Colic! WWYVD (What Would Your Vet Do)

Another Fun Read from Dr. Al, Your Pet’s Pal!

Whether your new to LBR or a returning friend, WELCOME and WELCOME BACK!

As we start focusing on the cold months ahead and preparing our barns, pastures, horses and ourselves for winter, we wanted to take a minute to focus on one of the biggest health concerns we face during the winter! COLIC!

While colic’s can happen any day of the year, we often face colic’s in the winter. Most often winter colic’s are related to dehydration, changes in weather, changes in forage, or decreased pasture time. Winter related colic are most often impactions, and typically a few medications to ease pain and relax the horse, as well as some mineral oil and water administration, can do the trick to get your horse back to it’s normal self! Occasionally, treatment at an equine hospital for further treatment may be required. That being said, impaction colic’s are typically easier to treat if intervention is early on.

If you notice your horse just doesn’t seem right, a phone call to your vet is probably worth it. Waiting 16 hours, and calling the vet at 10pm because you can’t sleep because your horse didn’t eat at the morning or evening feedings, and is still uncomfortable, isn’t a good start to a treatment plan.

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WHY?!

Impaction colic occurs when digested material slows down and stops moving efficiently in the horses gut. Pain is often associated when distention occurs from forage, feed, and gas getting stopped up behind this blockage.

PREVENTION?!

Dehydration, changes in weather, changes in forage and decreased pasture time, can all contribute to increased risk for colic. As mentioned many times before, it is of the utmost importance for a horse to always have easy access to plenty of water. So making sure that water is thawed at all times, is essential. We highly recommend heated buckets or water trough heaters. Keep in mind, that an average horse will drink 8-10 gallons of water a day, and will not be able to accomplish this with frozen water. Another thing to consider is that some horses do prefer heated water. Other options include adding electrolytes or a teaspoon of salt into feed; this may entice a horse to drink more. Even adding water to feed would provide them an extra source of water. So if you find that your horse is not drinking much, it may be worth a try.

Horses this time of the year go from eating water rich grass, to dry hay. This can be another source of colic. Hay becomes the largest source of forage, and is used for more than just feed, but also to help fuel it’s furnace and create heat during the coldest of days and nights. The problem is, if the horse is only consuming hay  in the morning, in the evening the horse’s gut will start to slow. With the slowing of the gut and the consuming of dry forage, this becomes a large risk for impaction.  Some ideas would be to provide a slow feeder filled with hay, this will allow the hay to be available longer (in most circumstances).  Another way to keep the gut moving effectively would be to make sure that the horse is turned out as much as possible.

Physical activity and movement helps improve the motility of the gut. However, during inclement weather horses may be kept in for long periods of time, and many of these episodes can be sudden.  These sudden changes in a horses activity, diet, and weather can increase your chances of colic. It is hard to say whether it is the weather that causes colic or just the fact that owners are keeping a closer watch over their horses while they are stalled.  So keep an eye on your horse, look for areas where you can add more water, more exercise, or increase forage, and help do your part in preventing colic as much as possible.

colic2

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS?

If your horse just doesn’t seem right, especially not eating a meal or acting uncomfortable, they may be your first signs. You may also notice the horse becoming unsettled or restless;  they may start pawing, sweating, stretching with hind legs, or looking at belly, rolling, laying down, thrashing, or even trying to lay on it’s back.

Call the Vet before things get worse, but you may want to monitor some vital signs for your knowledge and to give your vet a heads up before his or her arrival. Things you can do: monitor respiration’s, check heart rate, and check temperature are 3 of the easiest ways to check your horses condition.

colic3

In conclusion, preventing colic and early detection of possible signs of colic give you the best chance of it not becoming more severe.  Sometimes a quick call to your vet can yield advice that you can use to treat your horse at home yourself.  It at least may give them a heads up so that they may be able to adjust their schedule early in the day to fit you in for a visit.  Probably the biggest factor in preventing colic, especially in the winter is constant access to drinkable water; and that leads into our next discussion….

The Time is NOW! WWYVD (What Would Your Vet Do?!)

vet advice at Laura's Blanket Repair

From the Desk of Dr. Al, Your Pet’s Pal!

It’s time…YES! IT IS TIME! Believe it or not, now is when you want to start getting ready for winter…if you haven’t already started planning! Fall is where a successful winter season is made!

Planning ahead and getting prepared is critical to the ease and success of the winter season with horses.

1. As we all know, hay is crucial in the winter months. Not only does hay provide a source of forage and nutrition, but also it causes  the horse  to drink more to stay hydrated.  It also helps the horse to regulate heat during the cold months.  Fall is the time to finish up your hay search…and if you haven’t started stacking….it’s time to start! It will be easier to come by and less expensive then waiting until November 30th and deciding you better stock up. Tip: Grab you husband or wife, grab an adult libation…or two, and spend a cool evening stacking. It is cooler in the evenings and you should always remember to hydrate!(this will also make the stacking process more fun :))

Laura's Blanket Repair Loves Preparing for Winter

 

**If you haven’t had your horses teeth looked at yet this year, now would be a great time. All that hay and fiber will require some good chompers, so call out your favorite equine dentist or have your veterinarian check your horse’s teeth to make sure your horses is ready this winter!**

2. Water sources! Install NO FREEZE WATER SPIGOTS and HYDRANTS! Install them in several areas near paddocks so that you don’t need to run hoses that freeze and become useless in winter.  Find them at home improvement stores or online for between $50-$150, it is well worth it, easy to install and will save you a TON of time and hassle in the winter! No more replacing busted spigots and hydrants!  As you trench your new waterlines, also install electric lines and put an outlet near your spigot.  That way you can put a stock tank de-icer  in your water to keep it from freezing without needing extension cords.

