I'm wondering what you all have found to be the best way to store blankets during the season they will be used (not off-season storage). I have seen...
-- blankets folded and piled on wide shelves
-- blankets folded and hanging on a blanket bar on a stall front or in the tack room
-- blankets hanging full length from the chest of the blanket on swinging blanket bars (This seems like a good way to dry damp blankets, but if you store them like this all the time, does it put more wear and tear on the chest buckles and straps because the weight of the blanket is on them all the time?) One disadvantage is that most of us would have to use a step stool to pull down or hang up a blanket?
You want the storage to be neat and tidy, not taking up too much space, but you still want to be able to easily get out the blanket(s) you need without digging through a bunch of other blankets.
At every public barn I've boarded, blankets were put in a hodge-podge of places & stored every which way. When I brought my horses home to my own barn I figured I could FINALLY do it the right way (whatever that might be). I had such good intentions.
Fast forward five years later. I seem to have picked up the worst habits from all previous barns. I keep day sheets in tack trunks next to stalls. I keep evening blankets on the blanket racks outside each stall (except for those horses who like to eat their blankets -- or anything within reach), in which case those particular blankets get crammed onto other horses' racks. I keep blankets not currently in use - but that will soon be used) stored on blanket holders in my tack room (the kind with the swinging arms) AND in a variety of containers AND thrown on the floor (sorry to say).
Then, when you factor in wet blankets that need to dry during the day before being put back on at night, well, you're talking a whole 'nother set of storage needs! I've tried draping them over stall doors; over large wheelbarrows; even over bales of hay. Best solution for me is to bring them up to the house and spread them out in the garage to dry. (An even better solution is to keep two sets of all blankets for each horse so that things don't need to dry immediately).
Bottom line - all the best intentions in the world haven't helped me. I decided long ago that the best I could hope for is to muddle through winter and wait for spring so that things could be neatly put back into place!
I'll be anxious to see if any good suggestions get made here!
I have several folded and piled on shelves. I keep some of the turnout rugs in trash can on top of my tack room. My trainer has rubbermaid containers for off season stuff- also stored up high and out of the way.
I visited a barn this fall that had an awesome blanket storage system set up. Blankets that were in use could be left folded on stall bars, but they had also built an entire tack room sized room just for blanket storage. There were rows of shelves where blankets not being used were folded neatly and stacked. Hooks and swinging blanket bars were installed on the ceiling and walls between the shelves for hanging wet blankets to dry. The room was heated and had a ventilation system that kept the air moving around with a vent to the outside. They said the first year it didn't have a vent and it filled up like a sauna with wet blankets in it.
It was a great system though and something I would want in my own barn!
I keep extra 44 gallon Rubbermaid type containers in my barn specifically for blanket/sheet/turnout storage. After a blanket is washed and dried, it's folded up and out in a tub and the top closed/sealed. It stays clean and mouse free. Each horse has it's own tub...seasonal turnouts stay on the top so I can grab them if needed. In late fall I swap the order in each tub and winter turnouts are on top, liners underneath those and sheets on the bottom. If you fold them neatly, you can fit quite a few in each tub.
You jump in the saddle,
Hold onto the bridle!
Jump in the line!
I use blanket bags hung on the stall front (preferably, though sometimes across the aisle or whatever works with a barn's setup) for the blankets I'm regularly using. (In the winter, that means a mid-weight turnout, a rain sheet, a cooler, and a quarter sheet - all of that fits into the larger size bag I linked...) If it's wet, it gets spread out or hung up somewhere to dry, and then folded and put back in the bag.
I shake them out, and fold them twice. Once down the back seam long ways and then bring the tail end to the withers, and hang on a blanket bar.
If it's wet or funky it goes over the fence in the sun for the day, and then either on the horse that night or back on the stall.
"Perhaps the final test of anybody's love of dogs is their willingness to permit them to make a camping ground of the bed" -Henry T. Merwin
our trainer sends all the blankets in the barn off for cleaning (charges $25). they come back folded neatly in plastic bags where they stay till the following winter. We're working to impliment the same system at home.
I would be afraid that mice would live in them if they were stored only on a shelf. Or cats....I clean mine, and put them either in a tack trunk (with a bar of irish spring soap for the wonderful smell), or in a rubbermaid container.
Just recently installed brass coat hooks along one stall front to accommodate airing out the blankets in use, and found a Sterilite bench that the seat lifts up to a huge storage area underneath. Blankets not immediately in use are folded and put into Ziploc XXL bags and then stored in the bench in the center aisle of the barn. Everything is easily accessible and stays clean and dry. And I have a nice place to sit to watch my horses.
"I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you..."
*shudder* after one brown recluse bite I totally changed up how I store horse-goods. I bought a heat sealer and *love* it. I bought a big one used on ebay for under $100 and it seals nearly anything in airtight/smellproof/dustproot/bugproof/somewhat-rodentproof plastic. If something that could be home to creepy crawlies or tasty to mice isn't going to be used for 2 or 3 weeks, into plastic it goes!
Right now mine are folded over unused stall walls or gates, but at my old barn I used to make my own blanket racks. I would buy chain and then a hose. I'd cut the hose to fit over the chain and then I would get the U nails and nail it onto boards along the stalls, in the barn aisle, etc. I could put them anywhere and when not in use the hose was flat against the wall and you could make it as loose as you wanted, some I could fit 4 or 5 blankets on. It was alot easier and cheaper then the blanket racks, ever try to get more then one on a blanket rack, they were easy to move and take down also.
Maria Hayes-Frosty Oak Stables
Home to All Eyez On Me, 1998 16.2 Cleveland Bay Sporthorse Stallion
& FrostyOak Hampton 2008 Pure Cleveland Bay Colt www.frostyoaks.com
Blankets not in use go in the aforementioned GIANT Ziploc storage bags. Then they go into rubbermaid containers. Makes stacking very easy. Those in use go on those portable tack racks (just the one not in use but has been "used") otherwise on one of those blanket racks w/ rods. But, I usually don't have too many blankets out at one time cause I hate dirty stuff.