It really helps to have a variety of rugs available so that you can keep your horse comfortable whatever the weather.
If your horse is particularly susceptible to biting insects, fly rugs or designs that combat sweet itch can keep him much more comfortable as well as minimising the risk of him rubbing to relieve the itch.
Simple cotton sheets can also be useful in summer, both in the stable and when travelling.
Preventing a Chill;
Its important to prevent horses getting chilled, in particular after bathing or exercise. Rugs which wick away the moisture are useful both after bathing and as under-rugs, and materials range from knitted thermal fabric to lightweight fleece.
Whatever type of rug you buy or use, it must fit well. You tend to get what you pay for, as the more expensive rugs are usually cut and shaped better than cheaper ones. If you prefer a rug with a built-in neck cover to one which attaches separately, make sure its cut so that it doesn’t rub he mane near the withers. And whilst it may sound obvious, make sure the rug is the correct size and is properly adjusted. If the proportions are wrong for the horse, it is likely to slip and cause rubs and pressure points.
Different weights of rugs allow you to keep your horse warm and dry in just about any weather.
I don’t like to use hoods out in the field, as I always feel that if a horse gallops around, there may be a slight chance that a hood will slip and cause him to panic.
If you’re doing slow hacking work on a clipped horse, or one who has a thin coat, you’ll probably need an exercise sheet in cold weather, especially when its both wet and cold.
Keep it Clean;
You need to keep all horse clothing - rugs, numnahs, bandages and boots- clean. There is no point in putting a dirty rug on a clean horse. Our yard sometime looks like an equine laundry, but good hygiene is important to prevent skin infections or cross-contamination.
As much as I believe in rugging most of the time, I don’t mean that you should wrap the horse up from head to toe whatever the weather; but it really helps to have a variety of rugs so that you can keep your horse comfortable during the ever-changing conditions.
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