 

**As the weather gets cooler, horses become less interested in their water. So it is important that water is always available and appealing, this will help prevent colic and dehydration. Do what you can to keep your water from freezing (hopefully we have a while before we are concerned about that!), make sure there is plenty of water available, and if needed a little electrolyte powder to feed can help!**

3. NOW is the time to go get heated water buckets and/or a water heater for your trough (before your local farm store runs out!) Cord or no cord, water is more important. I have seen several horses die from impaction colics in the winter, and none from a cord of a water heater (maybe I’m just lucky). So take a risk for the sake of drinkable water, and in fact while your out…BUY YOURSELF AN EXTRA! Do not be the one doing the “ISO posts” looking for water heaters and heated water buckets at 6pm before the big freeze that night! If cared for these buckets and heaters can last a few years and are so handy to have on hand, just in case! DO NOT FIND YOURSELF WITHOUT, be responsible, be prepared! A horse should have water available at all hours of the day and easy access to it. Without water you are risking colic and other health issues that we will not delve into just yet!

 

4. Here is an example of an outdoor weatherproof covered power outlets to install by your water sources. This will provide you a power source to connect your heating device to, and keep that water thawed.

Weatherproof Outlet Cover
http://a.co/d/60rH55r

5. It is always helpful to have a hose that is short that can connect to a spigot and be just long enough to reach to a water trough. If you have any hoses that are rolled up, make sure they are drained and discontinue them for the winter. Then use this short hose, disconnect after each use and hang up. This will make sure that your hose never freezes or breaks, and it is always ready to use. Should you need a long hose, a GREAT idea and what we have on back up is a long collapsible hose. You can get them from home improvement stores, Amazon,  Wal-Mart, and in all sizes. They will collapse, be super light weight, you can disconnect from the water supply, let it drain out, wrap it up and take it inside with you in a bucket to be ready for when you go out. I prefer to take it with me, just so any access water does not freeze. But again, I still like the classic short hose.

6. NOW would be a perfect time to think back to last winter, is there anything that you should have changed to make your life easier? Or was there anything that happened this summer that you may not have been able to fix, repair or keep up with during the hot weather or while you were so busy during your competition season? This includes things like pipes, hoses, shovels, plows, blankets, fence boards, popped nails, barn doors…I’m sure you have something on your list! So, NOW is the time to inspect, replace, repair, or send off for service. We all know the feeling of waiting for the perfect weather for all those great ideas we have to upgrade things in the barn and pasture, or to drop items off for repair….then eventually forget while we keep waiting for that perfect weather day, and the time needed! Well, we are here to remind you, it’s better to get done now…time is ticking and cold weather is inevitable.

Nailed It
Grab your hammer, and take a walk!!

These are just 6 of the many ways you can be prepared for the winter ahead. It may seem like months away, but you do not want to be the one in a panic looking for what you need! Prepare now, and stay warm later!

Thank you and Have a WONDERFUL sunny remainder of what’s left of the season!

~Dr. Al and LBR

XX

 

To Toss or To Repair…

CONGRATS!

Your blanket was lucky enough to survive another harsh winter! AND Now, it’s that time of year to get it washed, repaired, waterproofed, and ready for the next season.

BUT WAIT….what if your blanket is torn, shredded, worn out….the question is, when do we say enough is enough? What is the difference between worn and torn?

Well, here are my suggestions for you. If you are looking to have blankets that are in working order, that are doing what they’re intended to do, then the following information is for you!  Worn or Torn? It is a hard question that all horse blanket owners must decide on, and while it seems like it would be easy to determine the difference…sometimes it is NOT!

brown horse eating grass on a field
Photo by juan mendez on Pexels.com

TORN?

Did your horse do this? These problems are things that can be easily repaired, and at Laura’s Blanket Repair, repairs are AFFORDABLE, not the cost of a NEW BLANKET! Your blanket can be repaired, patched and back in working order quickly! Will it be as strong as it was before? NO! That is because now you have “weak” spot in your blanket. Your blanket it not one continuous piece any more. **However, at Laura’s Blanket Repair, we take the time to mend each tear before patching! There may be situations where it is challenging to do, but we do our very best to repair all problems before patching over!** This will allow for longer wear, less weak spots, less of a chance that this will happen again in the same spot, or that the same spot will continue to create problems.

 

WORN?

These are the blankets that have gone thru winter after winter, that have protected your horse as it was meant to do, and worked it’s way into your heart and your home, but now….now it is tired. Maybe it’s the nylon webbing straps and edging that you noticed started to fray first, starting to disintegrate, spots are becoming bare. Nylon webbing can be replaced, or repaired in some situations, and that should not be the death sentence to your blanket, however it is the first sign that your blanket is starting to degrade.

But, what if you start notice that the inner lining is starting to wear, that there are holes are from wear, not from any pulls, getting caught, rubbing on something, or mice chewing into it. What if the outer shell now feels like a sheet on your bed, it is so thin and worn, pulling in spots and bare in others. These are other signs. So what is the problem? Well, we can definitely repair these when they first start, however next year, I can almost guarantee that those wears will be bigger, probably now starting where the worn spot was patched, even though we took all precautions and repaired it before patching. The problem is, is that the patches are now stronger that the material itself, and as it starts to wear…it will just continue. Spots will pull, and little by little the blanket becomes just a faint image of what it used to look like fresh and new.  It is a hard path to go down, but if the patch is stronger than the blanket, the blanket will not last and the patch will not do much good in the long run. It is time…

red coupe on flatbed trailer
Photo by Mikes Photos on Pexels.com

 

WHAT TO DO NOW?!

So your blanket has lot of worn spots, they keep spreading, getting bigger and starting to form all over the blanket. The nylon is worn, shredding and it seems like the blanket is falling apart or you can see your hand thru the worn spot in they lining. What to do?! Well, you’d hate to donate it…it may not provide much good to horses that are at rescues as the blanket is not really functioning well, *no matter how many times you waterproof*.

You could donate to your horse blanket laundry, many times they get good and well functioning blankets in that no longer have a good use at a barn, or people do not feel like selling. Maybe someone wanted a whole new blanket because hardware was missing. These blankets are typically donated to horse rescues. Your donated blanket, if there is any hardware that is in still good and functioning condition, could be used to go onto those good blankets that people no longer have a use for, and be then donated to horses in need.

You could donate to your horse blanket laundry, and hardware can be stripped down and recycled appropriately.

