Equestrian Laundry Services

17 October 2017


This week is the Horse of the Year Show, held in Birmingham. As the world’s most famous horse show, first established in 1949, it is a highlight in the equestrian calendar. The Horse of the Year Show is now over 65 years old and remains a high benchmark of equestrian excellence.

For this five-day event, between 4 and 11 October, taking up 50 acres of site, there is a huge amount of work going on behind the scenes. This includes building the sets and preparing the area, and having all the key staff on hand for both human and animal guests.

One thing horses need is well-maintained equipment. Horses need clean turnout rugs, and sweat blankets. This is not just for appearance’s sake, but it’s also vital for the horse’s comfort.

As commercial laundry experts, we specialise in equestrian laundry services – providing the essential equipment, and knowledge, for this unsung, but essential part of looking after horses.

How the Horse Rug Works


The horse’s turnout rug is there to keep the horse clean and warm and it’s tailored fit around the animal’s body. Designs vary, with some rugs buckling at the front, and others slipping over the horse’s head.

The choice is also down to how much of the horse you want to cover, with a standard size horse rug stopping at the horse’s withers (the ridge between the shoulder blades).

You can also get combo rugs, which include a covering for the horse’s neck, that is either integrated into the design or detachable.

Horse rug materials are suited to different weather conditions, and are usually water-resistant or waterproof. They can also be used to keep a horse’s hair short, by covering the horse at the beginning of autumn to prevent it growing a winter coat.

Lighter horse rugs for summer months are for helping to ward off flies, and can also prevent the horse’s hair from bleaching out.

In other words, turnout rugs are multi-functional, with different types of rug suited for different conditions – whether offering protection outdoors form dirt and dust, or providing a warm, outer layer. Where a horse is boisterous, the rug will help as an outer layer to keep it warm when it begins to cool down after activity. 

Weight and Material


The weight of the material in a horse’s turnout rug is crucial, and must be right for its specific purpose.

Lightweight rugs are great for keeping a horse clean and dry when it’s out in the field. These are normally waterproof, with a polyester or cotton lining. Because they’re designed to be lightweight, they won’t have a filling. They are ideal for spring, autumn and those summer evenings when it gets cooler.

With 170g to 220g of filling, medium weight rugs come into best use towards the end of winter, though for some horses they will do for the entire winter. The filling for this weight of rug is about that you’d normally find in a duvet.

Heavyweight rugs will typically contain around 300g of filling or more, and are perfect for horses that feel the cold more, or when they have clipped hair.

Turnout rugs for horses are designed to be sturdy, even in lighter weights, and so include hardwearing, synthetic 

fibres in their makeup. At the same time, they must be breathable, for the horse’s body to be able to breathe, and for sweat on the skin to evaporate off it.

Technology is changing the material of turnout rugs, so that they can be lighter even at heavier weights.

Even so, they still come with a denier rating, marked with a letter D following a number. The denier rating refers to the strength of the rug’s outer material.

A horse’s turnout rug, if of a decent quality, should last for years. However, you must care for it properly, ensuring that it’s kept I a good state of repair, and that it’s properly waterproofed, and cleaned correctly.

Cleaning and Care for Horse Rugs


Your horse rug is an investment, which means you should care for it and keep it clean. This will help it last longer, and, most importantly, ensure your horse’s comfort when wearing it.

The rug will come with washing instructions, which you must ensure you follow if you’re to clean it properly, and effectively, without damaging it. 

The first thing to do is remove all the dirt and debris from it, including grass and hair. You can do this with a hard-bristled brush.

The question is then whether you have the washing equipment to do the job, or if you must wash the rug by hand.

For professional equestrian laundry care, it’s vital to have the right kit. This includes dedicated washing machines designed for different sizes of equestrian site, depending on the number of horses.

These include dedicated washers and driers, such as the Miele PW5105 slimline model, or the classic, 20kg PW6207.

Looking after horses means looking after their rugs, and ensuring that you keep them clean and free from the risk of harmful bacteria.

A domestic washing set-up is not designed to cope with the demands of equestrian laundry, in terms of the type and size of material, and how you want it to both look and perform afterwards.

The appropriate washers and dryers also require the appropriate washing soaps to help get the very best results. You want to ensure a clean finish, but one which will maintain the breathability and waterproofing of the rug.

The Horse of the Year Show is a spectacular showcase of domestic show jumping with an established heritage. But spare a thought for the work that goes into making it such a memorable event. The show features some 1,600 horses and ponies with their own, individual turnout rugs. That’s an awful lot of laundry.

Get In Touch


We’re specialists in commercial laundry appliances, supplying, installing and servicing across a range of sectors, including equestrian.

Discover out how we can help you with your equestrian laundry needs. Give us a call on 0800 988 8058, or email info@goodmansparks.co.uk

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