Over rugging: A Horse Rugging Guide

Over rugging: A Horse 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.

2-minute read

So what is the right thing to do when it comes to rugs?

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.

The key thing to remember is that 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 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

In addition, if an overweight horse is over-rugged it will prevent them from losing weight which can put them at risk of laminitis. Horses in the wild have survived for centuries by gaining weight during the summer months and losing weight during the winter, by over-rugging we risk messing with their natural hormone levels which as already mentioned, could lead to laminitis and other health problems.

How do I know when my horse needs their rug?

When deciding what rug to put on your horse, use this handy chart to help you figure out what rugs to use. This guide has been put together by the Masta horse rug product development team.

Stabled / Temperature-10 - 0°c0 - 5°c5 - 10°c10 - 15°c15+°c
Stabled / Clipped400g300g200g100gNo rug
Stabled / Unclipped300g200g100g0gNo rug
Turned Out / Clipped300g - 400g200g - 300g100g - 200g0g - 100gNo rug
Turned Out / Unclipped200g - 300g100g - 200g0g - 100g0gNo rug
Over rugging horse temperature chart sheet