OR

You could bury, toss or burn.

bonfire burning campfire fire
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Hope that Helps

Well I hope that helps you gain a better understanding of what blankets to get ready for next year, or when to make plans for a different future. Sometimes it’s better to be knowledgeable on the future of your blanket before you get the dreaded call from your Blanket Repair company asking you “What is the future purpose of this blanket? Are we looking to make functional as a back up? or Looking to Make Pretty? Because this blanket may not make it another year, and it may not be worth the cost.”

The future of your blanket  is up to you, however sometimes….it may not be worth the cost to repair those that are WORN! The repairs will only be temporary before another problem quickly arises. I try to save you money when I can, but sometimes we need to get new (consider all that you have saved in the past with your blanket service like money in the bank!!)

animal animal photography blur close up
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Until Next time Friends,

 

~*~ LBR~*~

 

xx

 

P.S. Looking for a new blanket? Consider checking out THIS page for helpful information on which blanket to buy or THIS page to help determine if you need a stable blanket or a turn out!

Winter Water Importance!

vet advice at Laura's Blanket Repair

From Dr. Al, Your Pet’s Pal!

It never fails, EVER… the first signs of cold bring more colic emergencies (especially impaction colic) then almost any other time of year!  Knowing the basics of horse care is super important for the safety and health of your horse, all year around. Winter is no different. It is not just about checking whether your horse is too hot or cold, wondering if it is too cold or not to ride, at what temperatures are unfair to work a horse, or protecting from blanket accidents, it is about monitoring the health of your horse.

water

Contrary to popular belief, water is just as important or even more so during the winter as it is during the summer. On an average day, horses will typically drink one gallon of water for 100 pounds of body weight per day. An 1100 pound horse can consume anywhere 10-12 gallons of water in a day. When temperatures drop, the horsed will start to drink less. The importance of providing horses with hay or forage is more than just for body health and condition, but it also promotes the horse to keep drinking.  But, WITH HAY OR ANY DRY FORAGE, MUST COME WATER. A free choice, available water source is especially important for horses when you start adding or increasing hay into the horse’s diet, and should never be forgotten about! 

hay

A good quality, nutritious hay is also important, and by this time of the year challenging to come by. Many people do not want to be stacking bales of hay at the end of spring and dead of summer, however, come this time of year when winter is in full effect, being prepared is critical to help you and your horse have a healthy winter. When temperatures start to drop and gradually get below freezing, pasture growth becomes minimal. For many farm animals, this means that hay and what is provided to them, is their only option for forage and nutrients in the winter. Hay is not only a way to provide forage, nutrients and increase the horses desire to continue to drink, it is also how a horse has the ability to stay warm.

As it has been said so many times, a horse is like a furnace. Adding hay into the diet keeps that fire burning, heat radiating, and gives the horse the ability to regulate body temperature! An adequate source or hay will not only help keep a horse regulating body temperature but help a horse maintain their weight, as they will not be expending unnecessary calories to try and keep themselves warm. You may find that some horses can maintain their weight through the winter with just an increase in hay consumption, but others that may be older and have difficulty keeping weight on may need some added help and calories, provided with extra grain, high fat feeds, or mashes. **Providing hay in stalls or under run-in sheds will help hay from blowing away, and keep it out of the elements!**

**Concentrate Mashes are another way of adding extra water into your horses diet. But to prevent gas colic, make sure that after adding water to your mix you let the mash sit for 15-30minutes (the longer the better) prior to feeding so that the mash expands before being consumed. winter horse care

Whether in the rain, cold, ice, snow, wind, horses still need LOTS of water, ESPECIALLY when horses are consuming hay and other dry forages.

Your bucket keeps freezing up? There are the classics ways and there are several DIY hacks online… some work better than others.

  1. Filling milk jugs or empty bottles with salt water and adding them to the water trough.
  2. Using water trough circulators
  3. Using insulator wraps
  • TIPS: Use Freeze Free Water Spigots. Disconnect hoses and drain every night *We have a small hose that we use in the winter that is just long enough to reach from the spigot to the trough. It can be easily connected, disconnected, drained and hung up when not in use*. If hose tips are frozen, run some water over it for 10 seconds, then connect to spigot as usual. Collapsible hoses are great and lightweight, however you may want to bring it inside with you when you are done, just to be on the safe side and prevent any remaining water inside from freezing and to allow the hose to expand again when needed to be used.

I have always found that heated buckets or a water trough heaters are always your best bet, cords or not. Access to water is better than an impaction colic. Run extension cords, do what you have to do, but keep the water drinkable, and available at all times. If you have a sheet of ice on your trough or bucket, take a hammer or shovel and break it up/remove. **Having Rubber water buckets will help, as plastic may become very brittle in cold weather and may break very easily!**

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Having horses is a responsibility year round, to feed, to water, and to provide protection from the elements when need.  And, while horses colic year round for maybe no reason, don’t let a colic due to weather changes or lack of water in the winter be one of those reasons.  Stay Warm!

 

~Dr. Al and LBR

XX

#NailedIt! Do you have a Nail Magnet!?

Laura's Blanket Repair

NOT AGAIN! Your horse just walked in with a large tear in the side of it’s blanket!!

I know, I know you keep your pastures clean, your horse is not naughty and nor are the pasture mates, I know you took every consideration when setting up stalls and fence boards, so what’s up?! Well, NO ONE IS BLAMING YOU, nails just POP! And horses just have the canny ability to find every single one!

It is typical for a horse to rub themselves, and it is typical for them to find something to rub on…lets just consider horses a nail magnet! And as someone that repairs blankets, I’ve seen it all…and I’ve seen the things that you haven’t! So I find it as one of my jobs (and a selfish one) to let you know that you may have something that could potentially harm your horse.

Looks innocent...right?
Check your stalls! Horses will find anything they can to rub on!

