When the weather turns chilly, humans bundle up in thick clothing, while horses depend on their owners to keep them warm. It can be challenging to determine when to rug a horse because there are a lot of considerations to make. Before delving into the topic of rugging your horse, let’s examine the factors that may influence this decision.
If your horse is unclipped, you will probably not need to use a rug in the fall. After being clipped, a horse must wear turnout rugs unless the weather is hot. If you want to ride your horse during the winter and let him out overnight, a trace clip will work wonderfully to keep him warm in the field instead of a hunter clip.
Once you begin, your horse will become used to wearing the rug. When it’s freezing outside and snowing in mid-January, what would you put on the horse? You must get a rug. But if the weather is a bit hot, you can use lightweight turnout rugs.
It can get chilly if horses are left out in the open during an autumn storm. On the other hand, if your horse is in a field with good hedges or a field shelter and the wind is blowing from the windy side, they will be considerably less influenced by windy and rainy weather. If you have good shelter from the wind and rain, you can often wait a few weeks to put up a rug.
If you ride your horse frequently while in the field, a lightweight fly rug can assist in keeping him clean and dry when it comes time to put on the horses saddle and girth. If his head is wet, gently clean his head and the area behind his ears with a cloth to prevent chafing from the harness.
- Age and condition
The cold usually gets to older horses more severely. If your horse’s condition deteriorated over the winter, this is a terrific time to ensure he is in excellent condition. He can put on a weatherbeeta fly rug to be warm and dry when the weather first gets chilly and rainy.
When is the right time to rug a horse?
Rugging should only be applied after the horse has received other forms of heating. This includes food and shelter, keeping them company with other horses, and not over-grooming or clipping them.
A horse with a short coat or restricted range of motion will likely need a rug. You can take your horse’s temperature by applying pressure near the skin or under the armpit. It is not a good idea to feel the horse’s face, ears, or legs to see if it’s cold. Instead, search for hair that is bristling.
If it’s cold, you might need a rug—or more than one. The horse is overheated and may have to have the rug removed if it feels wet. It could also be helpful to know the exterior temperature of the stable rather than relying solely on your subjective feeling of coldness.
Unless the horse is relatively young, underweight, very old, clipped, or constantly lives outside, it shouldn’t be necessary to rug them until the temperature reaches 5 to 10 degrees Celsius.