Horse Rugs For Sale - Guide to Buying & Fitting


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With so many great types, designs and yes...even colours...of horse rugs for sale, owners are spoiled for choice!

Gone are the days when the only available horse rugs were canvas with grey wool lining. These rugs took a while to break in, going stiff after the first rain and gradually softening over time. They even shrank! They were also often badly fitting, causing unsightly rubbing and chafing on a horse's chest and shoulder areas.

Modern horse rugs for sale are better designed to suit a horse's shape, thanks to clever tailoring that includes contouring and gussets. The synthetic materials means the rugs are light and 100% waterproof, yet very durable.

You can even purchase insect repellant rugs!

HOW TO MEASURE FOR A HORSE RUG

First you need to find what size of horse rug your horse takes. Finding the right size rug for your horse is vital...a rug that is too big will slide around and possibly even partially slip off, which can be dangerous if your horse stands on it and panics. A rug that is too small will be uncomfortable, causing chafing.

If your horse has a well fitting existing rug, you can take the measurement from that but if not, you will need to measure your horse.

To find your horse's rug size, measure from the centre of the horse's chest to the middle of the tail, around the end of the dock. Most horse rugs for sale come in feet and inches with sizings going up in three inch increments.

A rough guide is provided (see below) but note this can vary as various breeds have different conformation traits.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A HORSE RUG

Horse rugs for sale come in so many styles it's impossible to cover them all in a single article, but here's a few things to look for:

• Breast straps–two are better than one, as they help keep the rug more stable.

• Your horse's rug should have a decent drop to protect him from the elements. It pointless buying a cheap rug that leaves your horse's belly exposed!

• Surcingle straps that cross over under the horse's stomach will help keep it in place.

• A fillet string that goes under the horse's tail will stop the rug lifting and flapping in the wind.

• A tail flap isn't necessary but will help protect horses from driving wind and rail.

• What weight of rug depends on where you live. The fabric of paddock rugs is referred to as 'denier', which is a measure of linear density..the thickness of the thread used to manufacture the fabric. The higher the denier, the stronger the material. Most rug manufacturers offer a variety of denier weights in 300D, 600D, 900D and 1200D.

• Ripstop rugs are made from a material that has been manufactured so small rips or tears will be contained.

• Rug linings are also available in different weights measured in grams per square metre, or 'gsm' and range from no fill or 50gsm for lightweight rugs, through to 300gms (and more) for heavier rugs.

• A combo horse rug is one that has a neck rug permanently attached.

FITTING A RUG

Getting the right size for the shoulder is important. A well fitted rug should be around be around 10 cm (4 inches) in front of the wither point, and the same again in front of the point of the shoulder while the back should reach the top of the tail.

The belly straps should be tightened to allow around one hand's width between the belly and the strap. The same applies for leg straps that cross between the horse hind legs. If the straps are too loose, the horse could get his legs caught in them while if too tight, they will rub. If the rug has two front fastening straps, both should be on the same hole.

RUG CARE

Rugs should be regularly checked for any signs of wear and tear and repaired immediately if necessary as small tears soon become big ones. Regularly inspect all straps for wear, and check that metal fittings aren't bent.

It's a good idea to have a spare in case your horse's rug needs to be sent for repairs or whose waterproofing has become compromised in torrential rain.

Some rugs can be hand washed in warm water but avoid using detergent, which can harm the rug's waterproofing. If in doubt, check for the care label sewn onto the rug. Always dry thoroughly in a well ventilated area.

Don't use a high pressure hose or stiff bristled brushes to clean rugs as this can compromise the waterproofing, as can the agitating action of a washing machine.

When not being used, store clean, dry rugs away from rodents or spiders. Storing a damp, dirty rug will result in mould, which will eat into the fabric.

Most horse owners purchase plastic, air tight storage bins to stack in their tack room.

RUGGING TIPS

• Using a cotton rug under winter turnout rugs will help keep the rug clean. The cotton rug can be washed regularly in warm water on gentle machine wash cycle.

• If the rug has snap clips, always make sure they are facing inwards, otherwise if a horse is leaning against wire, they could accidentally clip onto the wire.

• If your horse will be wearing under rugs, your outer rug may need to be a larger size to go over the extra padding.

• Horses wearing layered rugs need regular monitoring so they don't overheat.

• Ask on equestrian forums which brand of rug owners prefer. Most recommend reputable rug manufacturers for good reason! It's false economy to buy a cheap rug that may not fit your horse, or not waterproof.

Taking the time to make sure your horse is comfortable in a rug that is the right size and type means he will stay snug and dry!

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