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polar fleece vs. wool?

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  • polar fleece vs. wool?

    OK, so from a purely functional standpoint, what really is the difference between polar fleece and wool? Specifically, why would you buy a quarter sheet made of one material or the other (besides traditional look, your trainer tells you to get one or the other, etc.)?

    I've seen a lot of threads up recently about wool sheets/coolers/quarter sheets, and am wondering about it. I'm in CA so pretty much no one uses anything wool, everything for warmth is polar fleece or a blanket with poly fill, other horse clothing is meant to keep the horse dry so it's nylon, polyester, etc.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Wool is just... better

    The reason I prefer wool is because its more insulating than polar fleece (wind doesn't cut through it as much) and it doesn't create static shocks every time I pull my horse's cooler on/off. Also, fewer hairs get stuck in it!

    I have some polar fleece coolers that I've won, but I don't use them nearly as often as my wool coolers. I also have a polar fleece quarter sheet but I rarely ride in it because it doesn't usually get THAT cold here, and my guy works up a sweat quite easily.

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    • #3
      Fleece gives you a static shock as soon as the weather gets dry. Ouch!

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      • #4
        I think some people prefer fleece because it's easier to clean. You can throw it in the wash. Some wool items you cannot do that with unless it's the "Superwash" wool where the scales on the fiber are removed so you can wash it without making it shrink from horse to mini size.

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        • #5
          I have both but use my polar fleech cooler much more often. It is much easier to clean and I just find it less heavier and wicks away sweat faster. Yes there is static sometimes but my horse doesn't seem to mind. I have the Rambo Newmarket fleece cooler and quarter sheet and LOVE both

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Mako View Post
            I have both but use my polar fleech cooler much more often. It is much easier to clean and I just find it less heavier and wicks away sweat faster. Yes there is static sometimes but my horse doesn't seem to mind. I have the Rambo Newmarket fleece cooler and quarter sheet and LOVE both
            big range in quality of fleece that is available (just as with any product) - some fleece tries to hold every horse hair, others much less so.
            (of course if you're allergic to wool, it's not so much of a temptation )

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            • #7
              I just got a Horseware Newmarket quarter sheet, and I'm going to sell my wool quarter sheet -- the fleece is just so much more flexible and easier to get arranged around the saddle, and I like the ease of maintenance.

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              • #8
                I hate fleece. It stretches and binds and clings with static. I MUCH prefer wool. I have an ancient wool dress sheet (old school Whitney gold striped) that I LOVE. It doesn't stretch and bind around my horse's shoulders like fleece does, and wicks like crazy. I would ALWAYS go wool before fleece when it comes to the horses' clothing.

                For the record, I wash my wool, but I do not dry it. A wash on the gentle or wool cycle seems to be just fin.
                Amanda

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                • #9
                  Wool whicks the moisture away so much better then polar fleece. I only use wool or cotton antisweat sheets, coolers, and quarter sheets.

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                  • #10
                    I like the washability of fleece but there's just too much static. And it doesn't seem as breathable.
                    I prefer the wool for the breathability. It keeps my girl warm, but doesn't cause her to bake and re-sweat when I'm trying to cool her down. She also is not a huge fan of dress sheets, anyway, when I'm on her. If that thing shocked her, I'd have a tough time ever getting it on her again.
                    Unless you get a super nice, no-pill fleece (Rambo for example), the wool just looks better. I have a wool dress sheet and a Rambo fleece quarter sheet. The quarter sheet is super duper warm, as in too warm except for a few days a year at most.
                    Born under a rock and owned by beasts!

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                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Hmmm, ok. So if wool is more breathable, I wonder why I don't see more of it out here where winter is pretty mild? (Not gonna lie, it was nice to go out today and ride in the 65 degree sunshine in a short-sleeved polo!) My mare rides so much better with her water-proof quarter sheet on when the temp does drop below 55, I was going to get her a fleece one. I'm now considering wool. Especially if I can wash it. Hmmm.

