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How to Repair a Horse Rug

Horse owners save money - don’t bin it, repair it!

One of the ongoing costs for horse owners is buying new rugs due to wear and tear and serial rug shredders! So lets look at the range of rugs a typical horse owner would need to buy / replace and their average price tag:

Winter Wardrobe
Heavyweight Turnout - £60
Medium Turnout - £40
Stable quilt - £30

Spring / Autumn Wardrobe
Lightweight Turnout - £35
Stable rug - £25

Summer Wardrobe
Fly Sheet - £25
Summer sheet - £20

Travel Rug - £20
Sweat Sheet / Cooler - £20
Exercise sheet - £20

Going by current average equestrian retail prices, the total cost for above would be approx £295. Once you have paid a few hundred pounds for your wardrobe of rugs you would be wise to make them last as long as possible to avoid further cost. Repairing and maintaining horse rugs is a good way for horse owners to save money. You can take your rugs to a specialist who will charge you to repair and clean your rugs. Why not save even more money by having a go at repairing your horse rugs yourself.

How to repair your horse rugs

The first step to repairing any horse rug is to clean it and then dry the rug so that you can see where it is torn / damaged.

Heavy rugs / turnout

Things you will need:

* Patch of waterproof material (use an old piece of rug)
* Strong sewing thread same colour as rug
* Needle
* Scissors
* Pins
* Waterproof fabric glue or Rug Re-proofer


1. Place the rug on a flat surface and locate the tears in the rug.

2. Cut the repair patches to size, making sure you leave at least 2cm overlap on each side of the patch.

3. Pin the repair patch over the torn section.

4. Using your needle and thread, sew along the edges of the patch, removing the pins as you go. Start your sewing on the underneath of the torn canvas so that your starting knots don’t show on the outside of the rug. Pull the stitches tight but not so tight that the material bunches up. Finally, tie off the thread securely to end the stitching.

5. Carefully apply the glue to the stitching and leave to dry. This helps to prevent leakage through the stitching.

6. Trim any excess patch material if necessary.

Light rugs and fleeces

Mend small tears in your summer rug, fleece rug, cooler rug, fly sheet, or light stable rug (One lining)

Things you will need:

* Iron on patch matching your rug colour

* Iron


1. Heat up the iron to a medium heat.

2. Turn the rug inside out and locate the tear. Cut the iron on patch to the size of the tear, leaving a 2cm overlap.

3. Place the patch over the tear and carefully run the iron over it. You may want to place a cloth around the edges of the patch to prevent you scorching the rug with the iron.

4. Make sure you let the patch cool completely before moving your horse rug.

Horse rug repairing tips

Try using heavy duty gaffa / carpet tape to repair rips and tears in your rugs.

If you struggle with sewing, try using a bicycle repair kit or iron on patch for small tears. Watch our video: Repairing a small tear in a horse rug for a demonstration.

Seal your stitching with rug re-proofer to prevent possible leaks.

Save your old turnout rugs or any waterproof clothing to use for repair patches.

If you can’t find repair materials such as glue and patches in your tack shops, try a boating shop instead.

Use / borrow a sewing machine to sew tears in rugs, it will look a lot neater and provide stronger stitching.

Prevention is better than cure

Try to prevent any rug damage by:

* Removing any barbed wire or objects in the field, which could tear the rugs.

* Putting your horse in a field with other horses who don’t show signs of aggression. Horses that kick and bite tend to rip rugs!

* Buying second hand or budget horse rugs, especially if your horse is known to be a 'rug destroyer'.

* Washing your rugs according to manufacturers instructions.

* Regularly re-proofing rugs to ensure they stay waterproof.
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