Reducing static shocks when unrugging.

removing Static Horse fly rug

This time of year can be a nightmare for static shocks, especially when changing the horses fly rugs. Whilst at best a static shock is unpleasant it can leave your horse feeling scared of being unrugged or of coming near you. Static is caused by 2 objects rubbing together and one supplying electrons to the other. These electrons build up and are released when you touch a conductor, such as something metal, another person or your horse. As we move around during the day our clothes rub together and against our skin, causing a build uo of electrons, and as our horses move about in their fly rugs they rug moves against the horse, causing a build up of electrons. These are then released when we touch our horses fly rug. This rubbing together of clothes and rugs happens all year round, but only seems to cause static shocks in the summer – why is that – The answer is dryness. Moisture eliminates static, so anything you can do to help retain moisture in your skin and your horses coat will help. Look carefully at the clothes you are wearing as fleece and wool fabrics build up static, also rubber is a really good insulator, so if you are wearing rubber soled shoes or boots, the static will build up and have nowhere to go,. Transmitting into a static shock when you touch something.

If static shocks are a problem for you and your horse there a number of things you can try to help eliminate them. We have put a handy guide together for you.

  • Where possible avoid wearing fleece or wool material and try to stick to cotton as much as possible.
  • Using fabric conditioner when washing your clothes will help to minimise your static build up, and you can also use a fabric conditioner when washing your horses fly rug, again to help minimise the static built up.
  • After washing your clothes or the fly rug be sure to air dry them and avoid using a tumble drier, as this builds static up in clothes.
  • Spraying the inside of the fly rug with hairspray before putting on the horse can help, along with spraying your clothes and the fly rug again before taking the rug off .
  • Wiping the inside of the rug with a tumble dryer sheet before putting it on the horse, and again wiping it over the rug again before taking it off helps, you can also rub down your own clothes as well, to disperse any static you are carrying.
  • Wetting your hands and spraying the fly rug with water will help to disperse the static, another way is to rub moisturiser into your hands before handling the rug. Coat shine sprayed liberally on your horse before rugging, helps to keep the coat moisturised and again helps prevent static from building up.
  • Finally you can get anti static sprays, such as Static Guard, and anti static wristbands to wear and use.

If you have tried everything and you are still getting static shocks then before touching your horse you can touch something metal, this will give you a static shock, but should prevent you transferring it to your horse. Other methods to try include lifting the rug off the horse in stages, rather than pulling it off, and also where possible try and wear leather soled shoes. We hope this guide give you a few ideas to test out and eliminate your static shocks.

The Tidy Tack Rooms Team

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One reply on “Reducing static shocks when unrugging.

  • Louise Kelly-Ramaer

    I always have this problem when taking off fly rugs. I pat my horses on the neck continuously making a connection whilst taking the fly rugs off, this helps somewhat.
    Thank you for sharing some other tips. I usually wear rubber sole shoes 😬


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