Over rugging: A Rugging Guide


Do you find yourself constantly wondering what rug to put on your horse? Many prefer having the lightest rugs possible as it can be all too easy to over-rug. Lots of horse owners think it's better to keep your horse warm than let them get cold. The biggest issue can be chilly mornings and warmer days, the horse may then sweat under the thick rug that was put on in the morning as you whizzed off to work. 


Horses are extremely good at regulating their own body temperature and are perfectly happy when the environmental temperature is between 5°c and 25°c.


It’s much easier for a horse to warm up than cool down and this is where the danger lies. A horse that can’t cool himself down sufficiently will potentially get heat stress.


The first signs of a horse that has heat stress are:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Restless/Colic-like symptoms
  • Rapid heart and breathing rate
  • Lethargic
  • Dehydrated


If an obese horse is rugged too much it will prevent them from losing weight which can put them at risk of laminitis. Horses should gain weight during the summer and lose weight during the winter, by over rugging we mess with their hormone levels which as already mentioned, can lead to laminitis and other problems.


How do I know when my horse needs their rug?

When deciding what rug to put on, use this handy chart to help you figure out what rugs to use:

 Over rugging chart sheet

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