May 2012--Winter?s frigid cold is a distant memory for most horse lovers and their equine in North America.? However, winter blankets may still be piled about in barns awaiting summer storage.? Follow these tips from Ozark Mountain MiniTack.com to care for and properly store your heavy or cold weather horse blankets to maximize their longevity.
Check all winter blankets for tears.? Decide what can be repaired and what should be discarded.? Clean and prepare those blankets that can be reused or that are salvageable with some attention. Replace those blankets in poor condition that may not be easily repaired.? Professional services to clean and repair horse blankets exist.? However, you can do an effective job yourself, especially if you are handy with a heavy-duty needle and thread.
To clean winter blankets, start by removing as much loose hair, dirt, mud or other debris from their surfaces as possible.? Try to do this with a stiff brush.? If that effort doesn't achieve the desired results, then use a pressure washer without any soap or cleaner.
Once the initial cleaning is done, inspect blankets for any lingering or deep stains.? Soak stained blankets in something large such as a water trough or a large plastic storage bin.? Use a small amount of detergent or a product such as a stain remover.
Before washing, remove any detachable straps from the blankets that have those. Removing these straps when possible will help prevent tangling in the washer or dryer.? Place any removable straps in something like a lingerie bag and wash them along with the blankets.
Many small equine blankets use hook-and-loop fasteners like Velcro?.? Secure such straps before washing blankets to prevent further damage to equine protective wear.? If not secured, Velcro-type ends can attach themselves to the fabric during washing or drying and cause rips and tears.
Blankets do the best in large capacity machines.? Visit a commercial, self-service laundry as needed. Be sure you?ve removed all loose hair, mud or other substances before you wash your blankets in a business setting.
Wash blankets using only a mild detergent to avoid any allergic reactions from your horses or ponies in the future.? Some of the detergents formulated for human babies work well.??? Consider using a lesser amount of cleaning product if you have animals prone to allergies.? You can also rinse blankets multiple times to be sure no soap residue remains.
Let blankets dry thoroughly.? Assess needed repairs and mend blankets accordingly.? Then, pack blankets away until next season. Avoid storage environments where blankets can be infested or damaged by insects or rodents.? Consider hanging the clean blankets or place them in well-sealed trunks or storage boxes.
Take stock of your blanket supply.? How many of your winter blankets were beyond repair and had to be discarded?? Don?t wait until next fall to replace your horse's winter gear.? Take advantage of off-season sales on winter blankets now.
Ozark MiniTack.com is a supplier of fine equine products, veterinary supplies and specialty gifts made exclusively for Miniature Horses, Miniature Donkeys, ponies and their owners. Their long-term experience, special knowledge and work with small equine makes Ozark MiniTack.com a leader in meeting the needs of small equine owners and handlers. The company prides itself on providing American-made products whenever possible and offering value at a reasonable price.? MiniTack.com guarantees its products and services.? Visit Ozark online at www.MiniTack.com or call toll free (888) 775-6446.