Comfort throughout the year is essential for a horse. Horse owners must get the right rugs or blankets suitable for different weather conditions. Rugging helps keep the mammals warm during winter. There are various rugs for warm days, like the horse turnout rug and others for exercising, dancing, or jumping.
Circumstances that Warrant Rugging Your Horse
A horse turnout rug or horse blanket is like a coat put on a horse to keep it warm, protect it from insects and elements, and regulate body temperature. They drape on the horse’s back, covering the entire body, including the chest.
Some go all the way to the neck and the leg tops. Rugs have belly straps to secure the sides, and others are strapped from the front. Other rugs are closed at the front, meaning they go over the head, and others have leg straps to prevent the rugs from slipping off. Check out the Weatherbeeta fly sheet that keeps off bugs and insects in summer. Here’s why you need to rug up your horse.
- When your horse has health challenges and is underweight. A thinner horse will experience a high metabolic rate trying to maintain the body’s warmth, resulting in weight loss.
- Horses with naturally thinner coats (Thoroughbred or the Arabian).
- A fully clipped or shaven horse can no longer resist natural weather.
- Horses with chronic conditions like arthritis are unable to self-warm.
How Horses Minimize Heat Loss
As a mammal, the horse is self-sufficient as far as body temperature regulation is concerned. When temperatures range between 0 to 25 °C, a horse function well. However, sometimes the temperature can drop below zero. Here’s how the horse minimizes heat loss:
- Horses cluster together to share natural heat or turn their back to face the oncoming bad weather.
- Tree lines prevent unfavorable weather conditions from reaching the horse’s shelter, and adding an artificial ceiling can keep them safe from strong winds and rain.
- Naturally, the horse’s outer coat is an efficient thermal barrier that traps heat to keep the body warm. If your horse is covered in ice, it shouldn’t worry you.
- The horse is an unending forager, meaning it keeps warm even in cold weather. A lot of energy is created and released from grazing to digesting. The process acts as a natural heat source.
- Horses gain weight in summer and then shed some of it during winter months.
Types of Horse Rugs
The horse rugs available in the market are designed to prude warmth and protect the horse from elements that can cause harm. In the same way, you take time to select a dressage saddle, choosing the right rug for your horse is vital. Factors like weather (summer, winter, rain), age, purpose, and lifestyle are important to determine the kind of rug you purchase. Here are the major horse rug types available in the market.
- Turnout rugs
- Sweet itch rugs
- Exercise sheets
- Stable rugs
- Fleece and cooler rugs
- Showing sheets
- Fly sheets
The Bottom Line
Although the horse can regulate its body temperature, sometimes it may be necessary to lend a hand. As a horse owner, you need to understand the type of rug to get your horse, the purpose, and when to use it.