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Fleece horse rugs are commonly used as travel rugs, cooler rugs and show rugs, to keep the horse warm after exercise and help to wick moisture away after bathing. Cooler rugs tend to be made from slightly different materials, such as jersey, which is smoother in appearance and may include non-synthetic materials in a blend; however, the words 'cooler' and 'fleece' are often used to describe a rug that wicks sweat away, regardless of actual materials used.
Modern material manufacture means that blends are very popular. (You may also see labels including materials such as Polypropylene, Polyurethane, Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) and Microfibre, the latter being all-encompassing name for synthetic fibres blended from polyester materials.). Synthetic blends are very functional when used for horse rugs - they're real 'workhorse' fabrics, as they're durable, lightweight, breathable, and non-absorbent. An example of a jersey cooler is the Horseware Amigo Jersey Cooler which is made from a brushed polyester which wicks away moisture quickly and efficiently. Brushed polyester as a material may blend a jersey knit fabric with something stretchier.
An example of a fleece horse rug, which usually has a denser or more 'woolly' appearance, is the Shires Newmarket Fleece Rug, which offers the timeless Newmarket striped design in easy-care polar fleece. Polar fleece is a soft, 'napped' fabric made from PET or other synthetic fibres, and is usually a cost-effective material that is also high-performing.
Keeping the horse warm after exercise and helping to wick moisture away allows the process of cooling. You will see terms like 'wicking' rugs for horses and ponies, and wicking is the scientific principle of 'capillary action', or the transfer of moisture from one area to another. This can help keep the body dry and cool, even when the horse sweats. Wicking materials are made up of little tubes like capillaries that the moisture can move up into, away from the animal's skin. They're subsequently released into the outer layer to evaporate.
Whatever brand you choose, fleeces and coolers are excellent rugs to have on standby for a variety of uses, from travelling, standing at horse shows, drying off after bathing and of course cooling down after exercise. Their 'cousin' is the slightly more old fashioned sweat rug, which tends to be made from cotton and has a honeycomb or string vest appearance - the Shires Lambourne Traditional Anti Sweat Rug is a good example. This design also allows sweat to evaporate, albeit through air pockets.