Sunday, June 21, 2009
Steve and I did some necessary chores today--he whacked weeds and I cleaned winter's leftovers off (and out of) the horse blankets.
They got new Hug blankets last year, waterproof and mid-weight, which is all California horses really need. (Okay, Northern California Coastal horses, anyway, and some might argue they don't even need that much.) Bar, however, loves his blankie. Lena sometimes still pretends to have blanket anxiety issues, but just until it's cold and wet and she sees Bar wearing his and feels left out.
As horse owners everywhere know, blanketing is somewhat of an art. Blanket too much and they don't get any winter coat. Don't blanket enough, and hard keepers (horses who have trouble keeping weight on, like Bar), expend too much energy keeping warm and drop weight. Hardest are the few times a year here where it gets into the 30's at night but up into the 60's plus during the day. Then you get sweaty horses during the day if you can't get out to de-blanket. No,our barn is not one of those fancy full-service barns, but it's better for us that way in lots of other, more important ways.
But I digress.
Blankets get gross after a full winter of wear and tear--caked with mud, poop, and sweat--so every year you can keep them intact, you get to blanket cleaning time. I could send them out--I know of at least a couple of good blanket cleaners/menders in the area--but I haven't gone that route yet. I usually bring them home, spread them out on the porch, and clean them up with the hose, some mild soap, and a scrub brush of some kind.
These blankets had a new twist for me. They are dual layer, with mesh inside to aid in air flow and also help with shedding. This however led to an interesting glob of stuff in the corners of the blankets, which presented a bit of a challenge when it came to removing it. I ended up cutting a hole in the mesh, shaking the wads of hair and mud into that corner, and turning the corner of the blanket inside out through the hole in the mesh. It worked, though I was left with a pile of odd looking hair wads and dirt.
I did notice (again) that Bar and Lena's hair are completely different textures, his being much finer and softer than hers is. The hair wads were kinda cute, but no, I didn't save them.
For now the blankets are relatively clean (though still smell nicely of horse) and I can look at them and tell what color they really are (e.g. not mud-colored) before I fold them up and put them away until it starts getting cold and rainy again. The caterpillar who came along to inspect them said I did a fine job, too.