Why do I need a wool blanket for my horse? Are you thinking about getting a woolen sweat rug for you and your pony? But you are still unsure about the advantages and want to know more about the background of the natural material and the production of loden?
A woollen blanket is good for sweating off, warming up before work, keeping warm in draughts such as during transport. Due to the temperature balancing effect of wool, it can also be used well in summer when horses freeze in their summer coats after long rains or at tournaments. Horses that are prone to muscle tension are happy about the warming and loosening effect of the wool. This also includes seniors who freeze more quickly or show stiffness. Due to the antibacterial properties of wool, the blanket is also recommended for horses with sensitive skin.
Characteristics of Wool
Like all animal fibres, sheep's wool is a protein fibre. It therefore regulates temperature, retains heat and is flame retardant. Wool fibres can absorb more than 30% of their own weight in moisture without feeling wet. Unlike cotton, wool is therefore warm even when damp. This means that loden can be worn even in light moisture without the body cooling down. Wool is also a breathable fibre with dirt- and water-repellent properties. It is wrinkle-resistant and is easy to clean and care for. It also absorbs odours due to its protein structure and has an antibacterial effect.
The term loden is a collective term for dense woollen fabrics of the Alpine region made of pure new wool from sheep. Classic cloth loden has been produced almost unchanged for hundreds of years. It is first woven and then felted. It is characterised by its strength, weather resistance and high windproofness.
This almost forgotten natural fabric has been rediscovered in the field of fashion and sportswear, as it has all the desired properties naturally and without chemical additives, and looks classy but casual at the same time. Growing quality and environmental awareness have led to a renewed demand for this traditional fabric.
Despite intensive efforts by the chemical industry, it has not yet been possible to produce the "miracle fibre" sheep's wool artificially.
After shearing the sheep, the wool is washed, the fibres are spun into yarn and then woven in the case of cloth loden and knitted in the case of fuller's loden. Then, in a process called fulling, the felting is done with water, heat and movement. The fabric is kneaded (rolled) until the original structure is hardly visible and a homogeneous, hard-wearing surface felt with a soft feel is created.
Afterwards, the loden can be refined and finished in various procedures, such as napping, so that different types of loden are created, depending on the purpose and desired look.
The entire process, with its many individual steps, is very time-consuming and is now only carried out by a few fulling mills and cloth factories in Germany, Austria and South Tyrol.
Loden is divided into different types depending on the intended use and manufacturing method.
- Mountain loden (Gebirgsloden): It has a rustic fabric character and is made from coarser wool that comes from the Alpine region. It is often used to make coats and solid jackets.
- Walk: A knitted - not woven - loden. Knitted loden is less expensive than woven loden and fits the curves of the body better due to its flexible mesh structure. It has a more uneven surface appearance and less strength compared to cloth and mountain loden.
- Cloth loden (Tuchloden, Melton loden, suit or jacket loden, Bolzano loden, cloth loden): A heavily felted loden, woven in plain weave or twill weave. It is not napped and therefore has a smooth surface.
Origin of the sheep's wool
In textile production, a basic distinction is made between new wool and wool. Pure new wool comes from the shearing of live, healthy sheep and is of higher quality. Wool also comes from sheep, but wool from dead animals and recycled material is also processed. Loden is traditionally made from virgin sheep's wool, which today comes mostly from countries such as Australia/New Zealand, South Africa and South America, as the wool coming from here is softer due to special breeds of sheep and the milder climate.
However, due to this change, native sheep species with coarser wool, such as the Rhoen sheep, are threatened with extinction, as their wool is hardly noticed any more.
Mountain loden is made from the wool of native sheep and thus supports their preservation.
Sheep kept in our country are used for landscape management and meat production. In the past, the price to be obtained for wool was often so low that it was cheaper to destroy the wool directly after shearing. This trend is slowly turning around because wool is increasingly being rediscovered as a valuable raw material with a variety of uses.
With sheep from the Alpine region, you can be sure that they lead a nice, species-appropriate life. Under no circumstances are they subjected to so-called mulesing. This is a practice that is against animal welfare in our country, but is widely used in Australia. Mulesing is the removal of the skin around the tail and the docking of the tail without pain relief. The aim is to prevent infestation with fly maggots (myiasis), which is distressing for the sheep. Effective alternatives are being sought. Fortunately, this practice is not only not allowed in our country, but is also not necessary by nature.
Eigenschaften von Loden
- temperature-balancing: Due to the fabric structure of the loden, a regular and controlled heat balance takes place, creating a microclimate zone on the body. Loden does not let the cold through, retains body heat and thus guarantees exceptional wearing comfort. Unlike cotton, wool is warm even when damp. Thus, loden can be worn even in light moisture without the body cooling down.
- weather-resistant resistant: Through the elaborate processing of the new wool, the fulling, the loden not only becomes more resistant and warmer, but also water-repellent.
- breathable: Pure new wool is extremely breathable, i.e. it absorbs water vapour from the body and releases it to the surface of the fabric. Wool fibres can absorb over 30% of their own weight in moisture without feeling wet. This property of loden is particularly important for horse rugs and sportswear.
- windproof: Because the loden is processed without chemical additives, its wind-breaking property is retained. The loden retains its windproof property up to wind force 10.
- dirt-resistant: Due to the fabric structure and the wool lanolin, virgin wool is absolutely insensitive to dirt. This means that dirt and grime can be easily brushed off the loden when dry.
- environmentally friendly
History of the manufacturing company of our Bavarian Mountain Loden
The Tuchfabrik Mehler was founded in 1644 and is now run by the 11th generation of Paulus and Ludwig Mehler. This makes Tuchfabrik Mehler the oldest cloth manufacturer in Germany and also the 29th oldest industrial company in Germany.
The company's location in Tirschenreuth has a long clothmaking tradition and even Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was taken with it during his visit in 1786 and was quoted as saying: "The little clothmaking town is beautifully situated. "
How do I care for my wool rug?
A horse blanket made of wool rarely needs to be washed because of its self-cleaning properties. It is happy if it is aired regularly and if you ensure that it dries well (it dries a little slower than fleece blankets).
Hair, sawdust and dry dirt stains can be removed well with a brush from the grooming kit. Coarser stains can be removed with a wet cloth and a little soap or horse shampoo.
Sportsfreund-Studios the Icelandic horse shop with the largest selection of wool products
Besides two different woolen sweat rugs, we also have woolen saddle cloths and saddle pads SHOP
Write to us if you have any questions!