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I am far from being one of those people who think horses should be all natural in unnatural environments. (No rugs, No shoes ect) The majority of us horsey people accept that many breeds are now so far from being the type of horse that used to live in the wild that they need a little bit of help (rugs, shoes, clipping) to improve their long term welfare as ridden, domesticated animals. However, there is still a huge disagreement over what is best for horses rugging wise.
Each horse has their own rugging needs
Recently a woman at my yard has made several comments along the lines of “Poor Scottie, he must be cold.”. I think this is ridiculous. Yes Scottie is a thoroughbred and clipped. And yes he is often naked at night or when turned out. However, I know my horse and he is very rarely cold. In fact he is normally very warm and good horse owners know its healthier for a horse to be a little chilly than to be too hot. As rude as I find her comments, I know she has no idea what she is talking about. She believes that because her horses are rugged and they are hardier types, that Scottie must need to be rugged too.
She hasn’t been the only one though. I have had several people look down their nose at me saying he is a TB, he needs a rug on. Most of these people have never even seen Scottie, just judging because he is a TB. It’s crazy! You just need to look at his big fat belly to see that he obviously isn’t cold!
Don’t get me wrong, I love rugs and I love buying them for Scottie. (Probably a little too much!) And he has plenty of rugs and spares in case turnout rugs get wet. But I would always rather him be a little cold than too hot. Especially as he is a very good doer so not likely to drop weight. Research has shown it’s good to encourage horses to naturally lose weight over winter and rugging accordingly can help this. He even has turnout boots and mask to help keep him clean in really wet, muddy weather to make riding easier.
(Loves his Dress up time!)
I know some horses do drop weight quickly if they are cold or could possibly have other reasons for having rugs on when Scottie might not have them on. But what bothers me the most is people who just put rugs on because they look nice or they feel mean not putting one on. Or more often than not, the owner is cold! This is not how horses should be rugged. I wrote a bit of a guide to help people decide what rug their horse should wear.
You must have experienced this at some point! Even if it’s you rugging when others don’t think you should. Share your experiences!