Getting the right size rug for your horse is principle to your horses’ safety and welfare. A rug that is too large can get caught on something and risk possible injury to your horse or pony. Equally important, an ill fitting rug won’t provide the correct protection against the elements. One that is too small is like a glove that is too tight, consequently, it can cause discomfort as well as possible injuries from rubbing closely against a horse’s skin. There are a variety of rug types that each performs different purposes; turnout, fly rug, stable rugs, rugs with necks and neckless rugs. This handy horse rug size guide will help you with your choice.
To find the perfect rug for your horse, you need to do three things:
- Measure the size – you’ll need a tape measure for this.
- Decide what weight you need – this is the thickness of the rug filling based on what level of warmth your horse needs.
- Choose the denier – this is the strength of the fabric and your choice therefore depends on whether your horse is a rug ripper or not.
How to measure a horse to find the required rug size
Firstly, you need to determine what size rug you need. In order to do this, you’ll need to check size charts, there are different sizing guides for European manufacturers and those in other parts of the world like the USA or the UK.
To measure your horse’s rug size, you will need a tape measure long enough to reach across the length of your horse, or a piece of string or bailing twine that is long enough, which you can measure later. It is easier to measure your horse with a second pair of hands, especially for larger horses, so grab someone else to assist if you can.
UK rug sizes
For UK rug measurements, you want to measure along your horse’s body (B on the diagram). Start at the centre of the chest and pass the tape or string along the side of your horse in a straight line, to the end of the rump. Record this measurement in feet and inches. This is your UK rug size. UK sizing goes up in 3 inch increments, if you find your horse is just over a size or between two sizes, in general, it is always best to go up a size.
European rug sizes
The European measurement system focuses on a back seam measurement (A in the diagram), therefore, you want to measure along your horse’s back. Start at the withers and measure along the back in a straight line down to the tip of the tail. Record this measurement in cm. This is your European rug size. Similar to UK measurements, if you find yourself between two sizes it’s always best to go up a size.
If you need to convert between sizes, the chart below compares both the UK and European sizing:
Back Seam (cm)
|Body Length – Inches||Body Length- cm||Shop Our Rug Range|
|55||3’0||36”||90||Shop 3’0 Rugs|
|60||3’3||39”||100||Shop 3’3 Rugs|
|65||3’6||42”||105||Shop 3’6 Rugs|
|70||3’9||48”||115||Shop 3’9 Rugs|
|75||4’0||48”||120||Shop 4’0 Rugs|
|85||4’3||51”||130||Shop 4’3 Rugs|
|90||4’6||54”||140||Shop 4’6 Rugs|
|95||4’9||57”||145||Shop 4’9 Rugs|
|105||5’0||60”||155||Shop 5’0 Rugs|
|115||5’3||63”||160||Shop 5’3 Rugs|
|120||5’6||66”||170||Shop 5’6 Rugs|
|125||5’9||69”||175||Shop 5’9 Rugs|
|135||6’0||73”||185||Shop 6’0 Rugs|
|140||6’3||75”||190||Shop 6’3 Rugs|
|145||6’5||77”||195||Shop 6’5 Rugs|
|150||6’6||78”||200||Shop 6’6 Rugs|
|155||6’9||81”||205||Shop 6’9 Rugs|
|160||7’0||84”||215||Shop 7’0 Rugs|
|165||7’3||87”||225||Shop 7’3+ Rugs|
Note: Just remember, you only need to use one of the measurements above – whichever you prefer! If your horse’s measurements fall between the ones shown in the chart below, it’s always best to round up.
How to choose the right horse rug weight
Now you have the right sizing, it’s time to select the right weight for your horses’ rug. By weight we don’t mean how heavy your horses’ rug is, weight is a reference to how thick your horse’s rug is and how much filling it has. The heavier the weight, the thicker the rug.
There are many factors to consider when choosing your horse’s rug weight:
- Their condition: What degree of fat cover do they have?
- Your horse’s coat: Are they clipped or unclipped?
- The environment: Are they outside or in a stable?
This helpful table below will give you an idea of what weight rug your horse needs based on his condition coat, environment and weather.
|Temperature||Stabled/Clipped||Stabled/Unclipped||Turned Out/Unclipped||Turned Out/Clipped|
|15°C+ (59°F+)||Zero Fill||No Rug||No Rug||No Rug|
|10 to 15°C (50 to 59°F+)||Light Weight (100g) or Zero Fill||No Rug or Zero Fill||No Rug||No Rug or Light Weight (100g) or Zero Fill if Wet & Windy|
|5 to 15°C||Medium Weight (250g)||Light Weight (150g)||No Rug or Light Weight (100g)||Light Weight (150g) with Neck Cover|
|0 to 4°C||Heavy Weight (300g)||Medium Weight (200g)||No Rug or Light /Medium Weight (150g-250g)||Medium Weight (200g) with Neck Cover|
|-10 to 0°C||Heavy Weight (300g-400g) with Neck Cover||Medium Weight (200g-300g) with Liner||Light or Medium Weight (150g-250g) with Neck Cover||Heavy Weight (300g-400g) with Neck Cover and Liner|
|-10°C or colder||Heavy Weight (300g-500g) with Neck Cover and Liner||Medium or Heavy Weight (300g-400g) with Neck Cover||Heavy Weight (300g-500g) with Neck Cover||Heavy Weight (300g-500g) with Neck Cover, Liner and/or Under Blanket and Hood|
We teamed up with WeatherBeeta to give you more of an idea of how to select the right weight of rug for your horse:
Pick your rug denier (the strength of the fabric)
Next up is the denier, like tights, horse rugs have denier. Denier is the thickness and strength of the fibres of the rug. The higher the denier, the more durable the rug. The common deniers you’ll find on the market are 600 denier, 1200 denier and 1680 denier. Higher denier rugs will likely have a higher price, because the fabric is stronger. If your horse is a notorious rug ripper then it’s may be a better option to invest in a higher denier rug, because your horse is less likely to tear it.
This helpful video goes into more detail:
How to fit your horse’s rug
Now that you’ve got your horse’s rug size, the perfect weight and denier, it’s time to fit your rug onto your horse.
First, start with your rug folded in half to be able to easily put it on. Gently let your horse know you are they so as not to spook them. Place the rug over the hind quarters, then gently pull the folded part of the over the front of your horse’s back. At this point, it’s better to have the rug placed too far forward than back. This means if it needs to be adjusted, you’re pulling in the direction of the hair, rather than against it.
Secondly, the fastenings – fasten the velcro and clips at the chest and ensure you can easily fit your hand under the rug around the neck and chest area. Next, cross the surcingles over in the middle and fasten the clips. You should be able to fit around a hands width between your horse’s belly and the straps. Again letting your horse know you are there. Loop the first strap around your horse’s inside leg and fasten at the same side. The, loop the second in the same way, but this time threading it through the first strap as you go, and fasten to the D ring. The straps should cross in the middle, and allow for a hands with between the horse’s leg and the strap. This handy video goes into more detail: