Our Horse Equipment Guide: Wool

Islandpferde tragen Equipment aus Wolle

You notice it more every day, wool is the trend material in the horse scene. Extremely many positive qualities are attributed to her, which she can also keep. However, wool is significantly more expensive than conventional fleece or cotton. That's why we illuminate for you which products made of wool are worthwhile and what you should pay attention to when buying.

Autorin: Marie-Theres Conen

What is wool?

Not everything that says wool is equally good. The term wool only means that the fabric is made of (sheep) wool. It says nothing about quality and extraction. The term to keep your eyes peeled for is virgin wool.

Only wool that has been acquired exclusively through the shearing of live, healthy animals may be described as new wool. It is considered to be wool of particularly high quality. "Wool" is also understood to mean dying wool and recycled wool.

SPORTSFREUND only uses 100% high-quality new wool . Which also accounts for the price difference to other “wool” horse blankets. And the difference in quality.

"Wool" is not a protected term, which is why products made from low-quality mixtures can also be called "wool". That's why it's always worth checking the composition of the fabric. Often it is only made of 65% wool and the rest is made of polyamide or polyester. For example, products that are called "felt" are particularly affected. Felt only refers to the manufacturing process - not the material.

If you are looking for a thermo-regulating, breathable product, mixed products are definitely not the right choice, as they do not have the effect of pure wool fibres. Then a product made of conventional fleece would also be comparable and you wouldn't have to pay the surcharge for the trendy term »wool«. By the way: blended fabrics are the worst to recycle, so it doesn't look good for sustainability either.

Islandpferd traegt hochgeschlossene Abschwitzdecke aus Pommernwolle
It was sustainable: the sweat blanket made from Pomeranian wool
Where do our fabrics come from?

Our cooler rugs Wool and Bavaria and our saddle pads are all made from 100% new wool that has been processed into robust loden.

It works like this: After the sheep have been sheared, the wool is washed, the fibers are spun into yarn and then woven in the case of cloth loden (Saddle Pad & Bavaria) and knitted in the case of Walkloden. This is followed by felting with water, heat and movement during so-called fulling. The entire process with its many individual work steps is very complex and is only carried out by a few fulling mills and cloth factories in Germany, Austria and South Tyrol.

How wool makes our horse accessories sustainable
  • Species-preserving: Wool from Australia/New Zealand, South Africa and South America is becoming increasingly popular today, as it is softer due to special breeds of sheep and the milder climate. However, this means that native sheep species with coarser wool, e.g. B. the Rhön sheep, threatened with extinction, since their wool is hardly noticed. Our mountain loden is made from the wool of local sheep and thus supports their preservation. Regardless of their use, all sheep must be shorn regularly because their hair keeps growing. Sheep kept by us are used for landscape maintenance and for meat production. In the past, the price that could be achieved for wool was often so low that it was unfortunately cheaper to destroy the wool immediately after shearing. You can rely on sheep from the Alpine region to lead a beautiful, species-appropriate life.
  • Landscape protection: Sheep farming makes an important contribution to biodiversity. Regularly grazing sheep prevent desertification and bush encroachment by repeatedly "biting" certain plants where otherwise perennial shrubs and trees would soon overgrow everything. This has resulted in cultural landscapes that are unique in Europe. However, they also contribute to the preservation and promotion of a productive and hard-wearing willow turf.
  • Natural Product: Wool grows naturally on millions of sheep all year round and is the product of water, air, sunlight and grass. It is therefore a completely renewable and natural fiber. Compostable. When a wool fiber is discarded, it naturally decomposes in the soil within a few years, slowly releasing valuable nutrients back into the soil.
  • Support for medium-sized regional companies: For many of our products, the entire manufacturing process from the yarn to the finished horse blanket takes place in Germany. In Bavaria, Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia and Austria people spin, weave and sew. These are medium-sized companies, some with a long family tradition, which we are happy to support in maintaining diversity and quality with the advantages of short transport routes, decent working conditions and compliance with environmental standards.

Nachhaltige Abschwitzdecke fuer Isaender aus Wolle in Grau

What makes wool good for horses?

It is still unusual for us to see wool not only as a material that makes you sweat easily and that then makes your neck uncomfortably itchy, but also as a material that is excellent at absorbing the sweat that occurs.

