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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb. 21, 2003
    Posts
    900

    Default Coolers - Fleece? Wool? Velour?

    What material do you recommend for a cooler? Fleece, and if so heavy or light? Comments on Saratoga Horsework's fleece? Wool? Velour? Any experience with the new Horseworks velour cooler? Do you recommend ties/velcro under the neck for a tight fit, or loose and hanging?

    Retail moment coming up -- thanks in advance!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    May. 5, 2008
    Location
    Scranton, PA
    Posts
    708

    Default

    I typically like the triple crown wool dress coolers.....beautiful, classic, and very functional. But I really just use mine when I'm off the farm as they're pricey and are incredibly hard to keep clean AND clean.

    At the farm I will normally use a nice fleece dress sheet and if it's very cold I will add a square wool cooler on top of it. Both serve their own purpose as I don't like to let my horse lose in a square, tie at the neck cooler for many obvious reasons. haha, but standing in the x ties it is nice that I can cover him from head to toe.

    My favorite fleece dress cooler I own is from Masta. I bought it at Rolex a few years ago for $35...WOW. And it's brillant. As for whether I have a favorite material...I really don't. I own light wool, heavy wool, light fleece, heavy fleece, irish knits, you name it...I have or have had it. haha, I love them all but I think the most useful is a good old fleece dress cooler.

    This is my favorite cooler:
    http://www.tackroominc.com/masta-pat...59d8d1f998a883
    Last edited by TheHunterKid90; Nov. 18, 2008 at 02:05 PM. Reason: Adding.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2006
    Location
    Saco, Maine
    Posts
    4,715

    Default

    Wool!



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 19, 2005
    Location
    PA
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    11,908

    Default

    Hands down....Thermatex is the best thing out there.

    not cheap but absolutely the best thing IMO. They were just on Tack of the Day for 1/2 price. I use them as travel rugs and coolers. Work fantastic...keeps the horse warm without being heavy or bulky, pulls moisture away from their skin...and holds up very well (besides looking sharp). The first ones I ever used came from England and they were hard to get....but you can now get them at BOB.
    http://www.bitofbritain.com/Thermate...p/thermrug.htm

    I also have a light weight one from Masta as well that I got years ago...similar to the Thermatex but lighter weight. I want a few more of them but haven't been able to find them again. I think this might have replaced what I have:

    http://www.tackroominc.com/masta-coo...et-p-2737.html
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar. 25, 2008
    Location
    Goshen NY
    Posts
    2,627

    Default Ha

    I love the big square coolers because you can pull them up the neck if that area is sweaty. I love wool but they are not as easy to get as the polar fleece.

    I think the coolers that are fitted and shaped like a blanket don't protect the neck. Sometimes, I'll turn my square cooler, diamond shaped so the tip is between the ears.
    Sorry! But that barn smell is my aromatherapy!
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2001
    Location
    Fort Collins, CO
    Posts
    15,864

    Default

    I LOVE my old, traditional square wool cooler.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    May. 4, 2003
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    13,112

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    Nothing wrong with a pure wool blanket from the thrift store and a woodworking clamp for the chest.
    Washes in the machine, shrinks a bit each time, but there is no fit to worry about.
    Wicks away the moisture so it looks like hoar frost on top, but underneath the horse is warm and dry.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 5, 2002
    Posts
    624

    Default

    Regarding the suggestion about using old wool blankets:

    1) does that mean an old wool army blanket will work as well as a square wool cooler?

    2) Does washing the wool blankets and/or coolers hurt the wicking ability or do anything to the wool?

    ((BTW this reminds me of a very touching story I read once about some mounted anti-Taliban fighters high up in the freezing mountain altitudes in winter. They got an air drop of blankets from the American military, and one of the fighters took his two army blankets and put them on his horse, instead of himself.........)))



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul. 25, 2007
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    883

    Default

    I have a similar question about wool coolers. Can they be washed in the machine or do they need to be dry cleaned?



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr. 12, 2007
    Posts
    119

    Default

    Wool army blankets are fantastic, much sturdier than some of the less expensive wool coolers.