Your horse gets that occasional itch too, and finds the need to scratch up on something  while his blanket is on. Maybe that sharp object, hook, nail, you name it, did not tear the blanket, but it left pull marks. Then your horse rolled in that big mud spot, now you’ll never know! But after I wash…I see them, unfortunately or fortunately, I then bag those blankets up for you, fresh and clean…and you never see it until your horse decides to find that spot again….with no blanket on. NOW you call your vet. (This is the selfish part, I love spending time with my husband…getting a call that your horse has torn up it’s flank, eyelid or nostril, is not my idea of a party invitation!).

So I ask you politely, do not be offended if you get a message from me “hey, just a heads up, you may have a nail or something sharp your horse is rubbing up on.” It is just one of my many ways to keep your horse safe all year round.

So let’s take a minute and review some warning signs from your blankets!

Corner tears, slashes or tears that fit back together like a puzzle are usually always a good sign your horse has been rubbing:

And some of those sneaky white right angel or L shape pulls on a blanket lining. May not have gone through the blanket, but grazed. These are often hard to tell when your blanket is dirty, but often very clear when your blanket is clean!

SO WHAT TO DO?! Check fence boards monthly. Give a quick walk around your fence with a hammer. Depending on the length of your fence, this is often a quick and easy preventative, AND provides you your daily exercise! Don’t forget to check stalls, and stall gates! Also, cribbing will sometimes expose nails that will eventually stick out.

Rubber hooks are fantastic savers and great to have around the barn or pasture areas, and in my opinion much safer than even the safety hooks, since horses just have a natural ability to throw a kink into your plans and prove to you that nothing is impossible. And as ALWAYS make sure snaps are turned down…but that is for another day!

Nailed It
Grab your hammer, and take a walk!!

So pick a WARM(er) winter day, grab that hammer, and go for a quick walk. Get your exercise, absorb some vitamin D, save on your blanket repair costs, and a potentially expensive vet bill too!!

YOUR WELCOME!

Make 2018 Great! Stay tuned for what’s coming up! And if you don’t follow Laura’s Blanket Repair page, I highly suggest you do so! Tips, Tricks, Savings, and Upcoming Events (=Free goods for attendees!)

~LBR

xx

Cleaning Up the Mess

Laura's Blanket Repair

“Can I wash it myself?!” ABSOLUTELY, but don’t blame me when your husband finds out if you wash your blankets in your home machines!

If you want to take on this dirty job…you can do it, but for the sake of you, your horse and the blanket…DO IT RIGHT!

I see so many questions on a “popular” horse forum about how to best care for and wash a dirty horse blanket….and I see so many answers that do not even follow the very BASIC directions labeled on 99% of all horse blankets. Have you missed them?? Take a look:

By now you should be a professional! But lets review key points and explain!

Horse blanket manufacturers recommend you remove any excess dirt with a hose or a stiff brush. There is a very big misconception that using a brush to remove excess dirt will ruin the blanket material, however if your blanket cannot stand to have excess dirt removed before washing, it probably should not be washed, and better yet should not be on the back of your horse. Removing any excess will allow your blanket to become cleaner when washing, and will keep your machine much more clean! This will be especially important if you are planning on washing your blankets in your home machine (which I do not recommend, but is possible).

washing

Do not use bleach or detergents. I see it so often that someone recommends to use “whatever you have at home”. It is your blanket to do what you want with…but if you want your blanket to last as long as possible and be as effective as possible….DONT DO IT! There are a few ways to effectively and quickly remove your waterproofing. Leaving a blanket sitting dirty, moist and covered in manure or urine will very quickly deteriorate your blanket. So get them washed as SOON as you are done with them for the season, to help save the longevity! The next best way to ruin your waterproofing is by washing in bleach or detergents. Every year, blankets come in that have been washed at home, and come in to be waterproofed. This is a complete challenge, since not only does detergent clear out the waterproofing that is there, but also can leave a residue (even if it says it does not) that softens the material. This residue makes it very difficult for the reproofer to be effective. SO avoid the detergents at ALL cost!

This includes house hold detergents or any product that when you look for the ingredients, if one is labeled “Detergent”, don’t use it! As far as bleach, this goes for color safe as well! These chemicals are too harsh for the waterproofing and sometimes horses will have allergic skin reactions.

I often see people recommending oxy clean or chlorox 2 for use on saddle pads, however, I have met several individuals looking for a horse blanket sensitive wash, that have horses that are very sensitive to these chemicals. They found out when they or someone else washed their pads in oxy clean and/or chlorox 2, and had such a reaction that it left the horse with a large bald patch on the horse’s back in the shape of a saddle pad. Again, this is something that I have heard of several times….if you are willing to take the risk, go for it. As for me, I do not mix any horse wear with detergents, including oxy clean products. JUST SAVE THE RISK and AVOID!

Use Cold Water

Use COLD WATER, this goes with the above. Cold water will prevent any of the delicate waterproofing from being melted away, removed, and keep the materials in good, working shape. Occasionally, I will have customers ask for their blankets to be washed in hot water to remove bacteria…first, I do not have hot water connected since I never need it. Secondly, I do not believe the water would ever get hot enough in a washing machine with horse blankets to kill the bacteria. Thankfully, I personally use a horse blanket wash that is antibacterial, so I have that covered. NEVER USE HOT WATER. Avoid risking blanket shrinkage and damage, do not wash in hot water, do not dry clean, and do not dry in a machine! Wash in cold water, and drip dry!

Front Load Machines

My last and greatest tip to getting a clean blanket and avoid damage…use a front load washing machine.  Whether you take it to a laundromat, or you have a small one at home…this will provide you the best way to washing your own blanket.  A large washing machine will also help you greatly. One of the problems with a small washing machine, is trying to get your blanket thoroughly clean. Make sure you hose and get off excess dirt, and to save your let straps, attach them to the blanket.

SO can you wash your own blankets? YES! Is it a dirty and detailed process? YES!

Want it done right? Get a professional. Because truth be told, it is very difficult to completely reapply waterproofing of a blanket, and it will never be as good as when you first got it, especially if you ruin in (unintentionally). It is better to maintain than to reapply. I highly recommend a yearly waterproofing, as do several blanket manufacturers, it is not a marketing scheme, it will save you money in the long run!

