How to Reproof Horse Blankets

By Siun Griffin, Equine Physiotherapist and Community Manager at London College of Animal Osteopathy (LCAO)

Following on from Chris Bates’s article, Saving at the Stables – Horse Ownership in an Economic Crisis, here is another way to help you save money – reproofing horse blankets.

Many of us, myself included, tend to replace our horse’s outdoor blankets when they get dirty or are no longer fully waterproof. This is a quick fix, but definitely not the most economical.

By reproofing the blanket we might get another year or more out of it for a fraction of the cost. It may take a little time and advance planning, but it’s fairly simple.

Here are the steps to follow to get your horse blanket back in top shape.

Step 1 – Wash your blanket.

A clean blanket will get the best results. If you use a blanket washing service, they might even include re-waterproofing as an add-on. Get this done in the spring and your blanket will be ready to go when the cold comes back. This is the easiest way to reproof.

If you don’t use a service or the one you use doesn’t have this option wash your horse blanket the best you can and let it dry fully. Try to use a soap designed for horse blankets; many equestrian brands offer this. Never use fabric softener as this will end up damaging the fabric.

Step 2 – Choose Your Waterproofing Product

There are a number of different waterproofing products available that you can get from your favourite tack shop. Nikwax is a popular product, but you can find sprays as well.

Step 3 – Apply The Waterproofer

To use a washing product like Nikwax, place your clean blanket in the washing machine with no other products. It doesn’t have to be dry, so you can do this step after your cleaning wash.

Follow the cycle and temperature instructions on the product label.

For some washing products you don’t have to use a washing machine, you can also do it by hand. Fill a large enough, clean container with warm water and the recommended amount of waterproofing liquid. Wearing rubber gloves, mix it in.

Then place your clean blanket into the water, moving it around, so it is fully covered in the mixture. Leave it to soak for around 2 hours. Finally, rinse the blanket and hang to dry.

Another option for washing products is to sponge it on the blanket by hand.

The other type of common product is spray-on. Hang your blanket outside. It is a good idea to wear a facemask and gloves when doing this as the fumes can be pretty unpleasant and hard to get off your hands.

Using a spray product is time-consuming as you should add multiple coats to get the best results, but it’s necessary to leave 24 hours between coats.

A Few Blanket Care Tips

In addition to reproofing your horse rug, there are a few things you can do to help extend its lifespan.

  • Don’t power wash your horse blanket, this will damage the fabric making it even leakier.
  • Also avoid using stiff brushes on the outside of the blanket, as this too will cause too much damage to the material
  • Make sure your blankets are dry when storing them, so any dampness doesn’t form mould.
  • Clean and re-waterproof your blankets at least once a year.
  • The best time to re-proof horse blankets is in the spring when they are no longer needed, so they’re ready for the following winter.