Nylon is very strong and resilient and it doesn’t hold stains, but it can be expensive. Polyester is lightweight, more affordable, but it’s not as strong as nylon. A blend of nylon and polyester gives you the best of both worlds. The strength and durability of a horse rugs outer layer is usually expressed in denier units. The higher the denier number the stronger the material. It roughly takes 1200-denier polyester to equal the rip strength of 840-denier nylon.
Denier is particularly important if you turn your horse out with other horses. A higher denier means the rug won’t tear if another horse bites or pulls on it. Denier matters less for stable rugs, which don’t get as much wear and tear.
If you are buying a turnout rug then, given the UK climate, it’s very important that your rug is waterproof. Most new turnout rugs will be waterproof, but if you’re buying secondhand, you’ll need to check if the rugs waterproofing is still effective or you can simply have Mud-Rugs wash and re-proof the rug for you.
Polycotton, nylon, and fleece-like wicking material linings are the most common. Many horse owners prefer a wicking liner because it’s breathable and breathable rugs are usually healthier and warmer for your horse.
The fill of a rug is what determines how warm it is. Rugs typically come in light, medium or heavy weights. Depending on the weather your horse could get through the winter with a medium weight rug, but if winter gets bitterly cold you’ll definitely need both a medium and a heavy weight. If you clip your horse a choice of fills is essential.
The fill is typically made of polyester and is measured in grams. On some rugs it will list grams of fill rather than weight.
- A light-weight rug would be a stable sheet whicj doesn’t contain fill.
- A medium-weight rug ranges between 180 grams and 200 grams of fill.
- A heavy-weight rug usually between 300 grams and 420 grams of fill.
Before you buy any horse rug take the time to measure your horse so that you know what size they need. The fit of the rug is very important. Turnout Rugs, stable rugs and sheets that are too big or too small can cause painful sores on your horse’s withers, rub manes and shoulders or generally just annoy your horse.
When trying a new rug on your horse always put a cooler or sheet under it. Then if it doesn’t fit, it will still be clean enough to return.
You should measure from the center of your horse’s chest at the point of the shoulder, then around the shoulder, along the barrel and around the hip to the center of the tail. The size of rug you need will correspond to the number of inches you measure. For example; if your horse measures 78 inches, they will need a 6’6″ rug. Using this method will allow for four fingers at the chest and a few inches below the top of the tail.
Rugs come with different neck styles that provide levels of protection from the elements by preventing rain from entering the neck and wither areas. A high cut neck offers more protection than a regular cut neck. A combo rug can have a full neck cover attached to the rug, while some rugs come with an optional neck cover that can be removed. THe neck cover shouldn’t factor in the measurement.
Similarly some rugs come with tail flaps to protect the other end of your horse from the elements, and to help keep the rug in place. Again the tail flap shouldn’t be counted in the mesurements.
Fitting Your Rug:
For safety’s sake make sure any rug you buy has cross surcingles, chest fastening and either leg straps or a fillet string. Never make the leg straps too tight or as your horse walks their hind legs will pull the rug backwards and rub their chest. And don’t leave the leg straps too loose or your horse will get its hind legs caught in them. Again for safety always cross-loop the leg straps.
Horse rugs aren’t cheap. You should do everything you can to ensure that a rug lasts you a long time and that it remains in good condition. Cleaning horse rugs is a necessity as a tatty or damaged rug will not serve its purpose effectively.
At Mud-Rugs we only use NIKWAX Rug Proof for Re-Proofing that’s proven to work because it’s added during the wash cycle to ensure it gets to every part of your horse’s rug.
We also do all we can to help extend the useful life of your horse rugs. Jill, our seamstress, does everything she effectively can to patch up and repair damaged rugs and replace buckles and straps. And we try to keep the cost of rug repairs as affordable as possible.
DON’T EVER – Wash horse rugs yourself using household detergent. Doing this will destroy the waterproof quality of your horse rug. Household detergent will degrade the waterproofing and break down the waterproof membrane that is applied to the inner surface of turnout rug material.