Could Your Horse’s Rug Be Affecting His Performance?

With so many shapes, sizes and designs out there to choose from, picking out the right horse rugs for your four-legged friend can make all the difference. Intended to provide value to your horse’s lifestyle, the addition of a rug should help them rather than hinder if you pick out the correct one, allowing them to focus on their performance as they maintain a comfortable body temperature and enjoy a level of protection from the harsh weather conditions.

If your horse rug is ill-fitting, this can cause high levels of discomfort for your horse if it digs into their body, even risking wounds, or can be a safety hazard if it is too loose against their skin. To help you pick out the perfect product for your horse, we’ve pulled together a quick and easy guide to rugging your horse for maximum performance.

Measuring your horse

To establish the perfect fit for your horse rug, grab a tape measure and take the measurement from the centre point of the chest to the high point of the shoulder, then to the rear of the hind leg. As well as ensuring the rug fits comfortably around their body, also check the depth of the design and where it will fall to. If the design is too long, it can risk accidents as they are out and about enjoying the outdoors whereas a design that is too short will not provide enough coverage.

If your horse seems to be in between sizes, it is always better to size up than size down, giving them extra space instead of restricting their movements. Although sizing should be relatively consistent, the measurements may differ slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer. We recommend looking at the size guide for your brand of choice before you place an order.

Positioning the rug

Once you’ve ordered the rug that ticks all of the boxes, ensure you get the best from it by adjusting it to suit your horse’s body. The chest fastenings should overlay the fabric and the front seam should sit naturally forward of the withers. Avoid pulling the rug too far back as it will naturally slide into position as your horse moves about, but ensure that the top of the tail flat sits comfortably in position.

To ensure that your horse has plenty of space to move freely, you should be able to fit your hand in between their body and the rug at all points or this is an indicator that the rug is too small for them. Other signs of an ill-fitting rug include gathering on the hindquarters, exposed coat on the back end and draping over the back end which can get caught.

If you notice any of these, it is worth swapping your purchase for a new size as you want to avoid small fits which may cause excess rubbing on sensitive pressure points or large fits that can get caught on protruding branches or puled by other horse’s, increasing the risk of tearing.