Why are there so many different rugs in equitation?
The need for different horse blankets for different activities has changed in line with rapid development in handling, maintenance and sports in the equestrian world. Stable rugs, turnout rugs, rain rugs, fly rugs, eczema rugs and even magnetic therapy rugs are all worn for extended periods of time to fulfil entirely different needs from cooler rugs, show rugs, exercise rugs and transport rugs.
Not sure how to choose the right rug for your horse?
As a general rule, horse rugs should be of breathable, skin-friendly materials, have secure fastenings and fit perfectly to avoid slipping and accidents. This is particularly important for rugs that are worn for extended periods of time when the horse cannot always be supervised. If a blanket slips when the horse plays or rolls, it becomes a trip hazard or might cause the horse to panic.
Different rugs for different activities
To gently warm up muscle before training, an exercise rug or exercise sheet is a great choice. They can be fastened to the saddle to protect the horse's sensitive back. Very light and breathable, they help the horse to warm up without getting too hot.
After training, muscle should cool down slowly. Especially in chillier temperatures, a cooler rug is very useful. They are lightweight and must be very breathable and moisture wicking to transport sweat away from the skin efficiently. This way, the muscle can relax and coat and skin do not have to handle sweat for long.
During transport, the horse is standing still for longer periods and might also be exposed to chilly temperatures and drafts. For this reason, transport rugs are often made of slightly thicker material and are softer and skin-friendly to keep the horse comfortable and calm.
During a show, show rugs are a great eye-catcher, but they also prevent the horse from catching drafts or getting cold while walking to the ring or standing still while waiting their turn.
Fly rugs and eczema rugs, turnout rugs and rain rugs are all essential for the horse's well-being when outside. Protection from cold, wind and rain is as important to the horse's well-being as protection from insects in summer. Being uncomfortable can quickly lead to tensed muscle and less focus when exercising.
Stable rugs and outdoor rugs do not only keep the horse comfortable in chilly weather, they also prevent the horse from growing a thick coat. Especially in bigger yards and among competition riders, this makes life a lot easier because a thinner coat dries more quickly during training and looks tidier during competitions. Horses that are a bit too thin due to age or their general nature and horses with a tendency to back problems benefit from wearing a rug as well.
Magnetic therapy rugs are a great, non-invasive way to speed up the healing and recovery process after injury or intense training sessions. The magnets in the blankets stimulate the cells' metabolisms and encourage blood flow.