What has been said in regard to the use of blankets, in Chapter XVII (Education And Care Of Roadsters And Other Light Horses), is true with slight modification when applied to their use on draft- and farm-horses. Stable blankets when judiciously used promote health and economize labor, but, when used injudiciously or of too heavy weight, they tend to injure appetite and to make horses more sensitive to the many vicissitudes which they are called upon to pass through.
Fly-blankets to be used outside of the stables are not to be recommended; fly-nets are, under certain conditions. Farm-horses should always be supplied with a throat-latch cloth when the annoying bot-flies are present. Fly-blankets of strong enough material to last a reasonable length of time prevent the free radiation of heat and moisture from the body. Leather fly-nets are not objectionable. Fly-nets and fly-blankets are both annoying to the teamster, are more or less expensive, and should not be used if reliable material for spraying the horse can be secured. The "Eureka Fly-killer" and some others are fairly satisfactory when used twice daily; they largely protect the animal, and do not soil or injure the hair, and, all things considered, they are cheaper and more satisfactory outdoor fly-protectors than blankets. A little sprayer suitable for applying the material can be purchased at almost any hardware store for a dollar or less.
Even more pains should be taken in fitting the harness of draft- and farm-horses than of drivers. See Chapter XVII (Education And Care Of Roadsters And Other Light Horses).
Horses designed for heavy work should not only be of strong build, but of height suited to their weight. Here, as in all other productive enterprises, the best of judgment should be exercised to adapt the weight of the horse to his work, and the soil upon which he is kept, and the climate in which he is used. Most farm-horses are too light for the work required, a few are too heavy. Some soils are easily tilled, some farms are hilly, some farmers do little plowing or other laborious team work. Manifestly, under such conditions, a horse weighing sixteen hundred pounds would be out of place. On the other hand, the plowing of tenacious soils, and the hauling of large loads are most economically accomplished with horses of from twelve to sixteen hundred pounds' weight. It should be remembered, however, that a horse of twelve hundred pounds in good flesh may weigh but ten hundred pounds when thin in late summer, and the horse of sixteen hundred pounds may weigh but fourteen hundred pounds when called upon to draw the heaviest loads of the year. Finally, it may be said that, in general, the farmer has been mingling the trotting strains of blood too liberally with his nondescript mares, and sometimes with ruinous results.