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Winter Rugging ~ To Layer or Not to layer

Scottie in turnout boots

With winter now officially here with the temperature drop, along with clipping we have to decide about what we are going to do rug wise. Or more specifically, do you layer your rugs or have one bigger rug on?

Everyone has their own opinion on whether layering or single rugs is the best thing to do and in a lot of cases, people will probably use a mixture of the two methods. However, this post aims to sum up the pros and cons of both methods showing you when each method is possibly ‘best.’

Layering Pros

  • Like we are told to use layers, if the horse gets too hot, you can take a layer off, if he’s too cold you can pop another one on top
  • Lightweight rain sheets dry much quicker than heavy weights. So having a lightweight on top means your horse can have all the warmth he needs with the top layer being able to come off to dry over night
  • You don’t need as many rugs. (Although this in my book is a big con…) You can get away with having 2 waterproof rugs and putting them over layered stable rugs
  • If you think it’s too cold for your 100g rug but too warm for your 200g rug, putting a fleece on underneath the 100g can be an easy solution without having to buy more in-between weight rugs.

Layering Cons

  • When you want to ride, there are a lot more rugs to take off and then put back on your horse
  • Similarly, you are probably more likely to become lazy and not check your horse properly every day because the amount of time it takes to take rugs off and put back on.
  • Rugs might not fit as well. Much like when your wear several coats, the top layers get tighter and can limit your movement and become uncomfortable
  • If you have a rug wrecker, there are a lot more rugs for him to wreck in one session… and it could potentially become dangerous

Single Pros

  • Quicker to remove and put back on. So you spend less time messing about and can spend more time riding, grooming and actually doing things with your horse!
  • More comfortable for the horse
  • You get to buy more rugs of different weights, and spare turn out rugs for each weight!
  • Likely to be more breathable having 1 rug on than several rugs
  • Your stable rugs won’t get soggy and muddy from your horse wearing them outside under turnout rugs.

Single Cons

  • If your horse does get too hot or too cold, you do have to take the rug off and put a new one on. Not just add one or take one away
  • Realistically you do need a spare of each weight for turning out in case one gets soaked through and realistically won’t dry over-night.
  • Because you will likely have a wider range of rugs which won’t all be on the horse at the same time, you will probably need a bit more storage space.
  • If your different rug weights go up in 100g, you can sometimes struggle with which rug to put on, layering can help alleviate this dilemma.

Personally, I prefer to only have the one rug on Scottie and looking back I am not sure he has ever had 2 rugs on since I have had him. There are a few reasons for this, the first being that he is a good doer and if I can’t decide which rug to put on him, I go with the lighter weight one as it is much better for him to be a bit cold than too hot. Secondly, I am lazy and the thought of having to take 3 rugs off every time I want to ride and then put them all back on again makes me just not want to ride at all! And finally, I love buying rugs! I like to have different weight stable rugs for as the weather changes as well as different weight turnout rugs with spares.

What do you do with your horse and why?

Last Updated on 07/08/2018

2 thoughts on “Winter Rugging ~ To Layer or Not to layer”

  1. Pingback: Weekly Round Up – EquiPepper

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