Rugging a horse - when and why?

18. February 2020 / Guide / 3 Minutes
Rugging a horse - when and why?

Whether you have a clipped horse or just want to give your horse an extra layer of warmth in cold weather, choosing the right rug is important.

The clipped horse

If you have a clipped horse, remember that its only layer of protection against the cold, wind and rain has been removed. Your horse needs its winter coat or a substitute for it to protect it from cold temperatures and environmental conditions. You must be prepared to rug your horse correctly when it has been shorn. The rule of thumb is to rug your horse when the temperature is about 12°C or lower. Whether it' s day or night, if the temperature drops below 12°C, your horse should be protected with a rug. If the temperature drops below freezing, you should put on a thicker rug or a second rug. And if it rains, a suitable waterproof rug should also be used.

Securing the rug

The type of rug you choose is important. You need to choose a rug that will keep your horse warm enough, fit well, and will not chafe, slip or come undone. The safest way to secure a rug is with leg straps on the hind legs. The leg straps prevent the rug from slipping if your horse lies down or rolls around.


The waterproof horse rug

If your horse lives in an open stable, then a rain rugs with an additional water-repellent coating is a must. Choose a rug that will withstand the various weather conditions, as well as running, bucking, rolling and playing with other horses. The rug should be water repellent, or preferably waterproof. Never leave your horse outside in the rain with a non-waterproof rug, regardless of whether it is clipped or not.


Rugging in the stable

If you keep your horse in a stall, you have several options for choosing a horse rugs. You should choose a rug that will keep your horse warm but still adapt to the temperature of the stable. In colder temperatures you can put a blanket on during the day and an additional one at night when the temperature drops further.


Determining rug size

Rug sizes are based on your horse's body measurements. Measure from the centre of the chest, along the lateral line to the hips. The neckline of the rug should extend well over the shoulders and withers. If the rug slips behind the withers, then it is too big for your horse. The rug should also be fastened comfortably and securely at the chest.

Determining rug size

Hygiene as a top priority

It is important that your horse is clean under the rug. Never rug your horse when it is still dirty. Dirt residue under the rug can be uncomfortable for your horse and cause itching and chafing. This will cause your horse to roll around and chafe even more. The rug should also be kept clean and in good condition.


Skin problems in clipped horses

Many clipped horses often suffer from dry skin. Therefore, it is important to use high quality, moisturising care products. Do not use products that remove the skin's natural oil layer. Cowboy Magic Rosewater Shampoo contains gentle additives such as panthenol, which moisturises the skin and hair. Cowboy Magic Rosewater Conditioner can be used to provide a full body wash. It is massaged into the coat (even short, clipped coats), loosening and removing externally adhering minerals and chemical build-up. Keeping the coat well moisturised also prevents static build-up.

Skin problems

The benefit of clipping

One advantage of fully clipping your horse is that you can wash your horse regularly and it will dry very quickly. Use warm water if possible and never ice cold water. After washing, remove as much water as possible with a sweat scraper, then dry your horse with a towel. You can also dry your horse in the sun if it is warm enough. Alternatively, you can put a sweat rug on your horse, which wicks the moisture away from the coat to the surface.

How to rug your horse safely and securely

There is a right way and a wrong way to rug and cover a horse. As anyone who has ever experienced the consequences of the wrong way will agree. As a rule of thumb, you should remember that a rug is put on from front to back and taken off from back to front.

Rugging your horse safely and securely
  1. To put the rug on your horse, fold it in thirds. Then place the rug in the middle of your horse's back. Then fold the rug forward and finally cover the back of your horse.

  2. First fasten the buckles at the chest, then the cross surcingles and finally the leg straps.

  3. First fasten the buckles at the chest, then the cross surcingles and finally the leg straps.

  4. Crossing the leg straps can be done as an option. Either way, crossing the straps will keep the rug centred on your horse.

  5. Before removing the rug, first loosen the leg straps, then the cross straps. Finally, undo the buckles at the chest.

  6. Before removing the rug, first loosen the leg straps, then the cross straps. Finally, undo the buckles at the chest.

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