In our more recent article we focused on the key materials used to make horse rugs. This knowledge is vital as it is an important step in making your way through the expansive market that is winter horse rugs towards a purchase that will serve you and your horse well. In this article we will briefly review the main types of winter horse rugs on the market and provide some useful tips to make sure you get the longest quality life out of your product.
The Right Rug For The Job
Is there a rug that will keep my horse looking and feeling healthy, groomed and protected? Will a warm rug I use in the stables have the same effect if used outside? Being unsure of the type of horse rugs you need is a common area of confusion for most new horse owners. Products will often spruke their advantages in a way that can leave you wondering what they can’t be used for. Below we’ll cover off on the main types of winter horse rugs and provide some tips on how to protect your products.
Stable Rugs - Horses that are clipped and stabled are generally unable to move freely about and generate their own body heat during colder months. For this reason, a stable rug is key to providing that warmth. Like most horse rugs they will come in various weights with heavier rugs for very cold climates and lighter rugs for warmer climates or for horses that live mostly inside throughout the year.
Show Rugs - Today’s show horses are usually clipped so as to prevent their natural winter coat from growing. Competition horses used in disciplines like eventing or showjumping will be clipped so as to minimise overheating, excess sweat build up and discomfort. Show rugs are best suited for use here as they are made of a soft warm and breathable base layer making them perfect for day to day wear. They will also often incorporate a ripstop poly-cotton blend for protection and further heat retention.
Stable and Show rugs will often be padded or quilted. They come in various fill weights so it best to match the weight of the rug against the age of your horse and the conditions it is stabled in.
Stable and Show Rugs are warm because of the fill within them. The greater the amount of fill, the warmer they will be. Resist the temptation to pile on heavy rugs as this will flatten the fill and decrease the warming effect of your rug. The more rugs you pile on, the worse it gets.
Remember they are not waterproof and will get extremely heavy if exposed to the rain so they shouldn’t be used for turnout.
Turnout Rugs - are used when your horse will be roaming outside in the elements. Well designed turnout rugs will protect your horse from all extreme weather conditions, keeping them warm and dry.
Tack Tip - Turnout rugs come with various levels of protection and warmth so make sure you take into account your horse’s living and grazing conditions, your cliping routine, weight, age and exercise level before purchasing a rug.
Riding Rugs (Quarter Sheets & Walker Rugs) - if you have a horse that is clipped in winter, or exercise your horse in very cold weather, then a riding rug, quarter sheet or walker rug can make your horse more comfortable. Keeping your horse’s back warm improves warmup times and ensure your horse is able to perform, no matter the weather.
Rainsheets - are lightweight (usually with very low to no fill) and should obviously be waterproof. Probably the more versatile amongst horse rugs, rainsheets can be used with or without a liner, or layered over a stable rug. In warmer weather, rainsheets provide an extra layer of sun protection.
Tack Tip - Rainsheets, particularly those made of cotton will be breathable, striking the right balance between UV protection and cooling. However, no matter how good your rainsheet is, it won’t have the same effect as shade, so make sure your horse has plenty of that
In our next blog…
In our final article in this series, we will look at some simple tips for caring for your winter horse rug so keep an eye out for that.
There’s plenty to consider here but lucky for you at Active Equine, we have the quality products, competitive pricing and friendly and prompt advice to make your choice……easier.
So take the time to check out our range of winter horse rugs and drop us a message with any questions you may have, we are always happy to help.