How to Care for Horse Rugs

High quality horse rugs can be costly, but caring for them properly will ensure that they last for many years. Here are some tips for washing, weatherproofing, and storing horse rugs.

One Rug or Two?

In extreme weather conditions, it pays to get two horse rugs rather than one, so that you can keep your equine friend feeling comfortable while you allow the second rug to dry and air out after exposure to mud, manure, and smelly urine. Every morning, check the rug your horse has been wearing. If it is dirty or damp, hang it up and allow it to dry, and swap it for a clean rug. Once the dirty rug has dried, you can brush it clean so it’s ready to use when needed.

Washing Horse Rugs

When horse rugs start to look overly dirty or become stained, it’s time for a wash. If you are lucky, you’ll be able to send them off to a local specialist who will do the heavy work for you. If you want to wash the horse rugs yourself, you’ll need to use a heavy-duty washing machine, cold water, and no chemical bleaches or detergents. Be prepared to clean up the washer after you launder the horse rugs, as it’s likely they’ll leave a pile of dirt and hair behind.

Dry the rugs on low or no heat if it’s too damp or cold to hang them up outside. Prompt drying is important as mildew can grow if rugs are allowed to sit while damp.

After washing, inspect your rugs for damage. You should replace any broken straps, and repair any tears – even minor ones can cause problems later.

Weatherproofing Horse Rugs

If moisture is no longer beading up on your horse rugs, it’s time to re-proof them. Weatherproofing horse rugs is not at all difficult and the more frequently you tend to this task, the longer your rugs will last, and the better they’ll work for your horse. Buy a high-quality waterproofing spray that is breathable and rated for use with the fabric that the outer layer of the rug is made from. You can typically find sprays like this at stores that carry sports or camping equipment. Apply the weatherproofing spray to the clean, dry rug in a well-ventilated area. Be sure that you allow it to dry completely before putting the rug back on your horse.

Storing Horse Rugs Properly

Your rugs will last longer if you store them properly during the seasons when they’re not being used. Before storage, wash, dry, and repair the rugs. Give them a weatherproofing treatment if needed. Next, package them carefully in plastic bins or vacuum sealed bags, in an area where they will not be exposed to dirt, rodents, or insects. Nothing is worse than getting ready for cold weather only to discover that animals have nested in your horse rugs, or that they’ve been exposed to moisture and are ruined.  

With proper care, your horse rugs will last for many seasons.

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