Stable Rugs

Stable rugs are lightweight and comfortable rugs designed to be used when horses are in sheltered areas. They are not waterproof and are used primarily to keep the horse warm and clean. Check out the best stable rugs for horses in the UK in our extensive range.

Does my horse need a stable rug?

Horse stable rugs have a couple of different purposes. The first is to keep the horse warm, and the second is to keep them clean. Stable rugs aren’t necessarily essential, particularly if a stable is well insulated and doesn’t have any chilly draughts. However, there are lots of benefits to using stable rugs in the UK where the weather is changeable and cold temperatures are common during winter.

Regulate temperature

Compared to humans, horses can control their temperature incredibly well. They don’t tend to feel the cold until temperatures drop below zero degrees Celsius. With the shelter of a stable, they are unlikely to be exposed to the freezing cold or snow. However, when in the stable, they do not have much space in which to move around in order to keep their bodies warm.

A lightweight stable rug is therefore often a good idea to use at night, particularly in winter, to ensure they don’t get too cold. It can be tricky trying to regulate a horse’s temperature and know if they’re warm enough. A great way to check is to put your hand on their withers underneath the rug if they’re wearing one. If it feels cold, the horse might need additional layers. If it feels damp, the horse is probably too hot and is perspiring, and the rug should be removed.

Comfort after exercise

Stable rugs for horses in the UK are also recommended for when horses are put away after they have been exercising. When horses’ muscles cool down too quickly, they can perspire and get too cold. A stable rug helps to slowly bring down the horse’s temperature so that they stay comfortable. Plus, the breathable nature of a stable rug allows excess moisture from perspiration to evaporate.

It’s important that stable rugs are lightweight when using them after exercise. Do not apply a heavy rug as this could make them too hot and uncomfortable. Furthermore, it could make them perspire even more, which could actually lead to their temperature suddenly dropping too quickly.

Reduced need for bathing

Although horses are less likely to get dirty in a clean stable than a field, they can still be exposed to dust and muck. Horses can become itchy and irritated when they get too dirty, so a stable rug helps to keep them cleaner for longer in between bathing. Stable rugs are particularly helpful for owners who show their horses and need to keep them looking as presentable as possible before events.

Stable rugs in the UK are also useful to use directly after bathing because they can help a horse to dry off without becoming too cold. Make sure that the rug is suitably breathable. You might want to look for varieties with absorbent materials which can help to draw moisture out of the horse’s fur.

What materials are horse stable rugs made from?

Horse stable rugs are usually manufactured from lightweight materials, such as cotton, but they may also be made from synthetic materials. Often, they have a quilted exterior and are filled with padding, which adds warmth. The amount of filling added to a rug is measured in grams and the heavier a rug is, the more warmth it provides. Heavyweight stable rugs tend to weigh more than 300g, while medium rugs are between 150g and 300g. Anything below 150g would be classed as a lightweight rug, but some lightweight rugs do not contain any padding at all.

A horse waffle rug is a stable rug made out of an absorbent waffle material. These are particularly helpful for drying off horses which are wet, either as a result of bathing, exercise, or exposure to rain out in the field. The sooner a horse can dry off after getting wet, the less likely it is to get cold and uncomfortable. Some people might opt to use a horse waffle rug as a stable rug at all times, particularly in mild weather.

An alternative to a horse waffle rug is a fleece. These are also incredibly absorbent but they tend to be much thicker and therefore warmer. They are therefore better suited as stable rugs in cooler weather, while waffle rugs are ideal for summer. Both waffle rugs and fleeces could be used underneath stable rugs for additional warmth in extremely cold weather.

What makes stable rugs different to outdoor rugs?

Outdoor rugs, also often known as turnout rugs, are usually made from waterproof synthetic materials. They are designed to keep horses dry when turned out in the rain. They also provide better protection against mud, dirt, grass, insects and dust than stable rugs. These types of horse rugs also tend to be cut a little differently than stable rugs to allow the horse to gallop and roll freely, whereas this is unnecessary in the stables.

In the past, turnout rugs were made of thick, heavy canvas, and it was really important to switch to a stable rug when the horse was brought in in order to keep it warm. These days, the modern synthetic materials are light and breathable. Some people find that they can leave a wet turnout rug on their horse when bringing them into the stable and it will dry out quickly enough from the horse’s own body heat.

When considering whether to use stable rugs or simply to use turnout rugs indoors, it’s important to consider the climate and the unique needs of your horse. Small and light ponies may have a harder time keeping themselves warm than large horses, and it might be better to switch into a dry stable rug than leave them in a damp turnout rug. The same goes if your horse is old, has health problems, or is clipped. Some ponies are simply unhappy and fussy when left wet, in which case it makes sense to have plenty of clean, dry horse stable rugs on hand to keep them comfortable when bringing them in out of the rain.


Can I use a turnout rug as a stable rug?

You could use a lightweight turnout rug in the stable, but make sure it is breathable and not too heavy as this could cause the horse to perspire and get damp and cold. It is not a good idea to use a stable rug outdoors, as they do not offer waterproof protection.

Can I use a fleece as a pony stable rug?

A fleece makes for a suitable stable rug for your pony. Fleeces are often used after washing or strenuous exercise to keep horses warm as they cool down, but they can also provide warmth and protection in the stable when the horse is dry.

Can you put a stable rug under a turnout rug?

A stable rug can be used under a turnout rug to provide additional warmth when the horse is out in the field in cold weather. Just keep in mind that the pony stable rug may become dirty and will probably need a clean afterwards.