WHAT I USE:

I personally use BLANKET SAFE.  Blanket Safe is 100% made and bottled in the USA. All Blanket Safe cold water washes are detergent free, residue free, made for sensitive skin, are antibacterial and have built in deodorizers. They are free from harmful chemicals that are known leave residues that cause irritation to skin. They are professional quality and can be bought in a ready to use form for individual use, or a concentrate form for companies! It is a COLD WATER wash that is DETERGENT FREE, (which if you have ever looked for a cold water wash, is not only difficult to find, but expensive and even more difficult to find one that is detergent free). ANTIBACTERIAL, which means that the odor your blanket has, which is actually caused by bacteria, mold, and/or mildew, is cleaned out…leaving your blanket fresh! SAFE on all materials and conditions the fibers, brightens colors, making the blanket look more like the original color, increases the longevity, and allows the waterproofing to last longer. WATERPROOFING SAFE, as it is detergent free and a cold water wash. Blanket Safe water-repellents are effective, safe, wax and silicone free, meaning that it leaves your blanket breathable, which is very important! These water-repellents are light, but easy to use and hard to mess up!

Horse Blanket Wash Ultra, Anti-static, Anti-viral horse blanket wash. Detergent free cold water washes

This horse blanket wash and re-proofer are designed by a US horse blanket laundry, and specifically designed for the purpose of washing and reproofing horse blankets. Including washes with several different scents including French Lavender, Fresh Linen, Zesty Lemon, Sweet Cherry, Free and Clear (no scent), an Ultra Wash which is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and Anti-static to help remove hair. Our Wool and Fleece washes help to maintain the moisture-wicking properties, are delicate for your natural fibers, and help keep your fleece looking new.  *Blanket Safe is releasing a Fly Sheet Wash and Fly Sheet Fly Spray set February. The wash has added cleaning power with added natural ingredients, and the fly sheet spray is designed to spray right onto your fly sheet with long lasting scents. The scents come from added essential oils that have the abilities to deter all kinds of flies and annoying bugs, during the summer season! 

If you have any questions on tips and tricks to getting your horse wear and laundry cleaner, let us know! We are happy to help individuals and other laundries. 

Thank you again for following along! See you next week…and happy washing!!

 

~LBR

 

 

A Strappy Debate!

Laura's Blanket Repair

Avoid Entanglement, Be Safe, Check Your Blankets!

Safe Strap Saturdays!

Lets talk STRAP SAFETY! So foremost, an unspoken rule…that has been mentioned before, your blankets should always fit! Not only should your blankets always fit, but as mentioned before, you REALLY, REALLY should be checking your blanket straps (including the surcingles or belly straps, and leg straps) ideally twice a day, some say that it isn’t realistic, so lets just say AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE, and hope it is SEVERAL times a week, and if not make it a goal to check it on SAFE STRAP SATURDAYS!

Have you been in an airplane? Remember that last line before you depart? “Be careful opening the over head compartments, luggage may have shifted during the flight…” well the same occurs with straps. A horse is typically, constantly in movement, those little metal pieces that the nylon weaves through, is actually called a slide…because that is what it does. Those slides can move throughout the hours, days and weeks, typically making the straps longer. Thus creating a loopy strappy trap that is perfect for the horse’s hoof or leg to become stuck in when laying down or playing. This could also cause blanket slipping and create rubs, if the blanket doesn’t just come off, entirely.

plane

So lets review the seatback pocket safety information card, and learn some tips on how we can make straps as safe as possible…keeping with the plane theme… “US federal law prohibits tampering with, disabling or destroying lavatory smoke detectors… please make sure that all seatbacks and tray tables are stowed in their upright and locked position, and carry-on luggage stowed in the overhead compartment or underneath the seat in front of you…From all of us crew here at Laura’s Blanket Repair we ask that you sit back, relax and enjoy your reading, as we discuss the importance of Horse Blanket Strap Safety.”

Turnout or Stable Blanket?

  • Use the appropriate type of blanket. If you have any question on that, please feel free to visit here to discover the difference. Turnouts will help aid in the freedom of movement, be more durable during play and activity, and provide a lesser chance that straps will move out of position, as the slick material helps the blanket to move with the horse. Using a stable blanket when outdoors, will increase the chance that weak straps and the weaker material of the blanket will get torn.

 

Belly Straps

  • Attach the belly straps in the manufactures designed arrangement. Typically, the straps will cross underneath the belly. It is important to make sure the straps cross in the center, not too close to the front legs or too close to the stifles. Not crossing straps may lead to many wide, open areas, and dangerous spaces for a horse to slip a hoof through. This will cause a horse to become tangled up in the straps, or if your lucky just break the straps off.  Tip: When checking your straps, make sure you can fit a fist between the belly of the horse and the straps. There should be about 4 inches! Too tight and it may be uncomfortable and cause rubs, too loose and it welcomes entanglement when the horse lays down. 

    Watch for Rubs On the Stifles!
    Make sure straps are not rubbing on the Stifles!

 

Leg Straps

  • Leg straps greatly increase the risk of entanglement. If your blanket is intended to be used with a tail strap, avoid using leg straps all together. Make sure leg straps are checked 2 times a day, or as often as possible! Leg straps make become longer as the slide moves, causing straps to be too loose. AVOID knotting the slide. Should your horse become caught up in the straps, those knots may create pressure points. There are times that a horse will fight it so much, it results in an increasingly worse situation, where the straps continue to get tighter (especially with elastic straps), these knots will only increase injury and wounds. Elastic leg straps are also seen as a great idea, however if a horse gets caught up, the elastic will become more of a tourniquet and less likely to snap under pressure. Again, too tight and you risk rubs, too loose and you risk a horse getting a foot stuck.

 

Ways to Attach Leg Straps

**This is a very debatable subject. So lets keep this as respectful as possible. To each is own, and everyone has their own way that has worked for them. But for safety reasons, lets discuss what is recommended! **

Straight Through- This style may increase rubs, and is not the most secure way of attaching leg straps. This style leaves the blanket to easily slip from side to side. This style may beneficial and recommended for stallions….no explanation should be needed.

straight

 

Cross Over- the X Usually much more secure than the above. But again, does risk rubs as the blanket is pulled diagonally through the horse. Creates large spaces that make it easy for a horse to get caught in.

