Storing Away Winter Horse Rugs

Now that spring has arrived, now is a great time to start slowly cleaning and stowing away your winter rugs and begin bringing out your summer rugs.

Taking the time to appropriately review, repair, wash and store your winter horse rugs is the best way to make sure they are ready to use next winter. Nothing is worse for your horse (or your hip pocket) than pulling a rug out of storage that is no longer fit for use. Getting the most out of your horse rugs isn’t hard, it just takes some time, planning and a little knowledge. Read on and learn how to put your rugs in storage correctly.

Believe it or not, Spring isn’t that far away. The morning frost and the chill air of the stable may say otherwise for now but the end of the cold is finally approaching. With this change in season comes a change in the horse riding equipment we use to protect our horses and keep them comfortable. Away go your heavy turnout rugs, stable rugs and quilted winter horse rugs, and out come your lightweight summer horse rugs and rain sheets

After a season of use and repeated change over it is likely your rugs will look a little tired and dirty and your method of storage could be looking out of sorts. Out of this chaos we can create order. Here are four simple steps that in the short-term won’t take that much time to learn and implement……and in the long-term will save you money.

  1. Review 
  • Lay the rug out or hang it outstretched and check all stitching and linings
  • Look carefully for frayed stitching and rips
  • Assess the condition of any waterproofing that has been layered
  • Make note of the presence and condition of all strap and hardware attachments

Tack Tip - The more issues you find the closer you will be to either having to repair your rug or to replace it. Most high performance brands offer an extensive range of replacement accessories for their rugs which you can get at reasonable prices. 

  1. Repair
  • Create a list for the things you need to repair
  • Discuss your repair with your local Rug Washing & Reproofing Service

Tack Tip - If you think your rug still has life in it, investigate if repairing it is worth the time and money. We suggest you call your local Rug Washing & Reproofing Service. They will let you know whether your rug can be repaired and provide a rough quote. If it costs as much to repair as it would to buy a new one, then why not surprise your equine friend with a fresh new horse rug.

  1. Wash
  • Carefully read the washing instructions and make sure you understand them
  • If you intend on washing them yourself, use the right detergents and gear
  • Line dry your rugs…….do not tumble dry
  • Visit the product website or contact your horse gear online stockist if you are unsure
  • Cutting corners during the washing process (like using hot water, strong detergents pressure cleaners, dryers etc) can create immediate and lasting damage to your rug
Tack Tip - Washing heavy rugs in small washing machines is a sure fire way to kill your washing machine. This is a costly rookie mistake so pursue this short cut at your peril. Again, unless you have the machinery, time and products best suited to your rugs, we’d strongly encourage you employ the services of a professional Horse Rug Cleaner. They can wash, re-waterproof and repair your rug, giving it a whole new lease on life. 
  1. Store
  • Make sure your rugs are completely dry before storing them or they’ll go mouldy
  • Brush off any dirt on the outside of the rug and spot clean
  • Use a curry comb or vacuum to remove remaining hair from the lining of the rug
  • Where possible, store your rugs in air-tight, rodent proof bins or in strong and sturdy horse rug bag like those from PEI or Kentucky
horse rug bag

Tack Tip - When folding your rug, fold all appendages like tail flaps and neck coverings inside. Fold lengthwise first then width wise so you minimise the amount of space the rug will take.

High performance horse rugs are not cheap so a little knowledge goes a long way in making sure you get the most out of your investment….and in keeping your horse healthy, happy and comfortable all year round.

At Active Equine we love riding, engaging with riders and providing the highest quality horse riding gear and advice. So please don’t be afraid to drop us a line with a question or product insight you have. We’d love to hear from you.