The National Sweet Itch Centre

Boett Blankets and BioPlus Capsules

The Boett ® Blanket  - The Boett ® Hood

There is only ONE Boett Blanket and it has                 on the tail cover. There are cheaper copies described as being "Just like a Boett" - beware, they are not! - no other manufacturer has access to the unique and clever Second Generation Boett fabric, one of the reasons for Boett's worldwide success.

The Boett (pronounced Bo-ett, as in Go-get!) Blanket was invented in Sweden 25 years ago to offer protection to horses and ponies suffering from insect-bite allergy. It has been continuously developed since then and many thousands are now used around the world. Many have been bought as a result of recommendations by Vets, who have witnessed the transformation in their clients' horses and who appreciate the absence of undesirable side effects. Several UK insurance companies have accepted the Blanket as a veterinary treatment and are prepared to meet claims.

The blanket is made from a unique purpose-designed fabric (not a mesh) which midges cannot bite through. It offers COMPLETE protection to all parts of the horse that it covers and the soft fabric does not damage the hair. The fabric is light but strong, so the horse can wear the blanket 24 hours a day, month after month, in total comfort. It is highly breathable and over-heating does not occur - the blanket has a 'parasol' effect that helps to keep the horse cool in full sun. It has grease and water repellent properties meaning that it does not become clogged with grease or hair and it will soon dry after rain.

The fabric has sufficient 'give' to allow freedom of movement and the clever blanket design ensures that normal horse activities - rolling, mutual grooming, galloping etc. - can continue. All seams are elasticated and straps are fully adjustable to ensure a good fit. Full fitting instructions are supplied.

The blanket is quickly removed for riding although, to ensure a bite and stress-free horse, some owners ride with the blanket in place.

Ideally the horse should start wearing the blanket before symptoms appear, but even later in the season, once the blanket is fitted, sores will quickly heal and mane and tail growth restart. Typically it will take from one to three weeks after the blanket is fitted for damaged skin cells to recover and itchiness to decline. Horses wearing the blanket all summer keep their full manes and tails and have glossy, clean coats and those susceptible to sun sensitivity and contact nettle rash are also helped.

The Boett is different from other designs of horse blanket and should fit snugly, apart from the neck where there is ample fabric to ensure full cover when the horse puts his head down to graze. It covers the neck, the body and the tail and consists of two separate pieces: The mane, neck, body and tail-piece is fitted over the head (it is extremely rare for a horse to object to this) and there is an elastic neck band which adjusts behind the ears for a snug fit. The separate adjustable belly-flap is attached over the blanket with surcingles and a chest strap. It takes only a couple of minutes to fit.

The Boett Blanket and Hood fabric is resilient. It is strong enough to withstand normal horse activities - rolling, mutual grooming, galloping etc. Horses being horses, it must however allow an animal to break free should it become hooked-up on anything. For this reason common sense should be applied to the use of the blanket if it is not to get torn. Electric fencing is ideal for horses with Sweet Itch, considerably prolonging the life of the blanket. Barbed wire is totally inappropriate and certain types of hedging or rough stone walls can also cause damage to a seriously itchy animal. If that animal just happens to be wearing a brand new blanket the outcome can be disastrous. The animal's environment should therefore be checked for protruding nails, jagged branches on hedges or trees and other sharp objects that could cause damage.

In cases where it is not possible to control the environment BioPlus Capsules may be the best option.

Boett of Sweden are justifiably proud of their workmanship and quality control: blankets never 'self destruct' while the horse is grazing! If a blanket does suffer damage the reason is usually obvious - unsuitable field boundaries, or even an aggressive herd leader's teeth can be responsible. It makes sense to take steps to avoid these potential problems. Experience shows that, on average, a blanket will last for three years on mares and two years on geldings…... boys will be boys!

Horses at grass, including mares with foals at foot, can wear the blanket permanently to great benefit, 24 hours per day, every day, all summer long. Indeed, a significant number of horses even wear the blanket during mild spells in winter when midges can be on the wing. Individuals that require stabling should continue to wear their blanket inside, unless the building is completely midge-free - very difficult to achieve. The Blanket can be worn under a rug in late autumn and early spring, although it must be remembered that an extra layer between the horse and his outer rug will make him feel warmer.

The Blanket is machine washable and should be tumble-dried. The fabric is easily repaired, if necessary, using 'Copydex' adhesive, or by patching with a domestic sewing machine. Horses and ponies realise very quickly that the blanket makes them more comfortable - as far as they are concerned the benefits are such that, other than when the blanket is in the washing machine (or being repaired!) there is no good reason to remove it.

There are fourteen sizes, in three colours - dark brown/black, bright chestnut and light grey.

The Boett Hood

Two out of three horses with Sweet Itch suffer damage to the head area. The ears, forehead and around the eyes are commonly affected. For these animals the Boett Hood offers protection. It has ample adjustment and is secured to the blanket by a loop behind the ears, a long elastic strap, which is fastened to a point inside the blanket by the wither area and by two snap-clips below the cheeks. No head collar is required.

As with the blanket, horses rarely object to the fitting and use of the hood. There are ten sizes of hood in the same colours as the Blanket.

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