Removing blankets in the winter time can be, well shocking. The static electricity that is generated between your horse’s coat and the blanket can build up into a pretty severe shock. Sadly, a friend of mine lost her horse this winter after a shock from her blanket caused the mare to run backwards down the barn aisle and shatter her fetlock.
Static electricity is the build up of an electrical charge when two objects rub against each other. Your horse’s coat and the underside of his blanket are the ideal surfaces to create static electricity. This effect is exacerbated by dry conditions when there is little moisture in the air.
So how can you reduce static electricity? There are a few ways:
- Try keeping one hand on your horse to “ground” yourself when removing a blanket.
- Spray the underside of your blanket with Static Guard or put some liquid fabric softener in a spray bottle and use that.
- Rub your horse with anti-static dryer sheets.
- Spray your horse with a coat conditioner that adds moisture.
- Spray your brushes with either Static Guard or a coat conditioner.
- Blow dry your blankets with an ionic hair dryer.
- Use blankets with natural materials (many synthetic materials create more static electricity).
Most of all, be very careful. It only takes a zap or two before your horse starts to anticipate being shocked when you remove his blanket. And that’s not a good dynamic.