    I wash with woolite on gentle. I use a large tumble washer not an agitating machine. I do have to sneak into the laundry mat, horse blankets are not allowed but baby poop is!



  11. #11
    Join Date
    May. 4, 2003
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    13,112

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    Wool will shrink, more so if not washed on cool and gentle. That's why I like blankets.
    I had a queen sized blanket from the thrift shop. Washed it so many times it is now
    4' x 4', literally. It has felted up nicely and now makes a great dog bed.

    It still would wick just fine. I think if cut in a numnah shape it would make a good saddle blanket.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr. 16, 2007
    Location
    way out west
    Posts
    967

    Default

    personally I like fleece.
    I have several fleece coolers. They wick the moisture away-looks like hoar frost as someone said. And they just get thrown in the machine and can even be dried.
    I have one I got from Dover that has a fitted neck that is awesome. I can leave a horse unattended in a stall and not worry about it being twisted around. http://www.doversaddlery.com/product...cd2=1227072471
    I also have several in different weights that have a regular neck.
    I use these daily and also ship in them in the winter.
    I do have a really nice triple crowne wool cooler that I rarely use. It is too heavy and just too nice.
    "Half the failures in life result from pulling in one's horse when it is leaping."

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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov. 7, 2008
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
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    1,952

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JLR1 View Post
    I have a similar question about wool coolers. Can they be washed in the machine or do they need to be dry cleaned?
    What makes wool felt (and thus shrink and change texture) is heat, agitation, and anything else which roughs up the cuticle on the wool fibers, causing them to lock together more tightly (kind of like velcro.)

    It will also stretch when wet. (Like, sopping wet, not just damp. )

    What this means in practical terms is:

    Most wool, so long as you're not concerned about the dye potentially fading, can be quite happily washed in cool or lukewarm water with a gentle detergent or shampoo (I actually use a plain, no-frills natural shampoo from Whole Foods for all of my wool-washing needs, but you can also buy specialty wool wash- skip the Woolite and hit up a knitting shop for that, though- Woolite is actually pretty harsh.)

    It's best to rely on soaking and squishing the water through it to get it clean, rather than scrubbing or stirring it up aggressively (which will make it rub against itself, leading to felting.) One option for washing by 'hand' is to use a bathtub, and then climb in with it and squish it around with your feet like you're squishing grapes.

    Then squeeze the water out as much as possible, and lay flat or hang well-supported to dry. (By well-supported I mean spread the weight of the blanket out as much as possible, so that it's not hanging off of a small area of fabric.)

    If you have access to a washing machine which has a cold water wash and gentle agitation/spin cycle, that will probably be okay. Same with a dryer with a no or very low heat fluff setting. (Although I'd still take it out very slightly damp to avoid over-drying, which again makes things more prone to felting.)

    Given the sheer size of a cooler, I personally would probably be tempted to just do spot cleanings when possible, and if it was really dirty just send it to be dry cleaned, but then I am allergic to wool and wouldn't enjoy all that wrestling with damp fabric.

    (This post has been brought to you by my inner knitting geek.)



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov. 10, 2005
    Location
    Va
    Posts
    3,388

    Default

    My preference for everyday use is a wool walking cooler(big square of wool with binding around edges and ties at front). I have several and I also have a nice dress wool cooler which is used only for shows. I also have a couple of irish knit anti-sweat sheets that I like to use under the wool cooler.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan. 19, 2005
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    11,908

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pines4equines View Post
    I love the big square coolers because you can pull them up the neck if that area is sweaty. I love wool but they are not as easy to get as the polar fleece.

    I think the coolers that are fitted and shaped like a blanket don't protect the neck. Sometimes, I'll turn my square cooler, diamond shaped so the tip is between the ears.

