Have you been tempted to slip a rug on your horse this last couple of weeks? Heavy downpours and chilly nights have had us running for the lightweights we must admit as we try to keep our horses living out as long as possible! But do our horses really need to be rugged yet – are we mollycoddling our perfect ponies or are we neglecting them if we don’t? To rug or not to rug – that is the question! Here are a few pointers to help you decide!
- You should think about rugging him up once the overnight temperatures start dipping down towards 5-10°C.
- If your horse is clipped then you should rug him up as you have removed some of the insulating layers his coat would have provided
- Don’t over-rug your horse – they don’t feel the cold like we do – start with lightweights and step up the weight of the rug as the weather gets colder
- To check how warm your horse is – slip your hand under the rug behind the withers. If it doesn’t feel warm then you should consider rugging up, or introducing a warmer rug. If its damp, then your horse is getting sweaty and you should drop the weight of the rug he is wearing.
- In the Autumn, days can be warm, and nights chilly, so consider different weight rugs for day and night.
- Wind and rain can really impact how warm your horse is feeling, bringing their temperatures down quite rapidly. Keep an eye on the weather forecast!
- Consider your horse’s age, weight and breeding when thinking about rugs – Older horses, young horses, thin horses and clipped horses will need rugs first