Best Horse Rugs for Autumn
The temperatures are a-changing! Autumn is looming. The nights are already cooler and we’re having the odd milder day. It's time to think about rugs for our horses. But which rugs should you be using in late summer and early autumn...?
The answer is “Lightweight” rugs. As with their medium and heavy weight counter-parts, these are available as turnout and stable rugs. They offer adequate protection when the weather is still variable, often warm or hot during the day in September and October, for example, but dropping to single figures at night.
Both turnout and stable lightweights are available with or without a filling. If your horse struggles to keep condition, go for something with a filling. Lightweights typically have a filling of 0 - 150 grams.
Lightweight turnout rugs tend to have some significant differences that can go unnoticed unless you have your wits about you! Take summer sheets, for example; unless otherwise stated, they’re not waterproof. They’re basically designed to keep your horse clean, that’s all!
Go for a rug with a polyester lining as it’ll be so much easier and quicker for you to straighten it once you’ve thrown it on your horse. This is simply because the polyester glides over the coat, unlike a cotton equivalent. Take this from one who knows from experience - needless to say that my lightweight turnout rug with the cotton lining is firmly relegated to the emergency bin!
Some horses don’t have particularly broad shoulders which means the rug often slips back, causing a fair bit of the neck and shoulders to be exposed. If this is the case for your horse, select a rug that has a ‘built in’ or combo neck, i.e. it’s attached to the body of the rug.
If you prefer to have more flexibility than a built in neck cover, a lightweight rug with a detachable neck cover is the answer. One suggestion I would make is to buy the neck cover when you buy the rug, as often there is a lot less stock of the neck covers than the rug itself and you’ll end up having to buy a neck cover that doesn’t match your rug. For those of us with “Matchy, Matchy” inclinations, this is not a great look!
When you leave the stables in the evening, the air may not feel particularly cool. Your horse will still need that little bit of warmth in order to be comfortable, especially in the early hours of the morning when the temperature is at its lowest and he has finished his hay a while ago.
The lightest stable rug that’s used when the temperatures start to drop a little, is the Cotton Sheet. Made of a heavy weight cotton, it’s breathable and easy to care for. Designed to give minimal warmth, it’s a versatile rug that can also be used for travelling or keeping your horse clean at a show.
Next up from a cotton sheet is the Fleece. Again, it’s incredibly versatile as it can be worn on its own as a stable rug or as a travel rug, or it can even be put under a turnout rug or stable rug for an extra layer of warmth. No horse should be without one! It’s great shopping for fleeces as they also come in a gorgeous selection of colours and designs. You can now even get them to match saddle cloths, bandages and ear bonnets as well as your own outfit!
An alternative to a fleece is the Waffle Rug. These tend to be made of textured, cross weave fabric that’s quite hard wearing. For some, this is a multi-purpose rug as it can be used after bathing or exercise to wick away the moisture.
Last but not least in the range is the filled lightweight stable rug, often with stitched channels to keep the filling in place.
One important feature worth mentioning is that pretty much all of the lightweight stable rugs can be thrown into the washing machine - but only when no one else at home is looking!
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