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The range of rugs available for horse and ponies is certainly vast these days, and it can be confusing too. If you’re wondering whether you need a cooler rug, then read on!
Cooler rugs are predominantly used after exercise, when the horse’s body temperature has increased; the purpose is to prevent the animal’s body temperature from dropping too rapidly whilst he is cooling down, to help regulate the horse or pony’s temperature and prevent the onset of chills in colder weather. Cooler rugs can also maintain muscle temperature through the horse or pony’s shoulder, back and hindquarters, e.g. the areas where the rug is positioned closest to the body, aiding recovery while the horse cools down.
Cooler rugs are always breathable - when the horse sweats, the rug’s material soaks up and then holds the excess moisture away from the horse’s coat; this goes onto evaporate, allowing the horse to cool down at a steady pace.
Materials for coolers tend to include fleece, blends of wool and acrylic, polyester, cotton and types of meshed material. The fleece and wool types are more traditional, while some more modern cooler rugs use multi-layered fibres to create a wicking effect. Both types are effective, with the only downside of the fleecy or wool types of cooler being that horse hair tends to stick to the fibres a little more!
In addition to aiding recovery after strenuous schooling and exercise, cooler rugs are also ideal for travelling, as some equines can sweat due to anxiety, as well as the ambient temperature they’re being exercised in. You will find a cooler rug an important addition to your horse’s rug wardrobe, as it is useful all year round - during autumn and winter it is useful for preventing chills, while in summer it effectively aids body cooling to prevent over heating.
If you use a cooler rug when the horse or pony is not actually sweating, it will act as a simple lightweight sheet or stable rug, meaning it is very versatile, providing warmth on a cold day, or keeping the horse comfortable and the muscles warm between classes at an event.
Look out for cooler rugs that mould to your horse or pony’s body shape. If it fits the equine’s body profile closely, the wicking technologies within the fabric will be optimised.
Cooler rugs do not tend to feature excessive fastenings, as it is understood that the horse will generally be tied up, being walked in hand, or perhaps resting in the stable or lorry when wearing it.
Coolers tend to come in the standard three-inch-increment sizes, in feet and inches. They do tend to come in all manner of cheerful colours with binding and contrasting areas, so you can match them to your horse or pony’s colour scheme.