In the UK, winters can get quite cold and very wet. Horses, in general, are pretty hardy creatures and can cope quite well in the cooler weather, but when it is constantly wet and chilly, as it can be sometimes, it can cause them a fair bit of discomfort and your normal turnout rug may not be the only solution. It can cause skin problems – rain scald being one of them – and can cause them to lose weight as they shiver to try and keep their core body temperature up. No one wants that for their horse, which is why it is important to get the best winter horse rugs in the UK that you can afford.
The following points summarise why it is important to look for the best horse rugs for winter.
The purpose of rugging is to keep the horses dry and warm. It gets considerably cooler in the winter months, and rugging your horse with the best winter horse rugs in the UK will stop them from shivering due to harsh cold and damp conditions, which could cause unwanted weight loss.
Horses that have been clipped need to be rugged in the winter in order to regain the warmth that has been lost due to the removal of their hair. It can also prevent rain scald in wet weather and can reduce the cost of feeding throughout the winter.
Horses require the best winter horse rugs in the UK more frequently when the weather is cooler and the days are shorter. The weather can change rapidly at this time of year, and some months are significantly colder than others. Keep a temperature gauge outside the stable so you will know when to get the winter horse rugs out, when to remove the rug when the temperature rises, and when to bring your horses into the stable during a particularly cold spell.
You should also be checking the temperature of your horses on a frequent basis to determine whether or not they require a rug in the winter. If your horse is too chilly, their wither will feel cool, and if they are too hot, their wither will feel damp to the touch. It is imperative that you attend to a horse who is shivering or dripping with sweat right away.
Every horse is different, so it is important that their winter rug fits them properly. Horse rugs are generally measured in imperial measurements; feet and inches, increasing in increments of 3 inches. When measuring for a new winter horse rug, take a soft measuring tape and measure the length from the middle of the chest, going along the side of the body and the back of their quarters.
If your horse is measuring in between sizes, go for the next size up in their horse rug. A little bit too big is better than being too small and this is the case for any heavy weight horse rugs.
A well-fitting rug should be secure around the neck in order to prevent the rug from slipping back over the withers and resulting in sores. However, you do not want the chest to be too tight because this will prevent the horse from easily lowering their head to graze. In addition, the rug should have enough space in the shoulders to allow the horse to move freely without rubbing and causing hair loss or even blisters at the shoulder.
A good place for the seam to stop is right above the beginning of the horse’s dock, where the rug meets the tail flap. To guarantee that the rug remains in place if the horse rolls or the rug begins to slide, the leg straps should be looped over each other to make a figure-of-eight. They should not be too tight because the horse needs to be able to walk, trot, and canter comfortably, but they also should not be too loose that they hang over the hock when the horse is at rest.
In addition, most surcingles, or stomach straps, are intended to cross under the horse’s stomach and should be snug (a hand should be able to glide easily between the strap and the stomach) so that the horse’s leg does not get caught when getting up.
The rug’s denier is the heaviness of the outer cloth that was used to construct it. As the denier number rises, the rug will get thicker, warmer, and more resistant to wear and tear. The 1200D or higher pile density is recommended when purchasing a rug in the winter. The amount of stuffing in a rug is measured in grams per square meter (GSM). The greater the GSM of the rug, the more comfortable it will be for the horse. If you are looking for a rug in the winter, we recommend something with a weight of 360gsm or higher. Consider this when looking at any heavy weight turnout rugs or heavy weight stable rugs.
There are several different types of styles that describe the properties of a rug:
Standard – The rug does not extend past the horse’s withers and does not cover the horse’s neck.
This is a suitable choice for lighter-weight rugs for milder weather, but not for heavier-weight rugs for colder temperatures.
Combo – the rug wraps around the neck, almost touching the ears. It is this type that will provide the most coverage for your horse during the chilly winter months.
It is vital to keep your horse’s needs in mind. For example, a thoroughbred horse that is stabled most of the time will require the best horse rugs for winter in the UK than a sturdy cob that spends the majority of his time in the field.
Horses are forage eaters and their digestive system acts as a fermentation vat which can be increased in cold weather to keep them warm. They can eat for up to 16 hours a day, so rugging can save you significantly in food costs.
Over-rugging can cause your horse or pony to overheat, which can lead to metabolic diseases and laminitis. It can also cause your horse or pony to become overweight, which can lead to metabolic disorders and laminitis. When horses become overheated, their blood is sent to the skin surface, allowing them to dissipate body heat through sweating.
Remove any leftover dirt, mud, and hair from the rug with a brush. Place your rug in a mesh wash bag to keep all of the straps and buckles contained, preventing them from becoming damaged and preserving the life of your washing machine. Machine wash your rug on a delicate cycle with a gentle detergent. Fabric conditioners should not be used since they may cause weatherproofing to be compromised. Hang it up to dry and ensure it is completely dry before packing it away to avoid mould issues.