Miniature Shetland turnout rugs are outdoor rugs designed specifically for the unique build of Shetland ponies. Shetlands are not simply smaller than horses, but their proportions are also a little different. It may not be possible to rug a Shetland with a small regular horse rug and achieve a correct fit. Instead, it is better to look for Shetland pony turnout rugs for sale that are designed specifically for the breed.
Turnout rugs are designed to provide warmth and waterproof protection for horses and ponies when they are outdoors. These types of rugs are breathable and often quilted to keep the horse dry and warm. Miniature Shetland turnout rugs can also help to keep ponies clean in muddy conditions, reducing the frequency of bathing.
Shetland ponies are incredibly hardy. They originate from the Shetland Islands in Scotland where the climate is incredibly cold. Snow, frost and ice are common in winter. As a result of this, Shetlands are built to withstand tough weather conditions. They have long, thick fur which in cold temperatures stands up on end to trap a layer of warm air. This air acts as insulation to keep the pony warm.
In winter it’s not uncommon to see Shetland ponies covered in a layer of frost, or even with icicles hanging from the ends of their fur. This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re too cold. In fact, beneath the frosted tips of their fur they will feel warm and dry. It is, therefore, not always necessary to use a Shetland turnout rug when a pony is outside in cold weather.
However, some Shetlands are more susceptible to the cold than others. If your pony is clipped and doesn’t have a thick layer of insulating fur, they might have a hard time staying warm without a rug. Very petite ponies and older ponies may also need a Shetland turnout rug to keep them warm. You might also choose to put a rug on your Shetland pony if they are suffering from a health condition or illness.
Despite their hardy nature, Shetland ponies benefit from having shelter available where they can keep out of snow, heavy rain and biting winds. This might be in the form of a man-made field shelter, or natural shelters such as trees or hedges. If they are turned out in a field without adequate shelter, they would benefit from miniature Shetland turnout rugs to keep them warm and dry.
If you show your Shetland pony, you might want to use mini Shetland turnout rugs to help them stay clean before shows. Since Shetland pony fur is so long and thick, bathing and brushing them is a long process. Shetland turnout rugs should cover the entire belly and chest of the pony – the areas which are most susceptible to getting dirty – so that only quick touch-ups are needed before a show.
A good quality Shetland turnout rug should be made from a waterproof yet breathable material. It’s important that air can circulate through the rug so that the pony does not sweat and get damp. A damp pony can actually become colder because their fur becomes too wet to be able to create the important insulating layer of warm air mentioned above.
It’s important that your mini Shetland turnout rug fits snugly, but it shouldn’t be too tight. Not only could a tight-fitting rug inhibit their ability to roll and gallop, but it could also push their fur down so close to their body that they cannot keep warm. Although Shetland turnout rugs are designed to help a pony stay warm, they can do the opposite if they interfere with the pony’s natural ability to insulate itself.
These types of rugs usually come up to the bottom of the neck. However, some feature additional fastenings where neck covers can be attached to provide further protection. Shetland ponies tend to have very long manes which can become dirty and matted in muddy conditions. Neck covers are useful to keep these manes as clean and as tidy as possible. Some of these covers can even extend to the top of the pony’s head for complete protection or coupled with a horse hood.
Shetland pony turnout rugs usually wrap underneath the horse’s belly, and they have straps and clips in this area to ensure a snug fit. You’ll also find straps and clips on the chest where the two sides of the rug should overlap if the rug is a correct fit. Some Shetland turnout rugs are elasticated to stop wind and rain from getting in at the neck area.
If your pony is in between two sizes, look out for features such as adjustable straps to help you get the perfect fit. Some rugs have reflective strips on them, which are useful for finding your pony in a field at night. If your pony will be wearing a rug for long periods of time, look for a rug with a soft inner lining to ensure it doesn’t rub or irritate your pony.
When it comes to rug weights, most miniature Shetland turnout rugs are lightweight because the breed is so efficient at keeping themselves warm. However, middleweight and heavyweight rugs are available. The weight of a rug, measured in grams, refers to the weight of the filling inside the rug. The greater the weight, the more insulation a rug provides. It’s important not to over-rug your pony, as doing so could make them sweaty and damp, so keep checking their temperature by touching their skin underneath the rug. If their skin feels damp, the rug is probably too heavy.
When you see Shetland turnout rugs in the UK, you’ll notice they’re sized in feet and inches. Use a soft tape measure to measure along the pony’s side horizontally from the middle of their chest to the end of their rump.
Shetlands have long, thick fur to protect them from the harsh climate of the Shetland Islands where they originated. They usually do not need heavy rugging, but using lightweight rugs for turnout when it’s very cold, wet, or snowing can be helpful if shelter is not available.
Shetland pony turnout rugs are usually waterproof, whereas stable rugs are more for warmth and for drying off a wet horse. Fleeces are often used as stable rugs, and these do not offer protection from rain or dirt in the same way as Shetland turnout rugs UK.