Overrugging: A Rugging Guide

 

Now Spring is here I find myself constantly wondering what rug to put on Ruby who is a chunky cob.  I always believe in having her in the lightest of rugs possible, but can see how easy it would be to over-rug, thinking it would be better to keep your horse warm than let it get cold. The biggest issue at this time of year is that mornings are quite chilly but as the day warms up the horse may then sweat under the thick rug that was put on in the morning. 

    

Horses are extremely good at regulating their own 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.

 

First signs of a horse which 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 now we are in Spring time. Horses should gain weight during the summer and lose weight during the winter, by overrugging we mess with their hormone levels which can lead to laminitis and other problems.

 

To help with the decision of what rug to put on Ruby daily, I use this little chart which helps me to decide when I should be using certain rugs on her.

 

I hope that this guide helps people out with what to rug their horses with and can help to prevent overrugging!

 

See you soon,

Kirsty xx