 

The Loop- The recommended way, the most highly secure and safest. The way that is most taught to young equestrians. This way provides limited movement of the blanket both forward and backwards and side to side. Because of the style it avoids chafing of the stifles. It is important to make sure the straps are the same length. Avoid having one strap long and one strap short.

 

What is your opinion? How do you secure your leg straps? Do you have any experiences?

 

Have you earned you wings? Thank you for joining me again this week! I hope you had a safe and knowledgeable read…and we hope you join us again next week! Until then, have a safe, healthy and happy blanket season!

blanketcard

 

~LBR

xx

 

*SURPRISE* THERE’S A DIFFERENCE!

Laura's Blanket Repair

YES! There is a DIFFERENCE!! A STABLE BLANKET and A TURNOUT BLANKET are TWO different things! Are you using the right one? Can you tell? Guess now….

 

Annually, I get in several, and I mean hundreds of stable blankets that are dirty and shredded, straps completely severed from the blanket, hardware gone…forever. A conversation that goes a little something like this : Customer: “I don’t know how it happened! He went out and when he came back in, it was completely destroyed!”  Me: “Out? Out where? This is a stable blanket…” Customer: “Yea I know, it must be junk!”

While yes, the name makes sense, but when we start looking to buy a blanket, both turnouts and stable blankets are all mixed together on a page filled with hundreds of pictures of horses in colorful blankets. Well, that is confusing, especially when the majority of the pictures of horses in stable blankets, are actually standing OUTSIDE! Obviously that is not your fault! I’m sure it has something to do with more light, look how that freshly groomed and shiny horse glistens in the sun (that happens in the winter, right?)…but it is confusing to buyers! Especially if you don’t know what to look for. My first sign, if I am being honest, a Belly Band with a WHOLE LOTTA VELCRO!!

Velcro will be my demise! Belly bands chalked full of grass, dirt, hay, sticks, is never good and the time it takes to remove all that dirt is painstakingly long! But that is MY clear sign. Another clear sign, fleece or wool, one surcingle strap, leg straps which connect to the outside of the blanket, thick leg straps, anything that looks quilted and full of padding similar to your grandmothers slippers, and a lot of leather, no shoulder gussets (sometimes). There are just some of the visuals to look for!

Other things you may notice if you click on and start reading the details, a stable blanket is typically a very low denier. If you were following the posts from before, that is how tightly woven the fibers are. The higher the number, the more tightly woven, which will result in a fabric that is harder to destroy. Therefore, if you have a low denier, your blanket will be more likely to shred easily. Also you may notice that it will NOT mention that the blanket is waterproof. That is simply because, a stable blanket is made to be worn inside…typically no waterproofing is needed. Examples of stable blankets….were you right? How SIMILAR, RIGHT?!

 

A turnout will be waterproof, have a higher denier, and will be more secure on a horse that is active. These blankets will also have a tail flap and it is now much more common to see turnouts with shoulder gussets. *Some blankets DO NOT have them, and older blankets typically do not* just make sure you are not noticing any bad rubs, or lameness. These shoulder gussets help with the movement of the shoulder and it seems that more recently, within the past few years, it has become much more common to find blankets with gussets, rather than without. Also, these blankets are waterproof, and are made with a higher denier. They are made to be worn outside, and come with the functions and features that enable a horse to be safe and comfortable in wind, rain, snow and even when playing or being active.

 

So, Be HONEST! How did you do? Did you guess correctly?? Some were a given right? But some are very similar looking…it is hard to tell. But make sure you are reading the description of the blankets and make sure that if you see low denier numbers, you see that the blanket is not waterproof, or quilted, maybe it even has the ton of Velcro, or no tail flap…those are (typically) clear signs that your horse should be wearing this blanket within the barn or trailer…and is not suggested for being used as a turn out!!

whichblanket

Best of luck in your hunting for your blanket and appropriately dressing your ponies!

Until next time my friends!!

~LBR

xx

Baby it’s Cold Outside!! Does my Horse NEED a Blanket?

Laura's Blanket Repair

So now we have gotten into how to properly select a blanket…I probably should backtrack and answer a few questions before we move a head with what blanket to put on and when!

Usually after people ask me what I recommend for a horse blanket for their horse, I typically get the….”Does my horse even need a blanket?” (Most likely a sticker shock response), and my response is (typically) “well, tell me a little about your horse?”

  1. Active (and as in active, are your riding daily or 3-4x/week), competing, or fox hunting? If so, that most likely means you have clipped your horse, or your horse may be warm when you finish your work out. In which case, I recommend you use a cooler until the horse dries and cools down. Only blanket a DRY horse. If you have clipped your horse, it is suggested to blanket your horse on cold days, or cold nights. (suggested temps below)
  2. Horse’s characteristics: Older, hard to maintain weight? Thin Coat? Does he grow in a thick coat? Ever been diagnosed with Cushing’s? If you answered yes to the first two questions, my suggestion would be yes, a blanket would be nice. An older horse will have a harder time holding weight, if they are exerting a lot of their energy to stay warm.

Lastly, my typical answer to someone who has a huge heart, and feels really bad for their horses having to stay out in the cold, even if they are off for the winter or just on very light hacking work… A blanket interferes with the horses natural ability to protect itself in the cold, wind, rain, and snow. Therefore you should always blanket responsibly, and remember that in many cases, not blanketing your horse is the best idea. -Check the blanket 2x/day or at the least daily! Things move and twist that may cause rubs, wounds, hazards that legs can get caught in. -Pick the right size, -Pick the right weight and do not over blanket.

horses3

Sometimes Keeping it Au Naturale is BEST!

A horse has a natural ability to stay warm with their coat. We may feel cold, but the typical horse prefers cooler weather! Their coat as the ability to stand on end, fluff and create a warm layer around the horse. These hairs help protect the horse from rain and snow. But these hairs also help to protect against wind. In most cases and with the typical healthy horse,  the hair does a great job at supplying the necessary warmth to survive the winter (they have survived winters in the wild without blankets for hundreds of years!)

