As Red Highlights gets under way, I was trying to think of a pattern to follow for our bi-weekly posts. Start off Mondays with something of a go-get-em vibe; then send everyone into the weekend with a how-to or interesting tid-bit on Thursdays. And so today, on the heels of making blanketing decisions, I thought I would talk about blanketing. Except that it is now 65° outside. And rainy. So I guess blanketing still applies? Personal preference. I chose to blanket with waterproof rugs. And I am sure my decision will be met with mud and varying degrees of “how did that happen.” Because, well, horses have this way of leaving us with more questions than answers… like how does a horse manage to deposit their hood three paddocks over. Rather not know. In any event, there is something I can help you figure out as someone once helped me. And that is blanket care.
It is no secret that I believe whole-heartedly in Effol and Effax products. My love-affair came honestly and I have yet to find their match. But did you know that Effax also makes a product line called Hey Sport? It is a whole line-up of textile care products designed to lengthen and breathe life into all sorts of fabrics. Including horse blankets. No kidding. Should you be lucky enough to have your own washing machine, live near a laundromat that allows animal laundry, or at least near a place you can .007 your way through a load without getting caught; Hey Sport textile care products not only cleans and protects your blankets and saddle pads, but your clothing and performance-wear as well. And does it in an environmentally friendly way to boot. In every sense of the word, Effax has gone above and beyond in defining how to care for our equipment. Which sends me back to our horse-mud-waterproof decision. Given the expense to which we go in purchase price and man-power to make sure our ponies are comfortable and protected, why leave the very fibers doing the work to suffer?
As with leather, sweat, grease and the environment wreak havoc on our equipment. So to care for your investment, first apply the common sense approach. Brush off excess mud and debris with a stiff brush. I make it part of the grooming process by grooming the blanket before I remove it to groom the horse. Next, be sure to allow wet blankets to dry thoroughly — especially if the waterproofing has failed. Allowing a wet blanket to dry from the inside out on the horse can cause a horse to chill and allows for bacterial growth. And when it does come time to wash the blanket, remember one thing: never use detergent. While detergent is fabulous at cutting grime and grease, it strips away the often built-in components of the fabric’s attributes (such as waterproofing). It can also void the warranty that might have come with the product. Also, never machine dry blankets. This too can ruin the waterproofing and void warranties. And while on the subject of drying, never hang a wet blanket near an electrical box. It can be tough to find a place to hang wet blankets in a barn in winter. Somewhat impossible really. So if there is absolutely no place to hang a wet blanket after washing, do your best to keep the blanket clean with plain old elbow grease until weather permits.
Great Tip! Attaching those marvelous little rubber surcingle bands around the t-hooks not only helps to keep the surcingle in the receiver while on the horse, but helps to keep the t-part of the surcingle from getting stuck in the little holes of the washing machine drum!