Whaddya do when your 26-year-old horse shreds his blanket?

Here's how I saved a bundle.

Surprise! You trot out to fetch your horse from the paddock and find his sturdy turnout blanket has somehow been transformed into confetti. Or the barn owner texts a photo, showing how your dear equine’s winter rug is now ripped into ribbons. A comparable new blanket costs $90 – or even a few hundred dollars, if you popped for a fancy one.

You glance at the calendar. Spring has just sprung, even though the nights (and some days) are still chilly enough to warrant blanketing your horse.

Plus, he’s a senior. He’s in his late 20’s.

And you have a closet filled with horse blankets in various sizes – just none that will fit this particular one. Uh-oh!

So what do you do?

Sure, you can patch the thing with duct tape, but that stuff will come undone in a stiff wind, a pelting rain, or a hearty horse roll.

Barn-supplied photo.

I fixed my horse’s blanket myself and saved a bundle.

As you’ve guessed, this just happened to me. My cranky, old, dear, saintly Thoroughbred tore the tar out of his medium-weight turnout blanket. It was a wreck. But I didn’t really want to spring for a new one at this point. Sure, I hope he will live a dozen more years. But he’s retired and living out his last years on a quiet, out-of-the-way farm with endless acres of rolling hills – not in a fancy show stable, where horses sport sparkling attire every day.

The barn owner offered to have my horse’s rug laundered for $35 and mended for $15/hour (although he said he had no idea how many hours that might take).

That’s at least two bags of senior grain, I thought.

I thanked him and indicated that I would give the blanket repair a try on my own.

I trekked out to the farm and spread the tattered horse garment over a fence. Then I beat it with a broom to knock off the biggest clumps of dried mud.

I fastened the biggest rips closed with a couple dozen oversized safety pins, folded the blanket, and tossed it in my car.

Toting the soiled and shredded rug into the one laundromat in the tri-county area that still take horse items, I pleaded my case with the lady at the counter.

Three days and $12 later, I picked up the much-cleaner blanket and carted it to my sewing corner at home. 

LAN/The Mane Point photo. All rights reserved.

I arranged the torn horse garment on the floor and hand-stitched the rips. 

LAN/The Mane Point photo. All rights reserved.
Hunting through my fabric and trim remnants, I found several lengths of black grosgrain ribbon. I pinned these over the hand-sewing before top-stitching them in place.

LAN/The Mane Point photo. All rights reserved.
I also had to machine-stitch the torn area around one of the belly straps, reinforcing the region with a sturdy patch on the inside.

LAN/The Mane Point photo. All rights reserved.

Now my off-the-track Thoroughbred sports a few racing stripes on one side of his blanket. We think that’s somehow appropriate, even though his saddle-work days are long gone.

What’s more, the project’s a wrap, and  I can still afford his grain.

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