I want to replace some of my horse’s rugs, most of which he’s had since before I bought him. Several of the are different size, though – how can I figure out which size and fit will suit him best?
Getting the perfect fit is key to ensuring that your horse is comfortable in his rugs. The best starting point is to measure him using a tape measure. Starting at the centre of his chest, measure in a horizontal line to the point just behind his quarters. If you find that your horse’s measurement is already a standard rug size, then this is the size to try first. If your horse is between sizes, it’s best to go up to avoid rubbing – a horse measuring 6ft 6in rug. If he’s particularly broad, you may also need to go up a size.
It’s important to also consider the features on the rug you’re looking at, as these will affect the fit – rugs with forward-positioned shoulder gussets, for example, will allow for more freedom of movement, so are particularly suited to big-moving types such as Iberians or Andalusians. As with human clothing, horse rugs do differ in cut and sizing from brand to brand, so your horse may be a 6ft in one brand and a 6ft 3in in another. If you’re in doubt, ask the retailer how the sizes come up in the brand you’re considering.
Once on, the rug should fasten comfortably with plenty of room for adjustment on the chest closures. It should finish just behind his quarters, and it shouldn’t be tight or pulling anywhere. The surcingles should be adjusted to allow one hand’s width between your horse and the strap.
Even if your horse lives out and isn’t in regular work, ensure you remove his rug daily to groom him, check for any rubs or irritation and give his skin a chance to breathe.