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The first task when selecting a rug is to measure your horse or pony, so you can choose a rug which will offer comfort and protection.
Sizes for rugs are usually presented in feet and inches, for example a 5' 9" or 6’ 3".
(However, some manufacturers are sized in three inch increments from the centre of the chest across the point shoulder, to the centre of the tail to where you expect the rug to finish.)
Tie your horse up safely. You will need either a tape measure or a piece of string. Using the tape measure or the piece of string (followed by, if using the latter method, measuring the length of the string), you should measure your horse from the centre of their chest, along their side, finishing at the point where you would require the rug to finish. Then record this measurement.
Once you have taken this measurement, you now have your exact size requirement for stable rugs, but it can be wise to add an extra 3” on top for turnouts, particularly if the turnout rug has a neck cover. If your horse is between two sizes, then you are usually better off going up a size, rather than down, as rugs that are too small can rub.
A basic rug shape that stops at the horse’s withers, covering the body with no neck cover, is usually described as Standard. A rug that covers the horse’s neck is often referred to as a Combo Rug or Integrated Neck. It is also possible to purchase turnout and stable rugs with Detachable Neck Covers.
Always rug for the current conditions; e.g. a too-thick rug on a warm day could be as uncomfortable for the horse as a too-thin rug on a cold day.
Keep spares, in case of mishaps or (in the case of a turnout rug), very heavy rain that requires the regular rug to be dried.
Look after your rugs and ensure hair and grease deposits are removed from the interior regularly.
Follow the manufacturer’s care instructions to keep the rugs waterproof year after year.
Bear in mind that when it comes to sizing of horse rugs, different manufacturers do produce rugs of different proportions and sizes. It is fair to say that the retail price does come into it, with the more expensive rugs for horses and ponies generally being a more generous fit, having a longer length or a deeper tail flap - all signs that more material has been invested into the design of rug.