Because horse blankets aren’t cheap, knowing how to effectively repair them can save you hundreds of dollars. If you’re on the road or trail and need a quick, immediate fix for a blanket tear, try one of the following:
- For small tears to Polyester blankets, use a cigarette lighter to melt small holes and frays. But be sure to use common sense and take the blanket OFF your horse before attempting.
- Duct Tape! It will hold a torn blanket together until you are able to better repair it.
- For larger tears and holes, use an iron-on or denim patch (available at discount department stores).
Some basic instructions for blanket repairs:
- Clean the blanket first and make sure it’s completely dry before starting repairs.
- Assess the damage to find out if the tear is superficial or if it involves the inner lining or filling.
- Use an iron-on patch as the cheapest, easiest method for repair to the outer layer of a blanket or sheet. Trim it to fit, apply iron heat to the patch, and wait until it’s completely cool to move the blanket.
- For larger tears or for ones that go through multiple layers of the blanket, sewing is your best bet. Use basic sewing strokes and sew from the underside of the blanket. Make it tight, but don’t allow the material to bunch up.
- Your local tack or feed shop should be able to provide you with replacement buckles, hooks, or straps.
- If the damage is severe, particularly with waterproof blankets, it may still be more cost-efficient to hire a professional seamstress than to spend another hundred dollars or so on a new blanket.
Below is an excerpt on blanket care and repair from Thrifty Horsekeeping's "Tack and Supplies" chapter:
“Clean your horse’s blankets and coolers each winter and at the end of the season before packing and storing them up for the rest of the year. This will prevent dirt and hair from getting ground into the material, and will prolong the blankets’ lifespan. If possible, save money by not sending them to the dry cleaners, but cleaning them yourself while following the manufacturers’ instructions. Cleaning blankets is often as simple as using a water hose, a stiff brush, inexpensive livestock shampoo, and, of course, some elbow grease. But depending on the material, many coolers and sheets can be machine washed. Polarfleece can easily be tossed in the washer and dryer, while cotton and wool goods should be washed in cold water and hung out to dry. If you put them in the dryer, they will quickly become pony-sized!
When possible, try to repair rather than replace torn blankets, as many can be hand-sewn. The moment a blanket gets a small tear, repair it before it gets bigger. If you’re not handy with a needle and thread, try easy and durable iron-on jean patches. They may not look as pretty, but they’re saving you money. Suitability Equestrian Patterns offers a wide variety of patterns for making (or repairing) your own sheets, blankets, pads, and even equestrian clothing, at www.Suitability.com.
Another thing to keep in mind are the surcingles on sheets and blankets that can become unbuckled after a good roll or romp in the pasture. If your horse steps on a dangling strap, not only will he tear the blanket but potentially injure himself. One cheap way to prevent surcingles from coming undone is to purchase rubber bands similar to donut farm animal castration bands. Stretch a band over the top of the “T” of the buckle and rest it around the neck so that the surcingle will not be able to jiggle loose.”