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Top 5 Frequently Asked Questions About Horse Rugs

Posted on 25 October 2016 by Kim

Frequently asked questions about horse rugs

As the colder months are approaching, the rug season is just around the corner for some or upon us for others like me! Finding the right type and size of rug can be tricky, so here are my top five frequently asked questions about rugs that might make this subject a bit easier for you!

1. Know what size rug to buy 2. Know what type of rug you need
3. Know how warm rugs are 4. Know how hard wearing your rug is
5. Know how to wash your rug
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1. How do I know what size to buy?

Before you buy any sort of rug, you MUST make sure that you measure your horse first! This is the only way to ensure that you’ll buy the right size rug.

  • Make sure your horse is standing on a flat surface
  • Measure from the centre of your horse chest, to the middle of his hindquarters – about 10-12 inches below the dock of the tail. It may be easier to have someone hold one end, while you take the other!
  • In the UK, old fashioned imperial metrics are used for stable and turn out rugs, i.e. feet and inches. So convert the measurement you have taken to feet and inches. For example, if the measurement is 79”, this is 6’ 7” which means you’ll need either a 6’6” rug or 6’9” depending on how you like the rug to fit. The same would apply if you’ve measured in centimetres (cms), e.g. 200.5cm.

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2. How do I know what type of rug I need to buy?

The type of rug your horse needs depends on your horse’s circumstances:

  • if he lives out in his field or lives inside his stable
  • the season
  • if he’s clipped or not.

As well as the horse’s circumstances, there’s also an element of whether your horse is a cold mortal or a hot soul! If he’s a cold mortal and suffers from the cold, err on the side of the heavier, warmer rugs. However, if he’s a hot horse, choose a lighter weight than recommended. 

If your horse lives out all year, you’ll need a selection of different weights of turnout rugs for different weather and different times of the day as it’s often much colder at night in the autumn than it is during day. These must be water proof and hard wearing if you want them to last. So buy the best you can afford.

If your horse is going to be stabled at night but out during the day, you need both turn out and stable rugs. Stable rugs are NOT water proof and are only used for horses that are stabled or travelled.

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3. How do I know if my winter rug will keep my horse warm enough?

Turn out rugs have different degrees of insulation. This insulation is commonly referred to as the “fill.” This fill is measured in “grams”. The level of warmth a rug provides, is determined by the “fill grams” and the way it works is the higher the number of “fill grams”, the warmer the rug will be.

Below is a handy table that gives you an idea of the degree of warmth provided by different fills. When buying a rug, look at the fill of it, not the name of it, i.e. a Medium Weight Turn Out etc.

Rug Fill Degree of Warmth Provided
Sheet = Zero Fill Windbreaker = No Warmth
100 grams Light Warmth
150 grams Light/Medium Warmth
200 grams Medium Warmth
250 grams Medium/Heavy Warmth
300 grams Heavy Warmth
400 grams Extreme Warmth
Temperature Not Clipped/Hot Horse Clipped/Cool Soul
10-15 degrees Sheet Light weight = 100 grams
5-10 degrees Light weight = 100 grams Light/medium weight = 150-250 grams
0-5 degrees Medium weight = 150-250 grams Medium/heavy weight = 200-300 grams
Minus 5-0 degrees Heavy weight = 200-300 grams Heavy weight = 300-400 grams
Below 5 degrees< Heavy weight = 300-400 grams Heavy weight = 300-400 grams + under blanket liner

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4. How do I know how hard wearing my rug is?

Believe it or not rugs actually come in different levels of “durability”. The amount of durability depends on the materials that it is made of and the amount of “denier” that is manufactured into the material. The “denier” is relates to the rug’s outer material and its durability is measured by the thickness of the thread count. The higher the denier thread count is, the more durable the horse rug will be. Got it?!!

And here’s yet another handy table to give you an idea of how durable you can expect a rug to be.

Rug Fill Degree of Warmth Provided
Sheet = Zero Fill Windbreaker = No Warmth
100 grams Light Warmth
150 grams Light/Medium Warmth
200 grams Medium Warmth
250 grams Medium/Heavy Warmth
300 grams Heavy Warmth
400 grams Extreme Warmth

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5. Is my rug washable?

Some of the smaller, more lightweight rugs are machine washable and can be washed using ordinary detergents but do make sure that you always read the care label with the washing instructions on it before taking action! Heavier and larger rugs will need to be sent to a professional cleaner that specialises in rug cleaning. You'll find 'Care Instructions' on all our product pages.

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Looking for a new rug? Take a look at our horse rugs collection

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Kim Horton

Co-Founder of EQUUS and a keen equestrian, when Kim's not at her desk she's with her horse, Waldo.


  • Jan Ashworth posted on October 26 2016 at 09:10 AM

    Sorry to point out you have used the wrong table for point 4 durability of rugs using a table for rug fill rather than the fabrics

  • Liz Valentine posted on November 09 2016 at 10:11 PM

    Why oh why don’t they make stable rugs waterproof! My boy ends up with a soggy rug so I put a zero fill turnout rug over the stable rug which helps.Knowing what I know now I would have bought two turnout rugs instead.

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