Finding the Right Horse Rug to Keep your Companion Comfortable

Since horses spend much of their time outdoors or stalled, they need to be properly protected from the cold. Well-chosen horse rugs can play a big role in keeping your animals at a temperature that ensures optimum health and comfort. You'll find plenty of affordable new and used horse rugs here on eBay, so here are some tips to help you find the right one for your horse.

What size rug should you pick?

It's usual to pick a horse rug according to the height of the animal that's going to wear it. A good guide is to start at 115 cm for a pony measuring 12 to 13 hands, then add 10 cm to the rug size for every hand of height. Therefore, a 16.4-hand horse should fit a rug measuring 155 cm. These are guide figures that may vary depending on the specific brand you choose. See the manufacturer site for details. It's important to choose rug size carefully, since one that's too large may not fit snugly, while a rug that's too small could tear.

What's the difference between materials used in horse rugs?

There are a wide variety of rugs available, ranging from lightweight rugs for cold-resistant animals like outdoor cobs to thick, cosseting fabrics for thoroughbreds that spend most of their time in stables. You can choose between classic natural fibres and hi-tech materials that have been developed for specific types of horse. Some materials include:

  • Nylon: A very common fabric for horse rugs, it's available in a huge range of thicknesses, colours, and styles.
  • Ripstop: Nylon strengthened with polyester weave, this is a strong material often used for turnout rugs.
  • Thinsulate: Frequently seen in stable rugs, this material emulates horses' natural down for extra warmth.
  • Wool: Looks attractive and can be very warm, but won't wick sweat away well from a horse's body.
What other factors affect the rug choice?

Horses that are high-spirited and boisterous are more likely to damage a rug, so it's especially important to choose one with secure, well-fitting fastenings. Most rugs have two straps. A docile horse may feel the cold more and need a slightly thicker rug. Some horse rugs come with detachable extensions to cover the neck or head, and these can help retain more heat. Finally, bear in mind that a clipped horse will also feel the cold a little more.