Wool regulates temperature, retains heat, is breathable, dirt-repellent and increases well-being. It is easy to clean and maintain. Due to its protein structure, it also absorbs odors and has an antibacterial effect.

Wool is extremely breathable, i.e. it absorbs water vapor from the body and releases it to the fabric surface. Wool fibers can absorb more than 30% of their own weight in moisture without feeling wet. This makes wool as a Cooler Rug extremely absorbent.

Wool is thermoregulating, i.e. the horse does not get too warm or too cold when it is worn, and it does not stimulate additional sweating. Due to the fabric structure of the loden, a regular and controlled heat exchange takes place, creating a microclimate zone on the body. This means that a sweat rug made of wool can also warm you up when it is damp.

The perfect combination, a Bavaria sweat blanket and a wool saddle pad
What Is The Difference Between A Fleece And A Wool Sweat Blanket?

After extensive testing, we were able to determine that horses usually sweat faster with a woolen blanket. This is mainly due to the temperature-regulating properties of wool. A wool blanket does not make the horse sweat more. This is particularly useful on mild winter days. This means that the blanket has to absorb less sweat and the horse actually dries faster.

Wool hugs the horse's body even more closely and thus has an even better fit, which in turn further accelerates sweating off.

In contrast Fleece is cheaper to produce and less complicated to handle. Plus, fleece is vegan friendly.

A Wool Rugs dries as quickly as a Fleece Rug.

Nachhaltige Wolldecke für Isländer
100% Made in Germany – sweat blanket BAVARIA, made from Bavarian mountain loden
What is the difference between a WOOL and a BAVARIA rug?

The WOOL is made of conventional virgin wool. The BAVARIA sweat rug is made of 100% mountain wool from happy sheep in the Bavarian and Austrian Alps. Sheared, woven, sewn and designed in Bavaria. Takes into account the demands of sustainability, animal welfare, social fairness and regionality.

The BAVARIA fabric is more voluminous, softer and fluffy. This allows it to absorb and release moisture even faster.

Islandpferd traegt Satteldecke aus Wolle Petrol
Our saddle pad Storm|Ice
New wool vs Lambskin

Sheepskin has the same material advantages as new wool, it is just as thermoregulating and breathable. It also provides more padding under the saddle, but a lambskin pad is usually quite bulky. If this is not taken into account when adjusting the saddle, the well-intentioned pad will not protect the back, but on the contrary will ensure that the saddle that actually fits no longer fits and the horse feels uncomfortable.

Sheepskin is not nearly as robust as wool and needs to be cared for very carefully. You have to be particularly careful here, because lambskin of inferior quality can quickly become matted and in turn cause pressure points that press on the horse's back. It is also not as versatile as new wool, which is why there are more leftovers during production.

New wool is created by shearing the sheep, which is a vital process for all breeds of sheep and is good for them. For the production of lambskin, the animal has to die. A lot of lambskin is chemically tanned with chrome salts, which is not sustainable and does not harm nature. That's why it's better to buy a medically tanned one, then it has an anti-allergenic effect and is ideal for very sensitive horses.

A saddle pad can be great for horses that really need extra padding under the saddle. It distributes pressure peaks extremely well. The the saddle panels are actually responsible for this, which means that a well-adapted saddle does not need it at all. We would only consciously consume lambskin pads if they are really needed and make sure that they are of good quality and come from animal-friendly production.

Islandpferde Hengst im Toelt mit Satteldecke Petrol

Why is a wool saddle pad particularly good for the horse?

A good saddle pad is sweat-wicking and will keep your horse's back dry after exercise. Because a sweaty saddle position after riding is quickly the cause of cooling and thus tension in the back muscles. For the well-being of the horse, it should be breathable. Heat does not accumulate under the saddle.

It has a good cut that can be flared out well at the front and back. This ensures a free withers and spinal canal. It doesn't slip or wrinkle because the material fits the horse well and it has good attachment options. The lump-free, springy filling prevents painful pressure points by distributing pressure peaks. This makes the saddlecloth as thick as necessary and as thin as possible. Good design for your personal pleasure. Of course, our saddlecloth meets all of these criteria.