Another great suggestion is to make sure you have plenty of hay available. This will help your horse to make heat, kind of like feeding a furnace and keeping it burning. ALWAYS REMEMBER, that if a horse is eating a lot of hay (and even when it is not), a horse NEEDS PLENTY of water YEAR ROUND! Make sure to keep that ice off of water, and keep water easily accessible to horses! (Tip: put hay in run in shed or a stall they can get into and out of, not only will this prevent the hay from blowing away and scattering, it will also provide a shelter for the horse to eat out of direct wind and the elements, allowing them to create more heat).

horses2

Blanketing

So you face 20 degree winter weather, your horse is older, slender, has trouble keeping on weight even in the spring and summer, fuzzy coat? There is none. Health concerns? Possibly. Well, here is where you may want to consider blanketing. BUT REMEMBER: BY BLANKETING YOUR HORSE, YOUR INTERFERE WITH THE HORSE’S NATURAL ABILITY FOR THE HORSE TO PROTECT ITSELF! HEAVIER is NOT always BETTER and horses do not adapt well to rapid changes in climate. I do NOT recommend you stop reading, run outside in this 40 degree Fahrenheit weather, and go put that heavy weight blanket on your 26 year old OTTB!

Signs your Horse may Need a Blanket
  1. 1.If you notice that your horse is shivering…this is your first very obvious sign that your horse is cold (keep in mind this could be related to other factors, such as illness, if in any doubt call that vet!) .
  2. Is your horse a hard keeper, and to your surprise over the past 3 weeks as the temperature has dropped, that hard keeper is becoming HARDER to keep? This may be another clear sign. Horses are going to struggle to put or keep weight on when they are exerting all the calories they eat, and even using reserves to help stay warm and generate heat. Increase hay or forage, make sure you have plenty of water (AGAIN!) It may be also beneficial for you to take a weight tape to your horse at the end of fall and monitor throughout the winter to gauge.
  3. Has your horse decided that running and crazy activities are his new hobby? Running and creating a lot of activity tend to be a sign that your horse is trying to generate more body heat…but again sometimes, your horse is just celebrating the cooler weather.
  4. Touching ears and testing under blankets to determine if your horse is warm or cold…doesn’t determine a lot. There are so many factors that can throw this idea off. So stick with the hard signs your horse is cold.

jodi
p/c Jodi T.

Then what?

So you have determined your horse is cold and could benefit from a blanket. Start with a light sheet. Horses do not like rapid climate changes. Nothing like going from nothing to a heavy something! So take your time and be patient, let him hang out in that light weight for a few days, or weeks. Maybe he is just fine in that! If it gets colder, you start noticing those cold signs again, then maybe go for a medium. Lets just say, when you were doing your daily blanket checks, you stuck your hand under the blanket and found that your horse was sweaty….what do you do? WELL YOU BETTER ADJUST IT!! Let the horse cool and hair dry, and put that lightweight back on. A sweaty body in the cold take much more heat, energy and calories to warm up and dry off! That blanket interferes with his natural ways, you now need to help!

**If your horse is losing weight non-stop, showing signs of illness, shivering, colicing (which mind you is huge in the winter! With climate change, changes in water and ice) YOU NEED TO CALL YOUR VET!

Temps

Unclipped Horses? 40-30 (degrees Fahrenheit): Light Weight 0-100g, 30-20 (degrees Fahrenheit): Medium Weight 200-300g, 20-10 and below (degrees Fahrenheit): Heavy Weight +300g.

Clipped or Older Horses? 50-40 (degrees Fahrenheit): Light Weight 0-100g, 40-30 (degrees Fahrenheit): Medium Weight 200-300g, 20-10 and below (degrees Fahrenheit): Heavy Weight+300g

**Judge based on your horses need**

Blanketing

Wet Horse Problems

A sweaty horse, or a horse that is blanketed without the opportunity to dry, or even the horse that gets wet from a blanket that either has no waterproofing, or the waterproofing has worn off…is on the pathway for other ailments. While having trouble keeping on weight is one problem, you may find yourself facing some skin bacterial, viral or fugal infections if your not careful.

RAINROT: A bacterial skin infection which may be caused by a few different things, but one of the biggest…PROLONGED EXPOSURE TO MOISTURE! You may notice scabs on boney prominence’s of your horse. Often these scabs/dandruff like flakes come attached with tufts of hair. Rarely does this require veterinarian attention, but some ways to prevent a severe case: *Groom your horse daily *Check under blankets *Reduce exposure and risks of wet/sweaty hair *Make sure you clean your blanket yearly and get it washed with an antibacterial soap, specifically made for horse blankets. (I do have a blanket wash that I manufacture, 100% US made, to help you out!) *Get holes and tears repaired ASAP! Plus the longer you wait, the bigger they get!

SO your horse is warm, and if your horse is outside in the elements you better make sure that blanket is waterproofed. A blanket is water-resistant up to a certain point, and there may be a time that you need to remove your blanket and hang it to dry. But your horse should not be saturated to the bone if it rains, even though the blanket looks wet! If it is, it is time to call your handy dandy blanket service and get that fixed. Again…by now you should know the answer of what happens if your horse gets wet under a blanket. **Waterproofing is easier to treat yearly and than it is to restore. Just because you bought a waterproofed blanket 7 years ago…i can almost guarantee it is not waterproofed today!**Why this is? That story is for a different day!! So Stay tuned!

waterproofing

Happy blanketing, and remember there is no definitive way to decide when the perfect time to blanket your horse is, or what blanket to put on and or even if determine if your horse is cold. So do your best and judge by your horse. Try to avoid wearing that blanket 24/7, allow some time for that skin to breathe and have a happy and healthy winter!

**This article is NOT for the replacement of any medical advice from your veterinarian. Make sure you consult a veterinarian for any concerns!**

-LBR

xx

 

Which Blanket to Buy?

