Choosing the correct turnout rug to suit your horse

How Does my horse live? Is the horse stabled 24/7, live out 24/7 or is it turned out during the day and stabled at night, if it is stabled you need to consider a stable rug and the weight required. If the horse lives out then you need the appropriate turnout rug but if the horse is out during the day and stabled at night you may want to look at purchasing two rugs, a stable rug and a turnout rug.

How old is my horse or is it clipped? If a horse is getting older or has been clipped you may want to consider a warmer rug to ensure that heat loss is minimised which in turn may help to minimise weight loss.

What turnout rugs do I currently have and have circumstances changed since last year? Turnout rugs should be checked a couple of months before you know you are going to need them to ensure they are clean and all straps are clean and supple and the rugs do not have any rips or tears. Has the horse gone from living out to now being stabled at night, if so a stable rug may need to be purchased.

Seasons, you may find it more cost effective to purchase three or 4 rugs which will cover you for all seasons, a lightweight turnout rug which has no padding but is waterproof can be used in the spring when the days and nights are warmer but it is wet and in the autumn when the days and nights are cooler or wet. Then early winter a medium weight turnout rug may be suitable but when the snow comes you may need to change to a heavy weight turnout rug. For the summer fly rugs may be the answer, equestrian fly rugs are lightweight and made of fine mesh and they offer protection against flies and insects and they can also protect against sunburn for horses with sensitive skin.

Turnout Rug Weights

The weight of rug you will need will depend on the type of horse, if it’s clipped and its age. A hardy native type with a thick winter coat should not need a heavy weight rug but a TB living out will probably need a heavy weight.

Turnout rugs come in various weights from no polyfill to over 400 grams of polyfill.

Sometimes rugs are classified as ‘light’, ‘medium’, or ‘heavy’. Although weights vary between manufacturers, in general a ‘light’ rug will either have no fill, or sometimes around 40-50 grams of fill. A ‘medium’ rug will have around 200 – 250 grams of fill. A ‘heavy’ rug will have around 350 – 400 grams of fill, although some brands make rugs with up to 600 grams.

Choosing the right size turnout rug

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All rugs be they turnout rugs, stable rugs or Equestrian Fly Rugs are sized at 3” intervals (3ft6, 3ft9 etc)

To ensure you are purchasing the correctly sized turnout rug you need to measure your horse from the centre of its chest along its side to the point just before the tail. The easiest way of doing this is by using a piece of string which you can then measure once you have the length.