Choosing The Right Turnout Rug
Turnout rug come in three main weights. Choosing the right weight depends on the weather, breed, condition and workload of your horse.
Lightweight Turnout rugs usually have no filling or up to 100g filling. Lightweight turnouts are used for the Spring/Autumn months when its mild outside but your horse needs extra protection form the wind and rain. Lightweights are not usually recommend for Late Autumn/ Winter use as they strong winds may gust up under the rug due it it's lightweight nature. This allows the wind and rain to blow around the horses hind end.
Mediumweight turnout rugs normally have filling from 200g to 280g. These are great for the colder months when extra protection and warmth is needed. Some mediumweight turnout rugs come with fixed or deletable neck covers. These offer the most protection for your horse.
Heavyweight turnout rugs are used for the winter months when temperatures can plummet to below freezing. They have a filling from 300g to 450g. Heavyweight turnout rugs offer your horse the most protection against the winter elements. They will keep your horse warm and dry whilst protecting them from the wind and rain. Neck covers can also be used with these rugs, some have fixed neck covers other have detachable neck covers available.
Most turnout rugs are made from a waterproof synthetic material. Some rugs are made using what’s called a ripstop weave within the fabric. This type of weave helps prevent your horse from creating big rips in the rug. The stronger fibres will prevent a rip from spreading once it has started. If your horse is prone to tearing their rug then you want to look out for turnout rugs using ripstop material.
Turnout rugs are breathable which means whilst keeping your horse warm and dry they allow perspiration and sweat to wick away from the horses body to the outside of the rug into the air. This allows your horse to stay comfortable.
How do turnout rugs fasten?
Turnout rugs normally come with velcro across the chest and two chest straps to hold the rug firmly in place. Some turnout rugs have shoulder darts which allow the horse more room around their shoulder providing a better fit and freer movement. They have two cross over surcingles under the horses belly to prevent the rug from slipping or twisting round the horses body. Most good turnout rugs have two leg straps. These fasten between the back of the horses legs and prevent the rug from blowing or riding up the horse back in strong winds. The surcingle and leg straps both should be fitted with one hands width between the horse leg/belly. If the straps are too long the horse is likely to get his legs caught in them. If they are too short they could rub the horse sore.
Why should I use a neck cover?
Some turnout rugs come with fixed neck cover or detachable neck cover options. Neck cover are useful when the weather becomes cooler or the wind picks up with driving rain. They offer extra warmth and protection for your horse as a standard turnout with no neck only covers the main body of the horse. Detachable neck covers offer more of an advantage than a fixed neck cover. With a detachable neck cover you can remove them during the day if the weather is warm and reattach them at night when the temperature drops or if weather worsens. This give you better control over your horse temperature. Neck covers come in three different weights to match the turnout rug, Lightweight, mediumweight and heavyweight.