Recycle & Reuse Old Riding Gear | 101 Other Uses For Horse Things


As we deal in second hand riding gear we often get asked what the options are for re-cycling those items that are no longer fit for use but should not end up in landfill.

Some suggestions are practical, some are silly and some you should not try at home! We will keep adding to our list and would love it if you also added your thoughts.

Alternative Uses For Old Riding Hats

Assuming the hat is too old or damaged to be used as a spare around the yard or used for in – hand use, how about these ideas: –

Nesting Boxes – Hang by the straps in a safe and secure spot away from cats and small garden birds will occupy it

Drill a few holes in the top, fill with compost and use as a planter for small flowers, or strawberries…you can also contain mint by planting it in the hat before sinking into the ground

Find a secluded spot in the garden, prop up at a slight angle and it’s a lovely cosy home for hedgehogs or maybe voles

Drama groups ,including the local schools, may want them as props

Nursery groups and playschool children can use them in dressing up games

Use to help create an equestrian themed bedroom for a pony crazy child, can then be used as storage for small items – very pretty if you use coloured hat covers and hang upside down in a row under a shelf

Pubs, restaurants and coffee shops can use them as room or theme decoration particularly if they are involved with any equestrian event…close to a racecourse for example

Fill with sand and use as outside ashtrays

Riding schools, instructors etc can use them in a “show and tell” to demonstrate the need to wear one – easily achieved by smashing it with a big hammer!

Use as edge markers up a drive, this is effective when there are lots either side of a drive leading to an equestrian establishment

Use as hanging baskets around any property but again effective when used in numbers in an equine environment

Last but not least – use as an emergency toilet or sick bucket in any vehicle…have seen this implemented in a horse lorry! When you gotta go…you will use just about anything…

Old Leather Bridles | Martingales | Saddles | Driving Harnesses | Head Collars | Bits & Stirrup Irons

Well cared for leather will last for years but there will come a point when using worn out tack could be dangerous and uncomfortable for your horse. So what do you do with these old equestrian items?

Some suggestions

Reins can be reused as dog leads – useful as an emergency spare in the vehicle

Apprentice bridle and saddle makers may be able to hone their skills with it as practice material or even create a recycled item e.g. a purse or bag

Interesting items could be offered to a collector or museum, for example there are collectors of military tack and the former mining communities that have a museum may want old items used by the pit ponies

Pubs and restaurants often have old equestrian items as part of a theme

Tack shops, saddlers, and theatre groups could use them as window and stage props

Old bridles arranged together on a board make an interesting display for any equestrian establishment – identify the parts & use as a teaching aid

Donate as play items to local kids play groups

Add some authenticity to a rocking horse

Group together a collection of old bits, stirrup irons and buckles and display on a outside wall – saw this once at a stud farm in Wales and it’s very effective

Oiled leather burns really well so as a last resort – put it on the fire!

Horse Rugs | Numnahs | Saddle Pads | Girths

Well cared for equestrian items should last for years but everything gets to a stage where its no longer viable to use it for its original purpose so what else can you do with old, tired rugs and fleeces? Or numnahs with rips and stains?


Turnouts make a great insulator for small animal hutches and dog kennels, just wrap around the outside to add a protective layer when temperatures drop

Will work with poultry houses too…

One idea that worked well last winter when it was really cold was to cover the engines of the vehicles overnight, particulary older horse lorries and boxes, with an old horse fleece or stable rug and then a turnout as warmer engines will always start better. Ensure the bonnet is closed overnight but remove the rugs before starting the engine!

Rugs can be cut into patches for rug repairs keep all straps, buckles and surcingles for also repairing other rugs


Offer them to your local rug cleaner/repairer in lieu of a small discount off any you have in for cleaning, they can use them for repairing other rugs

Keep the trunks of young trees protected from grazing stock by wrapping them in an old rug, secure with girths or leather items too old to use

Log piles can be protected from the elements with a turnout

Use turnouts as emergency covers for tables at car boots, being quite heavy they will not blow away as easily

Stable rugs and fleeces make great dog and cat blankets –animal rescue homes may also be glad of them

Any old rugs can be used to protect vegetable beds through the winter, heats the earth up ready for planting and needs less digging as the worms work harder

Compost heaps work better when covered as the heat generated helps the breaking down process, old turnouts are perfect for this

Or use them to line the car boot to give protection from muddy boots etc

Numnahs and pads make lovely soft lining for cat & dog baskets

Cut to shape and roll up in old leggings or tights etc to make door draught excluders, tie each end with nice ribbon to secure – works better with stable rugs and fleeces, adding smooth pebbles will make it heavier and work better

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  1. Wanted damaged unusable blankets for recycling. Credits can be applied to a future account for you to use towards blankets still in use. Pick ups available Peterbough-Owen Sound.

  2. because it was going to be REALLY cold last night, we covered the vehicle engine in 2 old horse rugs that are really beyond repair, it must have helped because it started this morning (new battery also)…..

  3. got any ideas for re-using old riding gear? care to share them?

  4. other uses for horse things? we need some fresh ideas for this – do you have any? if so, pop over to the website and add yours…

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