As all horse-owners well know, to their constant dismay, it takes a determined quadruped a mere moment to pull a buckle off a winter blanket or to completely tear a flysheet apart in the back paddock.
Equine equipment is too expensive to keep replacing, but luckily help is at hand from Rebecca Leblanc, pictured here with Indy, wearing a custom-made neck-piece for the Lope for Hope event last week.
Based on Wilson Road in Quyon, Leblanc has been in the business of repairing horse blankets and other fabric-based gear for over 12 years.
Whether it’s a matter of a simple patch or a full-scale rebuild, Leblanc has the skill and needle-power to remedy the most dreadful horse-generated damage.
Rebecca Leblanc has been making and repairing her own clothes since she was in high school. She learned to repair the torn horse blankets her mother brought home from her work at with Garth Henry, a large animal vet with Russell Equine, in Russell, Ont.
“I had been altering my friends’ clothes for years so I just jumped in on blankets,” said Leblanc. “When the children were young, I would set up at night and sew like crazy. Once, I did 75 blankets in two days. Fixing tears and replacing buckles, dealing with coolers filled with holes... everything.”
And so Rebecca’s Horse Blanket Repair was born.
Leblanc prides herself on the exacting standard of her work. “Horses are very sensitive; they can feel a fly land anywhere on their skin and they can certainly feel a stitch in the wrong place,” she explained. “A stitch that is wrong feels like hay in your bra… it’s not fun!”
Oh deary me... that's a mess...
Wow, as good as new!
A bad repair will result in a horse continuing to work at the blanket until it is torn again.
“A horse blanket has two parts, the inner and outer, whether it’s a rain sheet or a winter rug – if they have been stitched together it degrades the integrity of the blanket and lets the water in,” she said. “I like the detective work; I want to know why the rug was torn: sometimes there could be a stalk of hay between the two layers that is causing the horse to rub against it.”
She also offers a blanket washing service. “I hand wash blankets in soap using a recipe from Dr. David Suzuki rather than detergent [so it will not] degrade the waterproofing,” she said. “The soap doesn’t irritate the horse’s skin either. I know horses and their wellbeing is paramount to me.”
These days some of Leblanc’s repair work comes due to her nasally dexterous Haflinger gelding, Logan. “He will strip you naked with his mouth and nose looking for treats. He loves the sound of Velcro ripping”, Leblanc said with a laugh. As a result of Logan’s investigative prowess, Leblanc is often repairing his paddock-mates' blankets.
As well as repairs and adjustments, Leblanc is up for any challenge horse-lovers may have for her. She recently created a cell-phone holder that attaches to a saddle, along with a line of bit-warmers. She also creates costumes for themed events and personalized sleeves to place a horses' name on their halter. Some of her products are available at the Farmer's Store in Luskville.
There are always so many halters in a barn... note Logan's name on his, far right.
“I will try and make anything,” she said. “People can throw me a problem and I’ll come up with a solution. I love to get creative.”
Find Rebecca’s Horse Blanket Repair on Facebook.com/Rebeccas-Horse-Blanket-Repair.