Five Ways to Check the Fit of Your Horse Rug


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It’s so important that a horse rug fits your horse properly. A poorly fitting rug can cause rubs and irritation, or it can hang dangerously off of your horse and may even slide off. You will need to continuously check the fit of your horse rugs from season to season. Here are five ways to quickly check the fit of your horse rug.

Feel the Chest and Shoulder Area

With the rug on your horse and buckled as normal, insert your hand between the rug and your horse’s chest. You should be able to freely move your hand around your horse’s chest – the rug shouldn’t be so tight that it restricts your horse’s movement. At the same time, make sure that there aren’t large gaping areas around your horse’s chest.

Do this same procedure with your horse’s shoulders. You should be able to comfortably run your palm along your horse’s shoulder. If the rug pinches or restricts your hand, it will certainly cause rubs and irritation to your horse.

Check Surcingle Snugness

With the rug’s belly surcingles buckled, check to see how snugly they fit. You want there to be about four inches of space between your horse’s belly and the surcingles. Less space will mean that the surcingles are too tight against your horse, and more space can mean that your horse may catch a leg up in the surcingles, or that the rug can slide.

Watch the Rug as the Horse Moves

With the rug properly adjusted, observe the rug as your horse moves about. The rug should stay evenly placed on your horse, and shouldn’t drift to one side or another. If a rug shifts about too much, then you may need to find another rug which is a better overall fit.

Observe the Rug’s Length

With the rug on your horse, check its length. The rug should be long enough to cover your horse’s hind end – a rug that’s too short will allow cold drafts and water to touch your horse’s hind end. At the same time, make sure that a rug is long enough so that it covers your horse’s belly without extending too far down his legs, which would interfere with his movement.

Look for Rubs

If your horse has been wearing the rug for a week or so, you can perform one more easy test. Remove the rug from your horse and inspect his body for rubs. Rubs generally indicate areas where a rug is too tight and is restricting your horse. Important areas to check on your horse include his shoulders, withers, and hips.

These five ways to check the fit of your horse rug can help you to make sure that your horse will be safe and comfortable in his rug.

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