When to rug a horse?

Needless to say, all horses are different and all have different requirements when it comes to winter rugging. If you've got a sturdy native breed who lives out all year, isn't clipped and doesn't do much work - he may not need to wear a rug at all.

Or, if your horse is a little Thoroughbred type, he's probably going to need a whole wardrobe of rugs for all different occasions and purposes!

Some rugging considerations for you:

  • Does your horsey live in or out?
  • What type/breed is he?
  • Is he clipped?
  • What/how much work is he doing?

Work out what he is, what he does and what he needs from his rugs, then you can go shopping!

What types of horse rugs are there?

Stable rug

Like a duvet for your horse to wear in the stable. They come in light, medium and heavy weight for different times of the year or different types of horse. You can have a classic neck, high neck or full neck and the full neck can be detachable. Stable rugs are not waterproof so don't turn your horse out in one!

Outdoor/Turnout Rug

Like a duvet for outdoor use! These rugs are waterproof and made from tough, durable fabric. They also come in various weights and neck choices.

Fleece/Travel/Cooler Rug

Every horse needs a rug like this no matter who he is or what he does! They are lightweight but warm, too, and best of all, they're breathable so they are great for putting on wet horses, sweaty horses, layering under other rugs for extra warmth, and for travelling.

Which horse rug to buy?

Buying horse rugs can be a tricky business. There are lots of different brands to choose from and there's a big range in prices. In most cases buying a really cheap horse rug isn't always a good idea. It won't last as long as a good quality, more expensive one, and you'll only have to replace it sooner!

If you're looking for a new rug for your horse, you'll need to decide exactly what it is you need the rug to do.

  • Do you want a light, medium or heavy weight?
  • Do you want a neck cover?
  • Does the neck cover need to be fixed or detachable?
  • Do you want legs straps or fillet string?
  • Do you want an extra big tail flap?
  • Does the rug need to be breathable?

How to wash horse rugs

Try to keep your horse's rugs relatively clean over the winter months by brushing some of the caked mud off them with a dandy brush, combing the worst of the hair off the inside with a plastic or rubber curry comb, and ensuring that outdoor rugs are always dried thoroughly before being put back on.

At the end of the winter it's a good idea to have all your rugs cleaned so you can pack them away neatly for next year.