    The big square ones don't work for me since I'm often changing horses and have to leave them in the stall unattended (and don't like to leave them tied with no one in the barn). So I like the fitted ones with straps better in case my horse rolls while no one is around. They also then work well as travel rugs. I haven't had any issue about their necks since I generally clip all my horses so they are not that hot on their necks by the time I'm untacking. So to me it really depends on your own situation and what works best for you. Given the choice between wool and fleece....I tend to go for fleece just because it is easier to clean and holds its shape longer (and you can get them pretty affordable). But love my Thermatex!
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep. 6, 2000
    Location
    Decatur, GA
    Posts
    2,534

    Default

    I was in the Navy and ended up with a few wool blankets from bed rolls that made there way home. I used them as layering for my horse on really cold nights in between a Baker sheet and blanket. It didn't move! I really don't see a need to wash them so much. I mean if they really start to stink...I must have low standards. Mine have been washed many times and must be getting smaller...I haven't noticed. I looked at this thread b/c I want a cooler. But now i am just going to get my old blanket out and get a clip. Thanks!
    "What's so funny 'bout Peace Love and Understanding?" Elvis Costello



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug. 28, 2006
    Posts
    9,172

    Default

    I like anti-sweat sheets. They wick moisture very well.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar. 26, 2005
    Location
    Back to Normal.. or as close as I'll ever get
    Posts
    8,673

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    I think wool wicks the best, but keeping it clean is a PITA
    Heavyweight fleece works just fine and washes in the machine.

    My wool cooler is now nearing 20yo and looks brand new when freshly cleaned (I send to the cleaners, NFW I'm handwashing that puppy!)

    My fleece cooler is nearing 10yo, gets twice the use of the wool one and still looks great when it comes out of the washer.

    I covet one of the shaped-neck fleece ones, but cannot justify buying a 3rd cooler for 2 horses.

    Both mine have ties, but I'd like to give velcro closures a try. Seems more convenient even though I can tie pretty quick...
    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
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  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr. 16, 2007
    Location
    way out west
    Posts
    967

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kdow View Post
    What makes wool felt (and thus shrink and change texture) is heat, agitation, and anything else which roughs up the cuticle on the wool fibers, causing them to lock together more tightly (kind of like velcro.)

    It will also stretch when wet. (Like, sopping wet, not just damp. )

    What this means in practical terms is:

    Most wool, so long as you're not concerned about the dye potentially fading, can be quite happily washed in cool or lukewarm water with a gentle detergent or shampoo (I actually use a plain, no-frills natural shampoo from Whole Foods for all of my wool-washing needs, but you can also buy specialty wool wash- skip the Woolite and hit up a knitting shop for that, though- Woolite is actually pretty harsh.)

    It's best to rely on soaking and squishing the water through it to get it clean, rather than scrubbing or stirring it up aggressively (which will make it rub against itself, leading to felting.) One option for washing by 'hand' is to use a bathtub, and then climb in with it and squish it around with your feet like you're squishing grapes.

    Then squeeze the water out as much as possible, and lay flat or hang well-supported to dry. (By well-supported I mean spread the weight of the blanket out as much as possible, so that it's not hanging off of a small area of fabric.)

    If you have access to a washing machine which has a cold water wash and gentle agitation/spin cycle, that will probably be okay. Same with a dryer with a no or very low heat fluff setting. (Although I'd still take it out very slightly damp to avoid over-drying, which again makes things more prone to felting.)

    Given the sheer size of a cooler, I personally would probably be tempted to just do spot cleanings when possible, and if it was really dirty just send it to be dry cleaned, but then I am allergic to wool and wouldn't enjoy all that wrestling with damp fabric.

    (This post has been brought to you by my inner knitting geek.)

    Ok, so this is why I use wonderful machine washable fleece. It is WAY to complicated to care for wool.
    Last edited by Bluehorsesjp; Nov. 19, 2008 at 03:16 PM. Reason: I can't type today
    "Half the failures in life result from pulling in one's horse when it is leaping."

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  20. #20
    Join Date
    May. 15, 2002
    Posts
    2,322

    Default

    Fleece. It's why mountaineers no longer wear wool sweaters and so on...

    (lighter weight, wicks amazingly, warm, washable, cheaper... on and on)
    ............................................
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