                      Any more thoughts?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by bluebuckets View Post
                        Hmmm, ok. So if wool is more breathable, I wonder why I don't see more of it out here where winter is pretty mild? (Not gonna lie, it was nice to go out today and ride in the 65 degree sunshine in a short-sleeved polo!) My mare rides so much better with her water-proof quarter sheet on when the temp does drop below 55, I was going to get her a fleece one. I'm now considering wool. Especially if I can wash it. Hmmm.

                        Any more thoughts?
                        No more thoughts except MAN, I wish my idea of a temperature drop was "below 55."

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                        • #13
                          I have both wool and fleece, and I'll use fleece for the not so cold days, but when it's cold and I'm trailering from arena (heated) to the outdoors (about -20 or so) my boy is in his wool cooler from poll to tail, then gets his power turnout (love bucas!) when we get home. I see wool as a more heavy duty, keep my horse warm and dry cooler.
                          All that is gold does not glitter;
                          Not all those who wander are lost.
                          ~J.R.R. Tolkien
                          http://theimperfectperfecthorse.blogspot.com/

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                          • #14
                            FWIW, my quarter sheets aren't wool. One is that heavy quilter, "Thermatex" material. The other one is the Rambo competition sheet. I DID have a wool quarter sheet, but it was a originally bought for my teeny-tiny little TB, and everyone since him has had a little too much ass for it!

                            Wool IS breathable, but it is also very warm, which is why you don't often see it in warmer climates. It is a nice choice for layering, etc, because it will keep you warm, but keeps you from getting TOO warm, and if you sweat (or the horse sweats) it should pull moisture away. That's why before show coats started getting more technical, the more quality ones were a lightweight wool or wool blend. They breath, so you don't completely, totally roast in them. I know when I went from my cheap and cheesy first show coat to a nicer wool blend, the difference at summer shows was pretty remarkable.
                            Amanda

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                            • #15
                              I'm a fiber snob and do a lot of work with fiber (think high end boutique type knitted items). Wool is a natural fiber. By its very nature water is resistant (NOT water proof) and its wicking properties are unbeatable. Yes, it is warm but you can get a million different weights all the way down to what is termed tropical weight wool. I have coolers and dress sheets in a variety of weights. All the polar fleece stuff I've owned....all gone. Stick w/the wool.

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                              • #16
                                Wool for sure... but also terry cloth!

                                Wool is the best, hands down. No static, breathable, warm and absorbs moisture. However I will getting my first sewing machine very soon and I plan to experiment with thick terry cloth ( for a cooler). Nothing like putting on your cozy robe after a hot shower (bath).

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                                • #17
                                  While I love the look of wool, after looking into the pluses and minuses of both, fleece is supposed to have much better wicking quality than wool, bringing the moisture away from the horse's body, unlike wool which lets it sit there. I have both and use the fleece much more often, but its an expensive, high quality fleece, not that cheap stuff that flies off the horse with the slightest movement. Both wool and fleece are available in varying degrees of quality, go with the best you can afford in whatever one you decide on.

                                  I do like the easy care quality of fleece, just throw it in the wash.

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                                  • #18
                                    I'm more practical than that - good quality polar fleece wicks moisture away and much easier to clean - i.e. throw it in the washer vs. dry cleaning;

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                                    • #19
                                      Wool - for tradition's sake.

                                      While hunting in melton wool it can get really heavy with rain, but I was still warm under it.

                                      After the hunt we would put wool bed blankets from the thrift store, queen size, clipped on with a wood working clamp. After breakfast the horses would be warm and dry, with a layer of 'hoar frost' on top amd the blanket quite damp...and no static.
                                      Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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                                      • #20
                                        I have a fleece dress type cooler that a friend gave me. I use it when we go trail riding to throw on my horse while she is tied to the trailer(for cool temps). For really cold temps, I usually throw a wool "walking" cooler on her. Wool wicks water away great and if I have to bath in colder temps(for a show, etc) I always layer a irish mesh anti-sweat with a wool cooler. In just a few minutes you can see a layer of moisture over the top of the wool. I have a couple of fleece quarter sheets and they work ok especially when I am trail riding and don't want to worry about prickley things tearing it. I do have a nice wool 1/4 sheet that I only use whn I am working in the ring. I definitely find that the fleece is more static y. The other thing about wool 1/4 sheets is that they are generally way more expensive than the fleece versions.

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