Islandpferd trägt Sattelpad aus Wolle

A Pad made of wool

A Saddle Pad A wool saddle pad has no major advantage over a wool saddle pad, except for style reasons. Those who prefer it discreet and want something that disappears under the saddle should use a pad. If you are looking for a correction pad or anti-slip pad, you should be aware that these are only useful for short-term corrections up to the saddle adjustment .

The problem with this: You only need such a pad if you want to conceal a saddle that doesn't fit. Here you should better adjust the saddle instead of resorting to such a solution. Because if the saddle (which doesn't fit) is pulled forward and the pad prevents it from slipping, the horse's coat pulls quite a bit.

In addition, heat accumulates under such a pad and sweat is not absorbed. Be careful, a wet back quickly turns into a cold back with tense muscles!

Wool Lunging Pad

A lunging pad does not necessarily have to be made of wool - but if you buy it from us, it makes it 100% sustainable. True to our No-Waste-Motto , we have come up with a new way of using leftovers: the lunging pad. However, this has nothing to do with shabby rest. Thanks to the narrow cut, we have succeeded in optimizing the cut of the saddle pads.

This means that the pad is made of exactly the same top material as the tried and tested saddle pads. Our ponies can now enjoy the same advantages when lunging as they do when riding. And after the pads are sewn from the offcuts of the saddle pads, they will be available in all the appropriate colors.

Uncomfortable lunging straps can chafe and restrict the horse's freedom of movement, as the horse walks in a protective posture to avoid pulling on the coat. A pad means that the leather or plastic of the lunging girth does not lie directly on the skin and chafing and breaking of the skin in the saddle area are prevented.

The pad also protects your lunging belt from sweat and dirt. A springy filling prevents painful pressure points and protects the horse's back.

Everything fits together. Isolfur wears Sportsfreund x Melasol Saddle Cloth Magnolia

How do I care for my wool equipment?

You rarely have to wash wool because of its self-cleaning properties. She'll be happy if you air her regularly and ensure that she dries well. Hair, sawdust and dry stains can be easily removed from the cleaning kit with a brush. Tackle larger stains with a wet cloth and some soap or horse shampoo. Hand washing in lukewarm water is always possible. Machine wash depending on the machine, but always cold in any case. Here is our care guide.

You should wash a wool saddlecloth every one to three months, depending on the intensity of use. The best indicator of whether your saddlecloth/pad needs to be washed is how sticky the underside is. The fat from your horse's coat, together with sweat, sticks together the wool fabric and seals it from absorbing moisture. So if the saddle cloth is sticky or even greasy, it has to be put in the washing machine as soon as possible. This can be done at 30 degrees in the wool wash cycle.

Our favorite Isipullis are from Brogaard Isheste og Strik
Wool clothes, the best for you in winter

Wool is definitely not an old-fashioned material that's reserved for grannies and terribly itchy on the skin. There are many ways you can wear wool while riding yourself. Whether as a base layer, like the functional underwear from HGG made of merino wool, or as a warm and stylish Icelandic sweater. Wool socks also guarantee warm feet. We Love Corrymoor.

The biggest advantage of wool for you: Even in cold temperatures you can quickly start sweating when riding. Wool absorbs moisture so well that you don't freeze like you do in synthetic fiber clothes, but stay dry and warm even when you're sweaty. In addition, socks or sweaters made of wool are not so incredibly thick that you can no longer move. They also warm up very well in fairly thin layers.

Voluntary advertising for these small companies.

Made of wool, sustainable and social. A perfect accessory for you.

Treat yourself to a sporty made of wool

Use of leftovers: We regularly have colorful leftovers from our beautiful Loden fabric from our saddlecloths - way too good to throw away.

The Sporty is our super-sweet tölting talisman.

It is sewn by refugee Syrian women in Lebanon. In addition to financial support, this gives them a meaningful task and further prospects.

We commissioned the aid organization Zeltschule e.V . to make our sporties. We have agreed a unit price that is three times the German production price. We get a normal bill for this.

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The Sportsfreund Studios blog contains numerous tips on dealing with horses. From fitness training to the learning behaviour of horses - you can read it all here. The blog is written by Karolina Kardel from 360 Grad Pferd.

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