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Choosing Turnout Rugs for your Horse

Your horse should be kept clean, warm and dry throughout the seasons. In order to properly protect them against the elements you will probably require more than one horse rug to suit different conditions.

A turnout rug is a water resistant, insulating and breathable cover that is use to protect horses from the elements when they are turned out into a field. They tend to have a water-resistant outer material to protect against wet weather and then an insulating filling to maintain warmth. Turnout rugs generally aren't used in the stable as they can be damp after being worn outdoors.

So you may need both a stable rug and a turnout rug. You might even find that you need more than one turnout rug as various levels of insulation could be required to cope with the different conditions throughout the year. It is important to ensure that you have an appropriate rug for your horse and there are several factors to consider when making your choice.


These days, turnout rugs for horses are made from durable and robust technical fabrics which are resistant to tears. These synthetic fabrics are strong enough to suit even the most active and athletic animals. However, the quality of horse rugs does vary and it could be the case that you get what you pay for. A high-quality horse rug will cost a little more but will last longer and so could prove more cost effective in the long run if well cared for.


Turnout rugs are available with different levels of fill, a bit like duvets! You can choose between light, medium and heavy fills and so there are rugs to suit all weather conditions. You should also be aware that horses vary in their ability to keep warm. Just as it is important that they don’t get too cold, it is also crucial that they don’t get too hot and sweat under a rug. You should watch your horse carefully after purchasing a new rug to make sure that you have struck the right balance. Consider things like the thickness of your horse's coat at different times of year, whether they are clipped, how much your horse feels the cold and what your seasonal weather is like.

You could purchaser a medium or heavyweight turnout rug as a winter rug and then switch to a lightweight turnout rug for the chillier/damper side of spring and autumn.


You must also be careful to choose a rug which fits your horse well. If the rug is too loose it will not provide good insulation and may slip. If the rug is too tight then your horse won’t have the freedom of movement that they need and the rug could rub them. You can measure your horse to establish the size of rug required. Do this by measuring from the centre of the chest along the horse’s side to the tail using a tape measure or piece of string that you can mark and measure afterwards. Horse rugs are usually shown as sizes in feet and inches such as 6'3". If you find that your horse is between sizes then choose the larger of the two options.

Horse rugs generally have adjustable chest straps, cross surcingles (straps that cross under the horses belly) and leg or fillet straps (strap that goes across under the tail) so that you can get just the right fit.


Turnout rugs are available in both standard and combo styles. Standard rugs offer no protection for the neck. Combo rugs feature an integral neck cover for additional warmth. This can sometimes be rolled back but for maximum flexibility a detachable neck cover is the best option.

It is well worth taking the time to ensure that you choose the right turnout rug. This is an important investment that will serve you and your horse well if you make the right decision. We have a superb collection of horse rugs here at Equi Supermarket. We have chosen the finest turnout rugs from the Amigo, Bridleway, Horseware Ireland, Shires, Mark Todd, Weatherbeeta and Masta ranges. You are sure to find the perfect rug for your horse here at Equi Supermarket.


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