Laura's Blanket Repair

We have all been there…staring at pages and pages of blankets! A conversation in your head that looks quite similar to this… “Blue, Black, Pink, Green, Plaid, Camo… numbers 60, 600, 1000, 1200, 1600? What in the world is D?! Wait, who is Gram, or is it what? 0, 100, 150, 200, 300, 400….filler? Weight? What’s the best? Woah not for that Price! Brand? Who cares about brand? They all look the same…but that price! But all I really wanted was the….” STOP! It is not rocket science! Don’t get overwhelmed now…Let me explain!!

Let’s break it down! I have had huge requests for “What blanket do you recommend for my horse?” I get asked almost daily. And here is the simple answer, I cannot answer that for you! I don’t know your horse as well as you do, most of the time I don’t know your horse at all! Personality, body shape, your budget…but if you know some of these simple- simple questions to ask yourself, you can find out the simple ways to determine which blanket is right for you!

SIZE

Our NON-NEGOTIABLE! Every year I get 5-10 people in that say “They didn’t have the 78″ that I needed, so I went with an 82″, can you alter it?” or the “I really liked this pattern, but it is a 68″ and my horse measures an 80″, can you fix it?” Well here is the answer, can I fix it…yes, but you don’t want me to! An altered blanket will never be as strong as the original, the more cuts that are made, the more weak spots that are created. Lets be honest, a horse can be rough on their blankets and the last thing you or I want, is a weak spot.

Size is a NON-NEGOTIABLE! If you need a 78″ get a 78″, sometimes blankets come in odd sizes, then get A size up. Yes, JUST ONE size up…it will be fine. Do not go down in size! You don’t need a horse with a whole bunch of rubs, or wither wounds, because you had to have that specific pink flower pattern. Would you be more comfortable exercising in athletic pants with no stretch, that were too tight…or a size bigger than you usually need? I’m sure 90% of you would say a size bigger.

BASIC HOW TO SIZE:

*Still unsure? check out videos on youtube for detailed how-to’s.

*Tips: Use braiding string or yarn, or tie baling twine together and use this to help measure the length between the starting and ending points start, then hold up against a measuring stick or tape measure. The length in inches (for US) is the blanket size you need.

PRICE

If you only have $150 to spend, look for the blankets within your price range! You may notice that other than the logo of most of these blankets, a lot of blankets look identical…and you would be correct! After working on many, these blankets are generic, but they all may have different brand logos sewn onto them! DO NOT BE FOOLED! They ARE the exact same! Some of these brands are more expensive than others, and you could find yourself paying $50-$100+ more for a blanket that you could find cheaper. (PPSSTT…YOU ARE PAYING FOR THE NAME…DO YOU THINK YOUR HORSE CARES?!)

Stick with your budget. Just imagine…you broke the bank to get an expensive name brand blanket, that’s great right?…until your horse decides to colic in the middle of winter (increase feed bills, increase hay bills, maybe your horse stays in so now we are talking bedding expenses, the usual farrier bills, dental bills, all those holistic care bills *since I am like you, and treat my horses better than myself*) and NOW that big vet bill with the included emergency fee, farm call, treatment and medications, (just pray you don’t have to go to the university!) Do you think your horse cares that you paid $400 for the medium weight blanket, not looking so great now, huh? So stick with your budget!

Lets Review: 1. SIZE- Get your horses right size, there are plenty of articles or videos already explaining how to appropriately measure, so I will not go in-depth! 2. Price- Stick within your budget! No point of going with the bigger price tag, it is not always better!

PURPOSE

What blanket do you need? Fly, Rain, Light, Medium, Heavy? Do you need a neck attachment for those “Just incase” moments? Depending on what you are looking for, that would be your blanket weight, and determine the amount of fill (the amount of cotton padding inside). You will see it in terms of Grams. Light weight blankets including rain sheets have no fill and usually go to 100g, Medium weights range from 150-250g, and heavy weights go from 300g-400g+. There are also blankets that will layer, and you can add onto it, to create a heavier blanket (always a good option if you are in need of all 3 weights). Determine what weight you are in need of, and find a weight in that range. The larger the fill, weight or gram number, the colder the temperature outside.

Again, heavier is NOT better!! But this is a topic itself! Stay tuned and follow us to get more information on selecting the right weight for your horse during different temperatures!!

Think of what jackets you use throughout the year. Summer-no jacket or light UV protectant, Spring/Fall- windbreaker or a fleece, Winter-heavy weight coat.

PONY

Now, (this is the most important part…other than SIZE!) Do you have a creative pony? One that likes to Houdini out of a blanket, create A/C vents, alter and customize a blanket to fit their liking? Well then you need to think about Denier. Essentially, denier is how tight the fibers are woven together. The higher the number, the tighter the fibers. The tighter the fibers the more difficult it will be for the creative minded horse to shred, destroy *sorry, I mean…modify* the blanket they are supposed to be living in the cold months of the year.  1600+ will usually always be a better choice for all blanket buyers, than the 600D! Never be afraid of a denier number, rain sheet, light, medium, heavy…bigger denier is always usually better! Again, the higher number means it will be more challenging to tear or shred. SIMPLE! **ALSO, keep in mind the blankets warranty! Some blankets do come with nice warranty, but will require a yearly washing and waterproofing, or some require a blanket be returned clean…they will not be happy should you return a just used blanket, just a HEADS UP!**

Lets Review, AGAIN!

  1. Size…Say it with me…NON-NEGOTIATIBLE!
  2. Price…the horse doesn’t care, stick within your budget!
  3. Purpose…light weight or heavy jacket, heavier is not better
  4. Pony…creative pony=higher denier

Now, you can go and pick colors, patterns and frills like closures…that is all up to your preference. Also, it will not hurt to mention that some blankets do not fit some bodies as well as others. If you have a big bodied horse, you may be better suited for certain blankets than others. Keep in mind the return policies. If you have questions on what I like for different bodies, please message me and I will be happy to help you!!

3Ps (1)

Thank you, and I hope we simplified your blanket shopping experience!! Keep it simple, it is not rocket science!!

LBR.

xx