Every year blanket season comes around and I’m still just as confused as the year before. I always think I have learned a lot by the time I pull that blanket off mid spring but really I think I’m just glad to be all done blanketing, that I abandon everything I’ve learned and have to start all over in the fall. For me winter is easy. She has two winter blankets, one that she wears most through most of the winter and one that she wears when we are in the negatives digits. Fall and spring on the other hand, I have no idea how to dress her. Is this what it feels like to be an actual parent? I’m constantly worried that she is over dressed or under dressed. What if she’s playing outside and the other horses make fun of the way she’s dressed? What if she’s cold in the morning?
We’ve talked about this before but like most of you, I’m busy. I work, I go to grad school, I do this blog thing, and I find it hard to get out the barn just to take a blanket off or just to change her into a nice cotton blend for a breezy fall day. How do you dress someone for 60 degree days and 20 degree nights? It challenges me to say the least. Obviously this post is not about how to blanket your horse, because its quite clear I’m still trying to figure that out. This one is about horse laundry, blanket repairs, and blanket storage, because that my friends, I have figured out.
My mare has a ton of clothes. Mostly because I hoard horse stuff excessively and also because I’m challenged with blanketing. She has an actual closet in my house. There’s a few linens that belong to me but 3/4’s of the closet belongs to her. Now this was a hot mess for a while until I decided I needed to organize it. To get organized I grabbed my Bed Bath and Beyond coupons and bought a couple clothes storage zipper cases. Also, keep the zipper bags that your blankets come in! They are perfect for storage and usually have a picture on the side so they work great in a closet. I’m pretty sure the ones that I got are these, the sweater storage bags. They come two to a pack and I can fit one heavy blanket or two sheets in each one. I simply labeled the side with what is in it and done, organized horse blankets. The picture below shows her closet which is usually stocked full but I’m driving around with a mid-weight, a sheet, and fly sheet in my trunk because you never know what you might need with Chicago weather. Also they need to be washed which brings me to my next point. Horse laundry.
There’s no easy way to put this. I wash my horse stuff in my own washing machine. I know, I know, what a sin. In theory it’s kind of gross but I also used to wash my clothes in the dorms. To be honest I 100 times over would rather wash my clothes in a washing machine with horse smell rather than weird people smells. Usually in the fall and spring I am able to keep up with washing one sheet at a time but in the winter I really struggle with getting her laundry done. I also always hang it out to dry because the clink clink in the dryer drives me crazy but in the winter this isn’t an option. So I will now guide you through what I call “Operation Horse Laundry”.
This takes skill and a partner. Laundromats frown heavily upon you bringing your dirty, filthy, horse stuff into their place of business and disrupting their flow with piles of dirt and weird smells. So much so, that many of them have signs that say you can’t do this. I understand and I respect that, but if you don’t have a sign, I’m doing it. Before you go I highly suggest shaking out your blankets and brushing them of completely. It eliminates people staring and lowers the probability that you are going to get kicked out. Also make sure you got all the leg straps off and rubber band or tie up the straps so you reduce the noise and number of people staring at you. I then organize by blankets by load. I stack which blankets can get washed with what, you know according to size and weight. Then load ’em up in your car. If you have a lot of laundry to do you will need a second person. The goal is to enter the laundromat with all the loads in hand, casually walk back to the industrial machines, load, and pay before anyone knows what is going on. If you’ve already paid they most likely are not going to ask you to leave. That’s why having a second person is handy, you can tag team and get everything in the machines and going before anyone can question why you have loads of smelly laundry. I’ve enlisted my sister for this duty before and she’s allergic to horses. Just find a good person that knows the name of the game and get your laundry done!
Bonus Tip: To wash leg straps I put them all in a zippered mesh bag for delicates. I got mine at Walmart. They look like this. After you wash them you can just hang to dry.
Blanket repairs. My mare also eats her clothes. It’s wonderful. She finds a seam and then works on it into the wee hours of the night until her blanket has nice big holes throughout. I have an advantage to repairing my blankets, which is I have a sewing machine and I have sewing skills. But there’s no reason that you can’t learn. Most of the repairs I do only require a patch and the ability to sew in a semi-straight line and turn at the corners so you can sew another semi-straight line. If you don’t have a machine you can do it by hand. Large repairs might take up more time and make your hand hurt. But if you don’t have money to shell out for someone else to do the repairs or the money to buy a new blanket it might be a good option. Here is a video on doing a basic patch, she does it on a tank top but same concept except do it on a horse blanket. You can buy patches at a fabric store or use scrap fabric. There are also super sticky nylon patches you can get to put over the tear. I have never personally used these but they seem like a legit option. Here is a video that talks about the sticky nylon patches. And last but not least below you will find a tutorial on how I patch my blankets. Quality is poor because I filmed it while holding my phone and attempting to sew but the information is valuable. I hope. Make sure you subscribe so you can get updates when I post, perhaps you’ll even get more ridiculous videos from me.