What to look for in an Outdoor Rug August 14 2014

First of all, establish what you are wanting from the rug.  Would you like it to be breathable?  This refers to the capability of the rug to allow sweat and moisture to pass from the horse's skin to outside.  Chest and breast straps - nearly all rugs have either one or two of these to allow fastening across the chest of the horse.  Perhaps you need cross surcingles - these are straps that cross underneath the belly of the horse to hold the rug in position.  

Next take a look at denier - this is the weight of the yarn in a given area of the fabric.  The higher the denier, the heavier and tougher the fabric.  1200 denier or more is super strong; 600 is everyday strength.  Do you need a rug which extends further down the horse to give more protection to the belly and the legs?  Then go for an extra deep rug. Look for fillet strings or straps for fitting using D-rings at the rear of the rug so that it goes loosely under the horse's tail to prevent the rug blowing up and forward.  These fillet strings/straps are often detachable for washing.  

Leg straps - these are anchored at both the rear end of the rug and on the main body of the rug and help to keep the rug in position.  During severe weather, you might need a neck cover which can be either an integral part of the rug or optional and then it is fastened using velcro.  However you may feel that you need just neck coverage which is a higher neck option and is often described as a half or high neck.  Neck coverage gives added protection without the extra weight of a neck cover. There are some people who might refer to a rug as a New Zealand rug and this is an older term usually referring to a canvas rug which is suitable for a horse being turned out in a field.

If you are concerned about tears and rips, you may want to look at a rug which has ripstop.  This term refers to the material and is a weaving process in the man-made yarn.  It will not stop barbed wire tears however!  Taped seams is a taping method used to cover the seams on the inside of the rug to prevent water leaking through.  Tearproofing is a term which refers to the material which is strong enough for the horse but also not so strong that, if your horse got caught up or trapped, it could not give way. The term turnout rug refers to a New Zealand or Paddock rug and is a generic term.  

Waterproof and water resistant refers to the fabric of the rug which does not allow water to pass through to the horse's skin.  It does not refer to the stitching or fastenings which are not waterproof as they cannot be tape seamed to prevent water coming through.  Finally there is the term weight/warmth and this refers to the weight of insulation (Polyfill) and that is measured in grams.  The more insulation, the higher the number of grams.  A 250gm + rug is heavyweight and will be very warm.  160-250gm is medium weight and is suitable for chilly Spring and Autumn nights; up to 150gm is lightweight and is for summer use or as an extra rug for layering.  There are some ultra light weight rugs which have just 40gm of filling and they are more for keeping your horse dry rather than warm.

There are many rugs to choose from in Mane Supplies - here are a few of them:

Shires Tempest Fly ComboShires Performance Maxi-FlowShires Wessex 200 Under RugProTack Summer Sheet