles, making the extra effort impractical as they could be out-of-sight when used by the rider.
The horse blanket could be hung on a wall in a log cabin and bring out a surreal sense of its natural beauty. Photographs and posters or wall paintings of these horse blankets could be added to the cabin to create a western theme. Search for books bout the Navajo horse blankets, weaving, and inks made by the Navajo indians to cultivate knowledge and respect for the weavers and these beautiful works of art. It will take the minds of your visitors back in time and help them appreciate the work that went into making these wonderful results.
What constitutes a fine piece of art is the beauty in the eye of the beholder. The horse blankets are just as lovely when they have been used and have become worn as they were when they were new. The usage seems to add character and may create some interesting stories from the riders. The horse blankets have the ability to stimulate the three senses of sight, touch, and smell (which could be good or bad, depending on the smell it brings!).
The horse blankets that were woven could be washed in cold water with little or no detergent and hung to dry. Although in the early western days, they were most likely wrung out in a nearby creek or river and laid on a rock to dry. Now there are horse blankets made of other fabrics which most likely are better at resisting stains and other such improvements modernization brings.
Horse blankets have value especially to anyone interested in Western culture.