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Coolers - Fleece? Wool? Velour?

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  • 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
    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, 02:05 PM. Reason: Adding.

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    • #3
      Wool!
      Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.

      Comment


      • #4
        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
        ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

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        • #5
          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
            I LOVE my old, traditional square wool cooler.

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            • #7
              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.
              Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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              • #8
                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.........)))

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                • #9
                  I have a similar question about wool coolers. Can they be washed in the machine or do they need to be dry cleaned?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    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!

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                    • #11
                      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.
                      Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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                      • #12
                        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."

                        http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...7&l=eca0d15457

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                        • #13
                          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.)

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                          • #14
                            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.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              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!
                              ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

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                              • #16
                                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!
                                “If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?”
                                ? Rumi






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                                • #17
                                  I like anti-sweat sheets. They wick moisture very well.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    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:
                                    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                                    Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                                    Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

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                                    • #19
                                      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, 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."

                                      http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...7&l=eca0d15457

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                                      • #20
                                        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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