How to Store Your Winter Horse Blankets

Clean, Fold, and Store Your Winter Horse Blankets

For many of us, blanketing our horse in the winter is necessary. That means we’ve collected a variety of blankets, sheets, and coolers. At the end of the season, we often find ourselves wondering how to properly store our horse blankets to help extend the life of it? In this blog, we'll walk you through what needs to be done before storing your blankets, how to fold and store your blankets, and tips to make the process work best for you.

Step 1: How to Clean & Repair Your Horse Blankets

You don't want to put your horse blankets or sheets away dirty. They'll only be harder to clean when you need to use them again. Turnout blankets are waterproof, and that coating can be stripped from the fabric if blankets are incorrectly washed. It is essential to follow the care instructions included with the blanket.

If you have an appropriately sized washing machine available, you can wash stable blankets, coolers, sheets, and turnout blankets in a specially designed detergent. Using a detergent specifically made for horse blankets will prolong the life of your blankets by keeping the fabrics clean, breathable, and waterproof, with the added benefit of keeping your blanket colors bright and looking new.

Our Schneiders® Blanket Wash has an extra strength formula designed specifically to be effective on even the heaviest soil without leaving any residue that could irritate your horse's sensitive skin. This detergent quickly and effectively removes dirt, urine, and manure while being environmentally friendly, phosphate-free, and bio-degradable, all without compromising the protective waterproof layer on your turnout blankets.

You can also look for local blanket washing services in your area. If you have a local tack store, they may be able to point you in the right direction. Oftentimes, they’ll even offer blanket washing and repairing services themselves. For example, our store in Chagrin Falls, OH offers a blanket cleaning service where dirty blankets can be dropped off and picked up after cleaning. Services like this are excellent if your washing machine is too small for your blankets, if your local laundromat does not allow horse blankets to be washed in their machines, or if you would rather have someone else deal with the washing.

When it comes to repairing your horse blankets, most blanket washing services also offer simple repair for small tears or broken straps. For minor nicks and tears that don't require professional mending, you can oftentimes find additional straps and repair kits online.

Step 2: How to Properly Fold Your Horse Blankets for Storage

Now that your blankets are clean, it's time to fold and store them. Folding your blankets will allow you to maximize the number you can fit in the storage bag or tub. There's no one right way to fold your blanket for storage or even for hanging on a blanket bar, but we'll walk you through a few of the most common and easy options.

Option 1: Folding Your Horse Blanket for Storage

Fold Horse Blanket for Storage

  1. On a clean flat surface, lay your blanket down with it folded at the spine, surcingle/bellyband side facing you.
  2. Bring the belly straps up and onto the body of the blanket; this will keep them tucked in.
  3. Start at the back of the blanket, fold it into the middle, then do the same with the front of the blanket. You've folded the blanket to a third of the size now.
  4. Lastly, take the bottom of the blanket and fold it up to the top. You can stop here, or on thinner sheets and coolers, you could fold the blanket one more time.

Option 2: Folding Your Horse Blanket to Hang on Stall Door

Fold Horse Blanket for Stall Door

  1. On a clean flat surface, lay your blanket down with it folded at the spine, surcingle/bellyband side facing you.
  2. Bring the belly straps up and onto the body of the blanket; this will keep them tucked in.
  3. Fold the blanket over so the spine and bottom of the blanket meet.
  4. Lastly, pick the blanket up at the middle and fold, then fold at the middle a second time. This is also a great way to fold your blanket to hang neatly on a stall front blanket bar.

Step 3: How to Store Your Horse Blankets

The way you store your horse blankets is equally essential to the cleaning and care of the blankets. Once you've cleaned and folded your blankets, you wouldn't want to leave them uncovered to gather dust or be destroyed by rodents, insects, or weather damage. There are a few ways to store your winter horse blankets to keep them protected, tidy, and out of the way when not in use.

Horse Blanket Bags are a popular option because they come in various sizes and materials. Many can be hung up in your tack room or on stall doors. Most horsewear bags are made of polyester or nylon, making them more durable than plastic storage bags. Stall front bags allow you to store your every horse's blankets on their stall all year long. Alternatively, storage bags without straps to attach to stalls are great for hayloft, feed, or tack room storage options. These options are great for stacking and coordinating more blankets for each horse. Many of these blanket bags have built-in label slots or see-through sections to help identify what blankets are located inside the horsewear bag.

To save even more space, vacuum-sealed storage bags are a popular option. The clear bags used on their own make it easy to tell what blankets are stored inside. They can also be used with other horsewear storage bags or tubs to fit more inside.

Plastic tubs or totes are popular for blanket storage when you have concerns about critters getting into your blankets. They are also a stand-alone stacking option, unlike horsewear storage bags, which require shelves.

Tips & Tricks for Storing Your Horse Blankets

  • Label your blanket bags or totes with the size and weight of the blankets included as well as your horse's name. This will make finding the blankets and sheets you need in fall and winter easier. An additional step is to tag each blanket as well. This is helpful when the blankets are in use, so no matter who needs to blanket your horse, they know which blanket is your medium weight or heavyweight.
  • Check the elastic leg straps or tail cords on your blankets. If any are missing or need to be replaced, do so before storing your blanket. It's the worst when you pull your sheet or blanket out in the fall, only to realize there are no hind leg straps for you to use with it.
  • Even after being washed, blankets can be musty after months of being in a blanket bag or tote. Add a few dryer sheets to your blanket storage bag or tote to keep your blankets fresh through the storage season.
  • Sometimes your horse's blankets can be ultra-dirty or smelly, so you need to amp up how you wash your blanket. Schneiders® Odor Eliminator can be used as an additive in the wash cycle to remove odors such as mold, mildew, urine, or manure. It can also be diluted in a spray bottle to deodorize when needed.
  • After years of washing your turnout blankets, you may need to touch up the waterproofing. A spray-on treatment like Schneiders® Spray On Blanket Re-Proofer will revitalize turnout blankets or sheets, allowing you additional years of use.

Storing winter horse blankets doesn't need to be a hassle year after year. Hopefully, these tips, tricks, and storage steps will help make blanket storage easy. Let us know how you fold your horse blankets or any tricks you use when storing your horse blankets.