Turnout Sheets with Tail Cord Vs Leg Straps - Just as Safe?

For horses living outside, the turnout sheets with tail cords are so much easier/safer than messing with leg straps (which need to be crossed).
Is it just as safe in terms of stability? And is it safe to take a leg-strap sheet and replace it with a tail cord?
I want to switch to only tail cords, so much easier to deal with.


I only own tail strap blankets now, but anything that was leg straps before, I switched to tail cord. I good fitting blanket should not shift.


At first I thought tail cords were only safe on rambo wugs, because they have 3 belly-straps. But other brands just have the regular 2 belly straps and use the tail cord.

I’m not a fan, I have had my mini get hung up badly when the “tail cord” blanket went up and over his back, it looked like he tried to get out of it by shucking it off over his head but the unintended result was feet all tangled up tight in belly straps. I cannot describe the mess he got himself into, it had to be seen to be believed. He was completely hobbled and everything was pulled SO tight I thought I was going to have to resort to scissors to get him free.


I try to only use tail cords now. I do still have a few blankets with the leg straps but it’s not many.

I’ve actually dealt with the opposite problem; leg strap blankets being dangerous. I’ve had one of my horses get his leg stuck up in one of the leg straps after rolling around (luckily he is very calm and just waited for me to save him), and once I had a horse get the leg strap caught on the fence when he was trying to itch his bum. They have to be super tight to be safe, tighter than you’d usually want them to be, and you have to constantly recheck them to make sure they haven’t loosened (which they will).


they seem to loosen immediately…


You can tie knots in the elastic leg straps to stop them from stretching as much.

I’m a big believer in Horseware blankets and think the tail strap and no leg strap works for them because their blankets are cut so, so well to the horse’s form. I had a Weatherbeeta that was shifting to one side so bad and I ditched that and went to a Rambo Wug - that thing never shifted.

We have an extremely playful herd this winter (my 2 are definitely culprits) and I’ve found my Rambo pulled up over the butt and twisted to the side on my older horse a few times. So I added a twine tail strap that is shorter than the Rambo strap and tightened the belly straps.

Sometimes I think you need to modify the manufacturer’s standard “equipment” to manage a specific horse or herd dynamics.


I have a love/hate relationship with tail cords.

Most of my blankets are Rambos or Amigos with tail cords anymore. Stability is great, no issues. I love reducing the number of buckles I have to mess with. I think the horses appreciate less bulk between their legs.


No matter how I adjust them or what type I use, my mares splatter urine and manure on them. They get SO gross. It hits their legs and tails.

I have also had far more tail cords break over the years than leg straps. Are they rubbing their butts and getting them caught? Do they get weird pressure on them when the horses roll? Who knows. While I haven’t had any safety issues, I do wonder why so many get broken. My girls are super kind to their blankets and almost never damage them otherwise. So what’s happening to the tail cords?


Oh interesting I was always curious as to why mine had more urine & manure on her hind legs but all my blankets are tail cords so that would make sense! Thankfully I have a really nice curry comb that takes any residue right off the legs. I haven’t had any break so far, I have the Horseware Wipe Clean Tail Cords. The flat ones break easily IME, also harder to clean.

To answer OP’s question, I very much prefer them safety wise to the hind leg straps. I make the belly surcingles snug, but just loose enough that the surcingles don’t touch their bellies when breathing so possibility of rubbing. I try to size the tail cords so they’re not too large so the blanket can’t slip around and also use them with that weird tail flap strap that the HW Rambos & Rhinos have. It prevents the blanket from being flipped up to where the tail cord could possibly end up on their back or belly like mentioned in one of the replies. All my blankets have tail cords, even the ones that originally came with leg straps. No issues here!


When putting a tail cord on a blanket that uses leg straps, do you use the same rings to attach? My new SmartPak sheet has leg straps and I’d rather just put on my Horseware tail cord but the rings are so far down his butt; I think he’d somehow flip the blanket over his head.

I’ve wondered about moving the rings for the tail cord an inch or two toward my horse’s body. He wears an 81 but is really an 80. The 78 is too small. I hate to sew but I may try it. IF I do, I’ll report back.

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I had a child come get me one day saying “pony won’t walk out of his stall.” What do you mean? This is beginner pony extraordinaire, he won’t walk out of his stall? Sure enough, I go to get him, he’s EXTREMELY short on one hind leg. I’m thinking to myself, oh great, this is going to be a big vet call. Went to take his blanket off to investigate, and lo and behold he had SOMEHOW managed to get his leg strap entirely twisted around his leg, to where it was making it impossible for him to swing his leg forward. Immediate relief when the strap was undone. This was a blanket that typically fit perfectly, and had well adjusted straps. No clue how he did it.

I have noticed an increase this season (for whatever reason) in horses getting their leg straps in the wrong place. I have also noticed some horses, particularly ones who are a little grumpy or irritable, become more so when they are constantly having straps messed with between their back legs all winter. To me, the butt straps are just as effective at keeping the blanket still, provided they are correctly under the tail and are short enough. I agree with the other posters that the horseware kind of plastic/rubber type straps seem to be the most durable and certainly the easiest to clean.

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Count me in as one more who uses only Rambos & has no issue with no leg straps. Even in very windy places. The three belly straps is immaterial–old Rambos had two plus the tail cord & I never had issues with those, either.

Between the v snap front & the tail cord, Rambo wins, and has ruined all other blanket brands for me. Everything else is just a pain!


I also only use Horseware blankets so they all have tail straps- no issues. Any other blankets I used to use that had leg straps got turned into tail strap blankets quickly. My guys are all on 24/7 turnout

I’ll second this! I thought I was helping the barn staff by switching to tail cords, but had to switch back to leg straps as they were just disgusting. Covered in manure. I guess it sounds like mine just fit differently given that no one else seems to have this problem. For what it’s worth, I’ve never had a problem with leg straps, and I do feel like they keep the blanket from shifting side to side when the horses roll (which a tail strap does not do).



I have found that the high neck turnouts (Rambo Wug, for ex.) do not need leg straps, and do not shift. Much preferable to gross leg straps.

I didn’t actually realize that was a thing since it’s never happened to me! I think as long as the surcingles aren’t too loose, I don’t think it could flip over

I have 4 mares and 2 geldings- never had issues with tail straps getting gross? I do really like the Rambo ones that are plastic coated though- they seem to last forever

So yes I’ve seen some horses with gross tail cords, but I never touch mine, so what’s the big deal if there’s poop on them?

You don’t need to unsnap one side of the tail cord to take the blanket off. I undo the belly straps, unsnap the front, then fold the center of the neck back so it’s matched up with the top of the tail strap, then grab the blanket and pull it back and off. No need to ever touch the tail strap.


But how do you put the blanket on? How do you get the tail through it without dragging the tail over it? Doesn’t the tail get covered in gunk? And then when you unblanket and put the blanket on the ground, the tail cord gunk gets on other parts of the blanket? And when the horse is relaxed their tail is resting on the poop-covered tail cord, getting poop on the bottom side of their tail that I then have to wash off?

At our barn horses usually get different blankets for day time and night time, as determined by the weather. And I ride 4-6 times a week. So there are a lot of blanket changes :slight_smile:

I dunno, maybe I need to see a video of how others manage their tail cords :laughing: