Spring is here! The birds are chirping, flowers are poking through the barren ground, and your horse is shedding. For equestrians, spring brings more time in the saddle. It also means that it’s time to pack up the winter blankets and say goodbye to them until the snows flies once more.
Winter blankets are a big investment, so it is paramount that they last as long as possible. Follow along with us for suggestions on how to best care for your horse’s blankets during the off season so they will be ready when you need them again.
Wash, Rinse, Repeat
When it comes to storing blankets, the first rule of thumb is to make sure that they are as clean as possible. Moisture and ammonia from urine and manure can quickly degrade the integrity of the blanket, and in extreme cases it literally causes the stitching or the blanket fabric to fall apart.
We recommend using a commercial washing machine for this task; if you plan bring the blankets to a laundromat, make sure that they allow horse blankets. Utilize a blanket wash, such as Nikwax Rug Wash or Bucas Blanket Wash to gently remove dirt and other stains, while revitalizing the insulation.
After washing, use a commercial dryer or hang to dry. Make sure that you give the blanket more than ample time to dry! A moist blanket will develop mold and mildew when in storage. Heavyweight and mid-weight blankets can take literally days to air dry, so be patient. If you missed this step last year, don’t fret; OdorKlenz Laundry Additive – Mildew and Odor Remover can assist you in returning your horse’s blanket to its former glory.
If you are preparing a waterproof blanket for storage, you may want to treat it with a waterproofing spray, such as Nikwax TX-Direct Spray-On or Silicone Water-Guard Repellent, so it can maintain its water repellent properties and be ready for action next season.
Patch It Up
After your horse’s blankets are properly washed and dried, it is time to look it over for any damage that may have been inflicted during the cold winter months. Horses and ponies can be rough on their winter rugs, so now is the time to give your blankets some much deserved tender loving care.
Easily take care of large holes and rips with the Rambo Blanket Repair Kit, which contains a tube of Stormsure flexible repair adhesive, some sheets of nylon coated fabric patches, and an instruction sheet. Small tears can quickly be patched with Schneiders Stormshield Blanket Repair Tape, which is pressure sensitive and self-sticking for iron-on use; or Tear Mender Instant Fabric & Leather Adhesive, which mends seams without sewing and dries after only 15 minutes.
Now is also the time to pick up any missing parts and pieces as well. Nothing is worse than putting on a blanket on that first frigid night of fall and finding out that you are missing a leg strap! We stock an extensive selection of leg straps and surcingles to ensure that you have access to all of those pesky potentially missing pieces.
Insulated blankets can take up a lot of space. After cleaning, drying, and repairing your blanket, now is the time to figure out what to do with it for the summer months.
The Shires Small Blanket Bag holds two winter blankets, keeping them safe when they are not in use. When filled, these convenient blanket bags stack well or easily fit in the bottom of a tack trunk.
Vacuum sealed bags are a great way to decrease the amount of room that you need for your blankets. Simply fold up the blanket, place it into the bag, and utilize your household vacuum cleaner to suck out all of the excess air. You will be amazed by how much the bag shrinks! You may want to mark the bag with the size of the blanket or the name of your horse so that it is easy to locate next season.
If you don’t have access to vacuum bags, fold the blankets tightly and store them in a heavy duty plastic tote bin. Mice and other rodents often find blankets to be an appealing place to build their nests, so consider putting Fresh Cab Botanical Rodent Repellent in the tote to dissuade little critters from making themselves comfortable.
Have Us Do It!
The easiest way to care for your blanket is leave to it to us! Bring in your blankets to our Swanzey, NH, store (the dirtier the better!) and let our experienced blanket cleaning and repair service do all the heavy lifting.
We will launder your blanket with our equine-safe blanket cleanser, and then meticulously inspect each inch of your blanket. We professionally patch even the smallest of holes so that they don’t turn into larger problems down the road.
After your blanket bears our seal of approval, we carefully prepare it for its journey back to your barn. Deliberately folded and packed into heavy-duty plastic tote bag, your blanket is ready to store until the temperatures drop again.
When your horse begins to shed, it is most likely time to shed that winter blanket. Properly storing your horse’s blankets allow them to last longer, and it also means that they are ready to go at a moment’s notice. Take the time this spring to ensure that your blankets can keep your horse and pony warm and toasty next winter.
At The Cheshire Horse, we understand just how important your horses are to you. We realize that their winter blankets are an essential piece to keeping your horse healthy and comfortable. Our experienced sales staff is always available to answer any questions that you may have, in order to assist you in selecting the proper products for your situation.