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Horse rug care tips

ArticleHow to - Tack and EquipmentWednesday 22 June 2011
By David Bartram

Here's article with 10 top tips for good horse rug care...

1. Check Your Rug Every Day
Horse rugs are an important piece of horse equipment, and for them to be safe and comfortable for your horse to use, you need to look after them. Every day you should check your horse rug for damage. It’s important to check the outside and inside of the fabric for any tears.

2. Don’t Forget Straps & Fittings
In addition to checking the fabric, every day you should check the strap for tears and check the metal fittings. The metal fittings can become twisted or broken, at which point you should have them repaired or replaced immediately.

3. Keep a Spare Rug
When a horse rug needs to be washed or repaired, it’s essential to have a spare rug for your horse to use in the meantime.

4. Stable Rugs – A Good Idea?
Many equestrians use non-waterproof stable rugs when their horse is indoors, but these absorb moisture easily and soon become smelly. They are bulky and difficult to wash in an ordinary washing machine. For these reasons, many professionals avoid stable rugs altogether. Instead, they keep a second turnout rug – make sure the horse only wears this rug indoors, so it doesn’t get covered in mud! A turnout rug won’t absorb moisture and get fusty like a stable rug. To give the warmth your horse will need at night, you can use a cotton sheet or a thermal knitted blanket as an under-layer, depending upon how cold it is. Sheets or blankets easy to wash regularly in an ordinary washing machine. With this method the horse’s coat will stay clean, and you only need to wash the outer rug once at the end of the winter!

5. Wash at 30 degrees celsius
Always wash a horse rug at 30 degrees. Hand washing is a good idea but often impractical. If you have trouble washing your horse rugs, never fear, because there are more top cleaning tips below.

6. Old Tights Can Protect Your Washing Machine
If you’re worried about the damage caused by the metal fittings clanging around in your washing machine, try tying a length of old tights around the sharpest areas, to cushion them.

7. Never Dry Clean a Horse Rug
It’s not appropriate and it will damage the horse rug, so avoid dry cleaning at all costs!

8. Use a Launderette
If you can’t fit your horse rug into your washing machine, you might consider using specialist horse rug laundering services. These are effective, but if you need to save money it might be worth asking a local launderette if you’re allowed to wash horse rugs in their machines. Many launderettes will have one machine designated for dirty or muddy items which you can use. Remember to check the temperature and set it to 30 degrees, as it is likely to be set high. This can be a lot cheaper than using specialist services.

9. Buy a Pressure Washer
Many horse owners do away with washing machines and launderettes altogether. Instead, they buy a pressure washer. Prices start around £70 at DIY stores, but you might offset the cost by clubbing together with other horse-owning friends. They’re also useful for washing cars and paving stones! When applied to horse rugs a pressure washer blasts away mud and dirt very easily. Plain water may well be enough, but most pressure washers also have a reservoir in which you can put some rug shampoo if you want to.

10. Store Your Horse Rug Properly
A horse rug should be stored hanging to allow it to air dry easily. Once dry, a folded horse rug should be stored in a well-ventilated area.

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