Rug Fitting

7th November 2019

Just as it is for us, certain styles and cuts of rugs suit different types of horses. One brand that is generous in one fitting aspect may be different to another and there is an element of trial and error when you first purchase a new rug for a new horse. But once you have settled on a style and type, a well fitting rug can last a long time (field companion and horse dependant!) and will help you care for your horse in cold and wet weather.

There are many styles of rug available to the horse owner, standard neck, combo, shoulder darts, gussets, leg straps, belly flaps, can seem a mine field at the best of times!
But as a general rule of thumb Unless clipped and living out 24/7, most horses will not need rugging until temperatures dip to 5-10°C. Rug older, younger, thinner or clipped horses sooner.
Horse rugs are sized in feet and inches with 3” increments. To measure your horse for a rug, use a soft tape measure and measure horizontally from the centre of the chest to the end of the rump.

When trying on the new rug the front of the rug should sit approximately 2-4 inches in front of the withers so it doesn't apply unnecessary pressure or rub. You should also be able to fit your hand down the front of the rug; if not, it is too tight and will restrict your horse's movement.

If your horse is in between sizes it is generally better to go bigger rather than smaller unless your horse is particularly petite or narrow chested. When choosing a rug for your horse, the build and shape of the horse should be taken into consideration; a wide and chunky horse may need to go up a size in order to accommodate for their width, a very narrow and fine horse may need to go down a size and a horse with large shoulders may need a shoulder gusset for freedom of movement.

The rug should reach to the top of the tail when the horse is in grazing position with his head down. If the rug doesn’t reach the top of the tail it is too small and won’t provide the necessary protection for you horse. A wet and cold bottom is no fun but a rug that is too large could present a dangerous situation, especially in horses turned out overnight.

Cross surcingles should be adjusted to allow a hand’s width between your horse’s belly and the straps. If the straps are too long your horse could get his legs trapped and cause an injury to himself or damage the rug. If the straps are too short they could rub his belly and restrict his ability to lie down and roll and potentially break or damage the new rug.

Leg straps should be adjusted to allow a hand’s width between the straps and your horse’s thigh. To correctly fasten leg straps you should fasten one around the horse’s leg and then loop the other strap through the first before fastening, this ensures the rug stays in place no matter how much your horse rolls and prevents the rug for blowing up over your horse’s back in the wind. As with cross surcingles, correct, comfortable fitting is essential for horse comfort and safety and rug longevity.

Sometimes the leg straps can be adjusted to offer a filet string rather than leg straps, it is important that this is fastened securely as it will help to hold the rug in place when your horse rolls and lies down and will also prevent the rug from blowing up over his back in the wind.

Check out this link for the latest Horse Rug offers online; Here