Horses are really strong animals and watching them can be fascinating. However, British summers are short and when the weather starts cooling, you will be concerned about your horse’ comfort and wellbeing. You can use a winter rug for your horse to keep it warm and prevent that winter shaggy coat from growing.
Signs to Use a Winter Rug for Your Horse
Here are some signs that will show you it is time to use a winter rug for your horse.
Your horse is shivering and appears to be more tense and stiff than he normally is
The hair on the end of the horse’s ears are standing up
Your horse is huddling with other horses
Your horse is turning its hindquarters to the wind
Putting a Rug on Your Horse
If you are attempting to rug your horse the first time, it will be skittish. You would have to prepare the horse for the rug. Here is what you should be looking to do:
Tie up your horse securely
Take the rug and place it on your horse’s back.
Secure the front part of the rug by fastening the buckle
Then adjust the position of the rug. Do it from the side, so that your horse does not get nervous and skittish. On the other hand, if the horse trusts you, the adjustment can be done from the rear
Some horses may need to be prepared to accept the rug. So, work on this first. Use a sack for this purpose. Also, tie a rope around the hind legs if the rug you intend using has leg straps. Do this a few times to help your horse overcome the fear.
Types of Winter Rugs for Horses
There are two types of winter rugs for horses. One with crossed surcingles and the other with leg straps. If you are using the former, make sure the crossed surcingles should be knotted loosely before you throw the rug over your horse. Unknot the surcingles and make sure they are not twisted. Move to the side of the horse and adjust the length of the winter rug and then secure it comfortably around the belly. Finally, check the rug and surcingles are flat and not twisted.
In case the rug has leg straps, do not leave the straps dangling after the rug is thrown over the horse. It could injure your horse or you. Fasten the straps, but make sure they do not chafe the horse’s skin by crossing them through each other. The straps should be strapped around the thighs. When removing the rug, clip the straps to prevent your horse from getting hurt
Keeping Your Horse Comfortable in Winter
Select a rug size that is right for your horse. If you choose a size that does not fit your horse, it will chafe the skin or make him uncomfortable. This is especially true when the horse is eating, drinking and running.
If your horse is wet and you want to rug him, make sure you first scrape off the water and then towel dry your horse.
After rugging, keep checking your horse, as sometimes they get hot. Check the shoulders and back for sweat. If your horse is sweating, he is feeling hot and you should remove the rug. The other sign to watch for is excessive drinking of water.
You can find affordable and quality winter rugs for horses at Robinsons, the number equestrian provider in the UK. The site has some of the best brands and with a 50 percent off, these winter rugs fall even cheaper.