Horse rugs are an important part of any horse fancier’s arsenal to protect his animal against the elements. One of the first decisions to be made in purchasing a rug is matching the weight of the rug to your climate. Rugs typically come in light, medium, and heavyweights. More than one weight may be necessary depending on weather conditions. A horse rug can fall into one of several categories depending on its intended use.
Horse Turnout Rugs
Intended for outdoor use these rugs have a waterproof shell to protect against the rain. The waterproof feature is one of the primary differences between a turnout rug and the stable rug discussed below. Underneath this shell is an under-the blanket to protect against the cold weather. The under blanket can be bought in several different weights.
Winter Horse Rugs
Also called New Zealand rugs are made from canvas or waxed cotton and are very heavy in weight. This extra weight can cause rubbing and irritation to the horse. Some horse rugs come with a fleece liner to reduce irritation. Alternately a shoulder liner can be placed under the New Zealand rug to serve the same purpose. This rug should be sized so that the horse’s belly is completely covered for maximum protection against the elements.
These rugs can typically be found anywhere there are horse rugs for sale. Fly rugs are for protection against flies and other insects. They are made of a lightweight fine mesh material that insects cannot penetrate. This mesh material allows for the circulation of air during the warmer months when insect protection is required. Alternately a version is now available which is impregnated with a fly repellent that is said to be very effective.
Generally, these rugs are made from a single layer of fabric useful for protecting your animal when transporting him. They help to keep your horse clean and free from dust. The heavier rugs afford additional protection from nicks and cuts. A higher “denier” count or thread count indicates a heavier fabric.
Intended for stable use these rugs are made of padded or quilted material. Be sure to order this rug so that none of the horse’s belly is visible. A thinner rug can be worn on colder nights giving you the flexibility to deal with varying temperatures.
A number of online resources for cheap horse rugs are available. Often times these dealers have low overheads that are enabling them to sell for very attractive prices. Be sure to consider online shopping.