Your horse’s comfort and wellbeing will be at the top of your list of priorities, and one way you can maintain this is by rugging them throughout the year. However, there are different rugs you’ll want to use at different times of the year. For example, using lightweight horse rugs in the spring will be much more beneficial than using them in winter. Let’s explore horse rugs and if they need to be worn all year round.
What Is A Horse Rug?
Horse rugs are covers that your horse can wear to protect them from the elements and keep them warm and dry. They come in different sizes and weights, so you can choose from lightweight, all the way up to heavyweight. You’ll need to consider the weight of the rug throughout the year as this is likely to change depending on the season.
Clipped Vs Unclipped
When a horse is clipped, you remove a natural layer that normally keeps them warm. So, if your horse is clipped, they may need a thicker rug or may need to wear them more often. Essentially, if your horse is clipped, you need to replace the thermal layer with rugs to ensure they’re kept as warm as they should.
How To Check Their Temperature
No matter the time of year, you want to regularly check if they’re too hot or too cold. An easy way to do this is by popping your hand under their rug and feel if they’re warm or not. Then you can make the decision to either add a layer or remove one. It’s essential to check how your horse feels, especially when the weather is unpredictable in seasons like Autumn.
Spring and Autumn – When Should You Rug?
Spring and autumn are very similar seasons as they’re both very unpredictable. The morning could be fairly mild and sunny, but by the afternoon it’s rainy and chilly. Mediumweight rugs can be ideal for these days as they protect them from the slight chill and offer protection from the showers. However, some days might be warmer, and they might just need a lightweight rug. On the other hand, the days could be very cold and damp, so a heavier rug is needed. This is why it’s good to check how warm your horse feels throughout the day so you can ensure they’re kept at an optimal temperature.
Summer and Winter – When Should You Rug?
Summer can be a tricky one. Depending on your climate, your summers might be quite rainy, but still warm. So, it’s a good idea to provide your horse with a waterproof, no-fill rug. On blazing hot days, you still may want to fit them with a no-fill rug to protect their skin from sun damage and insect bites. However, do not over rug them. Overheating them can be very easy to do when they’re fitted with the incorrect rug. Take some time to decide what will be best for the day ahead.
Rugging in the winter is a must. Not only will it be cold during the day, but it will also be freezing at night so it’s important to ensure they have a thicker turnout rug and stable rug too. However, you can still over rug your horse even in the winter. Some horses are generally warmer and don’t feel the cold as much, so be sure you know your horse and don’t add layers upon layers if they don’t actually need it.
Rugging your horse comes down to preparing them for their day ahead. Just as you would dress for the weather by layering up and wearing waterproofs, think about how your horse would feel without any of these and you’ll be able to decide whether or not to rug for the day. Fitting a rug may not be necessary all year round as summer may not call for it, and spring can actually have some pretty warm days too. However, making sure they’re warm enough throughout the year will ensure you have a comfortable and satisfied horse.