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As we move through the seasons, many of us are unearthing rugs we didn't even know we had, and performing the arduous task of managing our equines’ rug collections. This includes organising, sending rugs for cleaning and repair, or making the repairs ourselves, and also working out where to store our horse rugs, both in and out of use.
For those rugs which will be redundant for the current season, it is important that they are packaged away clean, dry and in good shape before you store them, to ensure they are ready for when you need them again.
To store your fleeces, fly rugs, summer sheets and lightweight turnout rugs, make sure the rug is completely dry to avoid mould growing on the rug, and then place it in a dry bag and find somewhere to keep it in a cool, dry place. Many rugs are sold in plastic zip-up bags so when you purchase new rugs, it is important to ensure you keep these types of bags, as they are great for storage! If you have already thrown away your bag, you can use a robust dustbin bag or if you have limited storage space, why not place your rugs in vacuum pack bags? Vacuum pack bags not only keep horse rugs dry and clean, but the clever system also compresses the rugs into a smaller package - perfect for storage.
So, what about storing the rugs you are actually using?
One or two rugs can usually be placed over your horse's door, but this method doesn't work if you have a large number of rugs, and it doesn't protect your rugs from the elements, mice or bird droppings. Purchasing a large trunk can be useful in order to fold, put away and keep your horse rugs covered, while dustbins can provide a budget version of this.
Alternatively, you can hang your rugs on hooks or rug hangers in the stable, in a barn or another covered area. This is ideal for damp rugs, as ideally wet horse rugs should be stored hanging, to allow them to air-dry easily.
Horse rug hangers are available to purchase, however if there isn't space at your yard for such a system, why not see if you can operate a hook hanging system where each hook has a number and the number and the hook is linked to a specific horse? The horse's name and their number is then written on a white board or similar and then alongside the owner, yard friends and anyone working at the yard knows which hook or peg belongs to which horse! The beauty of the system is that should the horse move or leave the yard, the number can simply be given to the new arrival which replaces them.
Other helpful ideas include safely hanging a drain pipe on a rope in your horse’s stable (if he is not a chewer or rug destroyer!) to allow the rug to dry over it, or hanging the rugs over your feeds bins - anywhere you can find to spread the horse rug out and allow air to circulate. Finally if your horse is stabled, allowing a lightly wet turnout rug to dry on the horse is fine, provided the interior is not wet or damp.