Spring cleaning: caring for your horse’s rugs

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More cleaning?! We hear you, owning horses is a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it.

Obviously rugs are not a cheap so it’s important to take good care of them to make them last as long as possible. After a season of use, your horse’s rugs will be in need of some TLC. Here are a few tips for reconditioning, cleaning and storing:

Check them out

Make sure you give your horse’s rugs a regular check over, even when you’re putting them on him. If you spot any holes or broken buckles/straps, make sure they won’t be a danger to your horse and fix them as soon as possible. In a tight spot the horse owner’s best friend (bailing twine) can come in really handy. 

DIY cleaning

To clean your horse rugs simply scrub off dry dirt and dust with a bristled brush and then hose them down. 

Add some horse rug wash (they work better than just using soap) to hot water and scrub it into your horse rug thoroughly with a clean brush, paying attention to any visibly dirty areas.  

When you’ve done this, rinse off the wash with clean water. 

You can also repeat the process with a horse rug conditioner to extend its durability.

Re-waterproof

You should also wash with a re-waterproofing agent every now and again, to top up your rug’s waterproof layer – there are a variety of good-quality wash in re-waterproofers on the market, look out for those specifically designed for horse rugs.  

Make use of self-service laundrettes – they’ll also have driers you can use. You can put your rugs in old duvet covers to prevent damage to the machines.

Or, get in the professionals

While it may save you a few pounds to clean your own rugs, sending them away to be professionally cleaned – and reproofed if necessary – will mean your rugs will look like new. If you’re not sure who to go to, simply search online to find someone local. They often offer a collection service and a discount for larger quantities of rugs, so get together with others at the yard to make the most of deals.

Sneaky storage life-hacks

There’s no getting away from it, rugs are bulky things and can take up a lot of room when they’re not in use. However, it’s essential that you store them somewhere where they’re going to stay clean and dry. The last thing you want is to discover that your rug is damp and mouldy just when your horse needs to wear it. There are three handy options for protecting your rugs which won’t break the bank.

  1. Firstly, you could re-use the original bag your rug came in. Many manufacturers package their rugs in robust, zip-up bags. The only trick is mastering the art of folding them up so they fit back in where they came from.

  2. A second option is to try a rug storage bag, you can find these online at a variety of prices.

  3. Lastly, you could try storing your rugs in vacuum bags. This is a popular choice, especially if you’re short on space. The zip-close bags allow you to store bulky items efficiently. Once sealed they vacuum flat to take up much less room and protect your rugs from dirt and damp in the process.

NEXT TIME: Deep cleaning your horse’s stable

For more of the spring cleaning series, check out the previous articles on cleaning your tack, and sorting out your tack room.


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