Which rugs your horse needs for winter will depend on whether they are stabled or out, what kind of horse they are (for example a thoroughbred will need more than a hardy native), their age and how cold it gets. Getting the right balance is key, as an uncomfortable horse might try to remove their rug which could injure your horse or damage the rug. It’s also essential to get the fit right. See our guide to measuring your horse for a rug here: http://www.olddairyblog.co.uk/how-do-i-measure-my-horse-for-a-rug/
Turnout Rugs are useful if your horse is kept outside for some or all of the time. They come in different weights – light, medium and heavy. They should be breathable and waterproof. A heavyweight will offer the most warmth and protection from the weather and if it gets very cold a more susceptible horse may need this, however, a medium weight is likely to be enough for most breeds through the winter in the UK and some very hardy types might only need a lightweight turnout rug.
Stable Rugs also come in different weights, from lightweight to heavyweight, which should offer from 350gsm or more. A stabled horse is likely to feel the cold and will need some sort of cover during the night at least.
There are also several ways you can enhance the warmth of your rugs, meaning you don’t need one for every eventuality!
- Under rugs are specifically designed to add an extra layer or warmth when it’s really cold, making them a great option to boost warmth. Made to sit well underneath stable or turnout rugs, they offer a really comfortable solution to staying warm.
- Another option for added warmth is to add a Fleece or Cooler under a stable or turnout rug. Already handy to have around all year, they are perfect for topping up on warmth when required.
- Additionally you will need to think about neck cover. Unless your horse has a very thick mane, they will probably need some sort of cover if it is cold enough for them to be wearing a rug. These are either detachable or can be integral to the rug (known as a ‘combo’). The benefit of a detachable neck is that it can be removed to suit the weather conditions. A combo on the other hand is less fiddly, and provides great warmth.
Remember to frequently assess whether your horse is wearing the right rug and not getting too cold or over heating. Check your horse’s rug for any damage and remove the rug regularly to check for rubbing. And obviously, if the rug gets really wet or damp, replace it with a dry one.