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Does Your Horse Need a Stable Rug?

Well the answer to that question is almost certainly yes.

You may have been asking yourself how many rugs you need to invest in. It is tempting to try to get away with too few, but this really isn't a good idea. Your horse will need at least one turnout rug to remain clean, dry and warm when outside but it will also require a stable rug for warmth in winter and possibly to keep clean and in tip top condition for competitions.

Horses do have their coats to protect them from the elements but stables can be cold and draughty places in the winter months. Horses are unable to move about enough in the stable to warm up and so your horse may well need extra insulation, particularly if it has been clipped. So why can’t you use a turnout rug in the stable?

Turnout Rugs vs Stable Rugs

It is not pleasant for your horse to be left in a damp turnout rug when it returns to the stable. It will also be impossible for you to dry the rug out or to clean it if your horse is wearing it and so a stable rug is a must. Stable rugs for horses are designed to afford the right amount of movement for the stable environment and will leave your horse less prone to rubbing and itching. In turn, the stable rug should not be used as a turnout rug as it will lack the necessary waterproof layer for outdoor use.

Which Stable Rug?

So, you need a stable rug but which one? Stable rugs for horses are available with light, medium and heavy fills. Horses vary in their ability to retain heat and so require different levels of insulation. You should keep a close eye on your horse to make sure that it is neither too hot nor too cold. If it is too cold its ears will be cold to the touch and any exposed hair will stand on end. Your horse will adopt a rigid stance with a clamped down tail and may shiver. If your horse is too hot it will be visibly sweating and appear restless. As temperatures can change dramatically across the seasons you may require rugs of different weights to cover all eventualities. It may also depend on whether you have clipped your horse for the winter.


Whichever weight of stable rug that you require you must ensure that it fits correctly. A rug which is too tight will restrict your horse’s movement and quickly become uncomfortable, whilst a rug which is too large can slip leaving your horse with inadequate protection. To guarantee the right fit you should measure your horse using a tape measure. Rugs are sold in both UK sizes and European sizes. For UK sizes measure your horse from the centre of its chest to its buttocks where the rug should finish. For European sizes measure from the top of the withers to the tail. You can then consult the size charts of the brands whose rugs you are considering.

Stable rugs for horses are a wise investment which will serve your horse well but it has to be a rug of the correct weight and size otherwise you may not get the full benefit.


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