With each changing season, you might be wondering if your horse is getting the most out of its rug and there are so many different options available that you might be unsure where to start. As well as your larger breeds, ponies will also need to be kept warm and dry. You can find rugs specifically made for smaller horses such as Shetland rugs. But no matter the size of your horse, you’ll probably need to change up their rug throughout the year, and here’s why.
Types Of Rugs
There are different types of rugs to think about first. There are turnout rugs that protect your horse from the harsh elements and keep them warm when needed. Then there are stable rugs that are designed to be worn only in the stable. These rugs ensure your horse is warm enough throughout the night and also help to keep them clean.
Both rugs come in a different weight, meaning there are different thicknesses to choose from. A lightweight rug will have little to no filling and is ideal for warmer weather. Then there are mediumweight rugs. These are good for keeping your horse comfortable in the Autumn breeze. And finally, there are heavyweight rugs. These are the thickest type of rug and are best for when the weather really takes an icy turn.
When it turns frosty, you’ll want to ensure your horse is kept at its optimal body temperature as best you can. By using a heavyweight turnout and stable rug, you can keep your horse toasty in the winter sunshine and during the freezing nights. However, you may find that your horse is used to colder weather and doesn’t need such a thick rug. Or they could be the opposite and feel the cold right down to the bone, so they’ll need the thickest rugs of all. It’s likely that they’ll need a heavier stable rug as this is when the temperature drops the most. This is why it’s crucial that you change up their rug when the weather starts to change as their summer rug isn’t going to provide them any insulation from the cold.
During the summer, you may find you only need a lightweight or sheet rug to cover your horse. These rugs offer protection from the sun and can help reduce insect bites. These breathable rugs are also good for helping keep your horse’s body temperature down. Like us, they need to perspire to keep cool and a lightweight rug will allow the perspiration to move away from the body. However, if they have on a rug that’s too thick, they can quickly overheat and become uncomfortable.
It’s important to ensure that your chosen rug is waterproof too. If your climate experiences particularly rainy summer days, you’ll need to opt for a lightweight or zero fill, waterproof rug. Using a waterproof rug will also save you a lot of time when it comes to grooming them as well.
Rugging your horse can seem like a daunting task with endless options, but if you break it down into the different seasons, you’ll be able to figure out what they need. If you compare it to how you would like to be dressed, you’ll find it easy. For example, in the winter, you have more layers and a thicker coat on. So, your horse will probably need a heavyweight, thicker rug too. It also depends on your horse. If your horse spends a lot of time outdoors, it may not need as thick a rug as a horse who stays in the stable a bit more. Try not to overcomplicate it, you know your horse and climate best so go with your instincts and you’ll have a happy, content horse for sure.