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May 2024

Horse Rugging Guide Australia


Horse Rugs

Australia’s climate varies from harsh sun to cold temperatures, and rugs are used to keep horse’s comfortable no matter the temperate. Selecting the right rug involves understanding the different materials and types available, such as waterproof, thermal, and fly-protection options. The decision on when and what type of rug to use depends on factors like weather conditions, your horse's age, coat condition, and overall health. This guide aims to help horse owners in Australia choose the appropriate rugging solutions to ensure their horses remain comfortable and protected throughout the year.

Horse Rug Guide

When choosing a rug, consider the weather conditions, your horse's activity level, and whether your horse has access to shelter, and how exposed they are to the elements.

Conditions & Temperature Stabled/clipped Stabled/unclipped Turned out/unclipped Turned out/clipped
15°C & Above Zero fill (0g) or summer sheet Nothing Nothing Nothing
10°C - 15°C From zero fill (0g) or summer sheet to light fill (up to 100g) Nothing or zero fill (0g) or summersheet Nothing Nothing to light fill (up to 100g)
5°C - 10°C Medium fill (up to 250g) Nothing or zero fill (0g) or summersheet to light fill (150g) Nothing or zero fill (0g) or summersheet to light fill (150g) Light fill (up to 150g) plus neck cover
0°C - 5°C Heavy fill rug (up to 300g) Medium fill rug (up to 200g) Nothing or light/medium fill (150g to 250g) Medium fill rug (up to 200g) with neck cover
-10°C - 0°C Heavy fill (300g-400g) with neck cover Medium fill (200g-300g) with liner Light or medium fill (150g-300g) with neck cover Heavy fill (300g – 400g) with neck cover plus liner
Below -10°C Heavy fill (300g-500g) with neck cover plus liner Medium or heavy fill (300g-400g) with neck cover Heavy fill (300g-500g) plus neck cover Heavy fill (300g-500g)

Types of Rugs

Horse rugs vary significantly between summer and winter designs to cater to different weather conditions. Summer rugs are lightweight, made from breathable materials like mesh to offer ventilation and protection from UV rays and insects without overheating your horse. In contrast, winter rugs are heavier and insulated to provide warmth. They are often made from materials like wool or lined with fleece to retain heat and may also be waterproof to shield against rain.

Winter Horse Rugs

Winter rugs help your horse maintain warmth and comfort during the colder months. Winter rugs are designed to provide insulation, shield horses from the elements, and prevent heat loss. Available in various weights and materials, winter rugs can be tailored to match the specific climate conditions and the individual needs of each horse. Features such as waterproof exteriors and breathable fabrics help ensure that your horse stays dry and comfortable, even in wet weather, making winter rugging an essential aspect of horse care during the chillier seasons. Shop them here.

Wool Horse Rugs

A wool horse rug is excellent for insulation and breathability. Wool rugs help regulate your horse's body temperature by keeping them warm in cold conditions without overheating. These rugs are often used in cooler climates or during seasonal transitions. Additionally, wool's moisture-wicking properties keep your horse dry and comfortable. Wool horse rugs are popular for their softness, providing comfort as well as protection against the chill.

Polar Fleece Horse Rug

A polar fleece horse rug is made from polar fleece, a synthetic fabric known for its warmth and light weight. This type of rug is ideal for keeping horses warm without adding excessive bulk, making it perfect for cooler weather or as an under-layer in winter conditions. Polar fleece is also highly breathable and has excellent moisture-wicking properties, which helps to keep your horse dry and comfortable. Additionally, these rugs are soft to the touch, adding an element of comfort for your horse. Shop them here.

Waterproof Horse Rugs

Rainsheets are used to protect horses from rain and wet conditions. These rugs are made from water-resistant or waterproof materials that keep your horse dry and comfortable. Rainsheets are typically lighter and designed to cover your horse without adding warmth, making them suitable for use in milder, wet weather. Waterproof winter turnout rugs may have additional lining for warmth, making them ideal for cold, rainy conditions. Both types are durable and designed to withstand the elements, ensuring your horse stays dry during wet weather.

Summer Horse Rugs

Summer rugs protect horses from the harsh sun, insects, and heat. These rugs are typically lightweight and made from breathable materials like mesh to facilitate airflow and reduce the risk of your horse overheating. They also often feature UV protection to prevent sunburn and to prevent your horse’s coat from fading. Furthermore, summer rugs are designed to protect from insects, preventing bites and irritation. Choosing the right summer rug helps ensure that your horse remains comfortable, cool, and protected during the hot months. Shop them here.

Mesh Horse Rugs

Mesh horse rugs are favoured for their dual functionality of keeping horses cool while offering protection from insects and sun. Made from a lightweight and breathable mesh fabric, these rugs allow for excellent air circulation, which helps to keep your horse's body temperature regulated during warm weather. They are also equipped with features like UV resistance to prevent sun damage to your horse’s coat. Ideal for Australian conditions, mesh rugs are a practical choice for maintaining horse comfort and health in the summer. Shop them here.

Cotton Horse Rugs

Cotton horse rugs are made from natural cotton fibres, offering breathability and comfort for horses. These rugs are ideal for use in milder weather, helping to protect your horse from dust and insects while ensuring that they do not overheat. Cotton rugs are often used as stable rugs or under rugs due to their soft texture and how easy they are to wash. They can help to keep a horse's coat clean and polished, making them a popular choice for both everyday use and during transportation.

Factors to Consider when Selecting Your Horse Rug

When choosing a horse rug, several factors need to be considered to ensure the best fit and function for your horse. Key considerations include:

  1. Weather Conditions: Select a rug based on the climate and seasonal weather, choosing insulated options for cold weather and breathable fabrics for summer.
  2. Horse's Needs: Consider your horse's age, health, and coat condition. Older or clipped horses may need warmer rugs.
  3. Material and Durability: Choose materials that suit your horse's environment and activity level to ensure durability and comfort.
  4. Fit and Comfort: Ensure the rug fits properly to avoid chafing and discomfort. Adjustable straps and openings can enhance fit.
  5. Purpose: Determine if the rug is for stable use, turnout, or special conditions like rain or insect protection.

Matching the right rug with these factors will enhance your horse's comfort and protection.

Horse Rugs FAQs

Where can I find horse rugs for sale?

We have a wide range of horse rugs available at Petstock. Shop them online or in-store.

How to wash horse rugs?

Wash horse rugs using a mild detergent and cold water on a gentle cycle. For waterproof rugs, avoid fabric softeners and dryers to maintain the waterproof coating. It’s best to avoid washing your rug too often, as you may reduce its waterproof lifespan. Extend your rugs life by hosing it down between uses, and only use detergent when necessary.

How to Measure Horse Rugs?

To measure a horse for a rug, start from the centre of the chest, around the side at the widest point, ending at the rear of the hind legs. It’s important the rug fits well to prevent slipping and ensure coverage without restricting movement. Read our full guide here.