It’s that time of year again- the nights are a whole lot longer and darker, the temperature has dropped, and the rain and mud have become a permanent fixture in our lives. This is the time of year when rugging is at the front of most horse owners’ minds, but we know what a minefield this can be. With this in mind, we have put together a handy rug guide that combines lots of top tips with new products to help you get the perfect rug/s for your horse this winter.
Do all horses need rugs?
Let’s start off with this question- do all horses need rugs? The short answer is no. If you have a fluffy native with a thick coat who’s in perfect health, you might not need any rug at all. The advice and ideas shared below are broad, so don’t think you have to rug your horse, you might not need to, but if you do, the below will be useful for you!
How do I pick a rug for my horse?
There are a few factors to consider when it comes to how to pick a rug for your horse- we’ll address these in different categories below, but they include size, type, weight, style and cost.
What size rug should I buy for my horse?
This is a really important aspect of rug buying, and it does need thinking about.
In short, rugs are measured in feet and inches and go up in 3” increments, so you could have a 6’3” rug, a 6’6” rug, etc. This measurement is taken from the centre of the chest, across the horse’s ribs, along his side, and then ends where you expect a rug to finish. We have a video available on our YouTube channel on how to measure for a horse rug . You can watch it below.
One point to note here is that the wrong size rug can be more than a little uncomfortable and could actually cause your horse injury. Pressure points, rubs and sores can easily happen if a rug is badly fitting. Sometimes, if a horse has rolled and his rug isn’t straight he could still have a rub, and that’s why it is so important to take the horse’s rug off each day, check him over, and then replace, even if he lives out all the time.
What kind of rug do you need?
There are various different types of rug, but it’s usually pretty obvious which one you need for which situation. If you need a rug for outdoor use, you need a turnout rug. This rug will be waterproof. If you’re looking for an indoor rug, you’ll be looking at stable rugs that don’t have a waterproof outer, although some are made of water resistant fabric to help prevent any wet the horse decides to sleep in(!) seeping through the rug.
What weight of rug do you need?
This is an important question. Each rug you buy will have a ‘weight’ on it, and this is usually stated in grams. Some rugs will be 0g- these are going to be turnout rugs that just keep the horse dry, or stable rugs that just help to keep him clean. A 0g fill rug is not designed to keep the horse warm at all.
This 100g Hy Signature Stable Rug is a great option for cooler nights and can also be used as layer if needed.
Rugs up to about 50g are seen as lightweight, 100g-250g as medium weight, and over 250g as heavyweight. Lots of factors are important to consider when deciding on what weight of rug your horse needs. These include:
- Whether or not he’s clipped. Clipped horses usually require heavier rugs than unclipped horses because you’ve removed their natural insulation through clipping.
- Horses who are at the correct weight or are slightly overweight may require lighter rugs than those that are underweight.
- Older horses may require warmer rugs because, in some cases, they can struggle to hold weight as well as younger horses.
- Native breeds usually require lighter rugs than breeds like thoroughbreds because they are bred for this climate.
Please note that over rugging is a real issue and one that is being talked about a lot at the moment in the horse world. Over rugged horses can sweat which can lead to dehydration and distress, which could have an impact on the horse’s health. Like people, some horses feel the cold more than others, and how cold you are as a human doesn’t necessarily relate to how hot or cold your horse is, so be really aware of this when you’re buying rugs for your horse.
The Tempest Original Turnout 200g Rug Set allows you to use it as a traditional neck turnout and a full neck, which can give extra options when it comes to keeping your horse at the right temperature this year.
What style of rug should you pick?
The style of rug is also worth considering- you might find that a rug with a full neck keeps your horse warmer than one with a traditional design that leaves the neck exposed.
Whether you go for a full neck rug, a detachable neck rug, or a traditional rug is largely down to personal preference. Often, people with clipped horses or who ride more during the winter months will opt for full necks because it helps to keep the neck warmer and cleaner, but this is up to you.
New for this season, the Weatherbeeta Comfitec Medium Turnout in Sloth Print has a full neck, 220g of fill, and a fun sloth print.
How much should you spend a rug?
That really is down to you. There are horse rugs available at all price points in store and online. All rugs we stock have been hand-picked by us from manufacturers we know and trust, so you won’t get a bad rug even if you pick one of the less expensive designs. However, what we notice is that the more expensive rugs can sometimes last longer, have more innovative features, use higher quality materials and might have better quality fastenings too. They might also be made of more breathable fabric to help keep the horse comfortable.
The Weatherbeeta Comfitec Detach-A-Neck Stable Rug has shoulder pleats for free movement, 1000 denier strong outer material, and a design that provides wither relief thanks to the integration of memory foam.
Regardless of how much you spend, we would suggest you start by measuring your horse and then thinking about what weight of rug you need. The best rugs can only do the best job if they fit the horse well and are the correct weight for the horse.
Need more help or advice?
If you come in store with your horse’s size and your requirements, we can show you everything available for you to look at and weigh up the benefits of each.
We also sell all our rugs online, and we’re available on the phone or through email if you need any help with online purchases.
Tel: 01908 365335