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Choosing The Right Rug for Your Horse, Pony or Donkey Is Important

Horse Rug Size

Pick a horse rug which is too small and your horse could suffer from chafing or sores. 

Choose a horse rug which is too big and you risk the possibility of injury to your horse or pony if they become snagged in something.  If the horse rug is not a good fit, for example there is over exposure at the back end, your horse will not be getting the warmth and protection you think you are giving in bad weather.  A good horse rug will fit securely so it says on properly even when your horse subjects it to a good workout in the field or stable.

Choosing the correct rug is important and many factors need to be considered as ‘over rugging’ can be detrimental to the horse or pony.

So, when choosing the correct rug many factors need to be considered such as: age; whether the horse is clipped; breed and so on. If the horse is clipped then the warmth from the coat removed needs to be replaced plus adding some extra for the colder weather so you would typically expect these horses to be wearing middleweight and heavyweight rugs throughout the winter months.

On the other hand if you have a pony or Shetland that is unclipped but does not do well in the wet weather then you would be more likely to choose a lightweight or perhaps in colder months middleweight rug. Breed is also a very significant factor as native types can tolerate much harsher conditions than for example a thoroughbred. We are always happy to advise customers by telephone, e-mail or Facebook if they would like advice on rugging.

By design, Ruggles horse rugs are made from high quality materials, so they are robust and stand up to the demands of your horse or pony. Where appropriate, fastenings are strong and in precise locations to make sure your horse rug stays where it is meant to be. Ruggles uses high quality materials to keep your horse comfortable year round with well fitted horse rugs.

Choosing the right sized horse rug

Unlike other parts of Europe, in the UK (as well as USA and Australia) rugs are measured from the middle of the chest rather than wither to tail and are sold in feet and inches with rugs going up in increments of 3”. Whether measuring a horse, pony, Shetland or donkey the way to measure is the same.

When considering purchasing a new rug (and in particular if you have a new horse or pony) if you have never measured your horse then we thoroughly recommend you do so rather than taking the word of a previous owner as it is amazing how many horse owners do not know how to properly fit their rugs.

Once you know the actual measurement of your horse you will find it much easier to discuss rug requirements. To measure take the tape measure from the middle of the chest of the horse, go round the shoulder (this then takes account of their build which is important for a good rug fit) and straight along the side of the horse as shown in the diagram to where you want the rug to finish – which is approximately in line with the top of the tail.

If your horse falls between sizes which statistically most do then we would recommend you go up to the next size and not down as they are very adjustable at the chest and it is important there is good coverage at the back end.

Fitting your horse rug

When your Ruggles horse or pony rug arrives you will need to ensure the fit is correct before allowing them to be turnout out or stabled in it.

To see if your horse rug fits correctly you should check that you are able to slide your hand comfortably between the rug and the horse’s neck and shoulders. Also that if the horse bends head as if to graze that it is not too tight.
The fillet string should be under the tail (if there is one) or if leg straps then ensure that the leg straps are not too tight which can cause rubbing but conversely are not too long which can result in the horse getting them caught.

The surcingle straps should be adjusted so that they sit just below the horse’s belly so that you can get a hand between the belly and straps. They should not be longer as then there is danger of the horse getting legs caught when rolling.

Click here to find the right Ruggles horse rug for your horse or pony