Horses & Rugs Pt. 2

Horses are man’s most reliable beasts of transport. However, the comfort during riding is best achieved by a cool turnout rug. These rugs come in different styles and colors. Each has specifications that can serve your horse for a number of uses. Therefore, it is essential that you get the details of turnout rugs to go for what fits you perfectly.

Here are some basic considerations to bear in mind when choosing a turnout rug:

The style of make

The appearance of the rug on the back of a horse gives an impression even from afar. There is a handful of different styles of rugs that you should take note of when searching. When choosing a rug, have in mind how much of the horse’s back do you intend to cover. Standard rugs cover the whole body of the horse excluding the hairs and the neck up.



The rug’s weight

Weight is an important element in the selection of a turnout rug. And to allow you choose what suits you best, they come in three different weights:


  • If you intend to keep your horse dry and clean while it’s out in the field, it’s advisable you use the lightweight rugs. These turnout rugs have linings of polyester or cotton and are generally waterproof. In order to maintain their light weight, these rugs lack the inner filling. They are best for autumn and spring climates.
  • Medium weight rugs have a substantial amount of inner filling in them. The linings weight is similar to that of duvets we use at home to cover ourselves. These rugs are best for the winter season. However, there are some horses that can survive comfortably with these rugs during the whole of the winter season.
  • Observe the reaction of your horse during the cold seasons. If the horse appears to be affected by the cold, you may have to use the heavyweight turnout rugs. They tend to have a heavier inner filling to provide a cushion from cold and ensure warmth. Your horse will feel better.



The type of material used

The design of turnout rugs is always aimed at ensuring the material is waterproof. For this, they are often made of tough synthetic fibers which ensure they are sturdy. Turnout rugs are perforated to allow air movement and keep the horse’s skin dry from sweat. Technology has served us with better materials at our disposal. The traditional, heavy and waxy turnout rugs are no longer in use.

The rating of the rug

Turnout rugs are gauged by the denier rating. This rating is in accordance with the strength of the outer cover material. Look out for a number marking that is followed by letter D. Tougher materials generally have higher ratings. Nowadays, turnout rugs are generally tough due to technological advancement.

If you leave your horse unattended, you will suffer the repercussions. However, taking good care of your horse will equally ensure that you get the best services. Remember this and you are good to go.

Horses & Rugs Pt. 1


Although your horse may be fairly resistant to the surrounding circumstances without a rug during each season, a rug can give them maximum comfort during harsh weather conditions.

Horses are warm-blooded and are therefore able to regulate their body temperatures. Their coats act as an insulator depending on the thickness and depth of the layer of hair. More resistant coats grow during cold seasons in certain breeds of horses and ponies. Their coats are naturally waxed which allow their skin repel water that prevents the horse from getting wet.

Excessive grooming of the horse can remove their useful oils. Avoid grooming your horse excessively especially during the winter. Longer hairs on the horse’s coat enable water to flow down the coat without infiltrating into the inner layer of the skin hairs.

It is important to note the following before you decide to rug your horse:

  • Observe the horse’s behaviors during cold seasons. Horses quickly adapt to the cold seasons. They develop a habit of facing away from the direction of the wind and turning their backs against the rain to shield their heads. Similarly, they might seek to shelter under trees or by natural hedges. They sometimes huddle together to keep warm.
  • The presence of frost and snow on the horse’s back is an indication of its insulation. A minimal amount of body heat escapes the skin to defrost its body.

The horse’s adaptation to the turnout rug

Many animals shave evolved to accustom themselves to harsh weather conditions over time. Horses are included in this. It is common for us to empathize with our animals. However, we worry too much about the animals and end up keeping them in stables, unnecessarily feeding them and rugging them. It might be a beautiful sight to see a horse with a rug but your pony might be well adapted to survive without one.

Putting a rug on your horse may affect its ability to regulate its temperatures effectively. The arrector pili muscles of the hairs need to be exercised in order to be best adapted to their functions. The rug on your horse’s back affects its ability to function well when the need calls.

Rugging does brings warmth differences at different parts of the horse’s body but it might compromise the horse’s ability to regulate its temperature naturally. Horses are adapted to use their body fat to keep warm during cold seasons. It is a common practice to overfeed the horses to enhance their fat layers. However, it might cause excessive weight gain and even laminitis. Rugs can also affect the horse’s ability to control its weight naturally.



Know when to rug your horse

In case you restrict your horse’s movement, it is better to rug them. Similarly, rug your lighter breeds and aged horses to keep them warm. If you feed your horses appropriately, keep them in huddles and provide shelter for them, they will easily adapt themselves naturally to the cold.