Rugs have changed so much over the years. When I was a kid, horses worse big, heavy, canvas New Zealand rugs in the field. They weren’t very nice rugs, they were just there to keep them as dry as possible. So it’s not surprising that when you brought your horse in, you would change them into a nice dry stable rug for the night. But turnout rugs are much better these days. They are lighter, breathable and waterproof. They don’t have to be taken off when the horse comes in. So do we still need stable rugs?
The benefits of keeping their turnout on
Whereas in the past, there were very few reasons to keep a turnout rug on, modern rugs can not only be left on, but I think sometimes they are the better option.
Swapping rugs over takes time. Yes it is only a matter of minutes, but when you are rushing home from work, on a cold, dark winter evening, those minutes count! I personally don’t feel the need to change rugs unless I am changing the weight of the rug they are wearing. For example, if it was mild during the day and Scottie was wearing a 50g turnout, I would swap to a 100g stable rug if it was going to be colder over night. But if I’m not riding or doing something where I am taking his rug off anyway, I don’t feel the need to take a 100g turnout off and put a 100g stable rug on.
Rugs dry quicker on. When your horse has been out in the rain all day, it can be tempting to take their wet rugs off and put a nice cosy stable rug on instead. But especially over the winter, that rug will most likely still be wet in the morning. Not only do you have to carry a wet rug across the yard to hang up until the morning, you will also be putting that rug back on damp. As long as the inside of the rug is dry, which modern rugs should be, there is no reason you can’t leave these rugs on your horse to dry over night.
More Poo Proof
I love seeing horses in new, cosy stable rugs. But nearly all stable rugs are soft or fleecey. Which means they get filthy. Horses do way in their own muck. So most stable rugs get stained, damp and smelly. Because turnout rugs are designed to repel rain and mud, they won’t get as smelly as stable rugs. Although more brands are starting to change to a material what helps their stable rugs repel muck.
The benefits of changing to a stable rug
You need to check under your horses rug
For me, one of the main benefits of changing your horse into a stable rug at night is it gives you an excuse to take your horses rug off. If your horse isn’t in work, it can be too easy to not check under your horses rug. But it is important to take your horses rug off at least a couple of times a week. It can help you check for any changes in weight what can be easily masked by a rug. You can also check for any rubs, bumps or injuries you might have missed. Taking the time to change rugs can be the perfect way to keep checking in.
Seem more suitable after baths and for travelling
There are just some times when using a turnout rug seems a bit strange. After giving your horse a bath and drying them off, it seems a bit strange to put a turnout on (unless they are going out.) You want to put a nice stable rug on. Or if you are travelling them in winter, you might want to pop a fleece on in the lorry. While you probably could put a turnout on, it just seems a bit alien.
While turnout rugs are now very breathable. A fleecey stable rug is probably more breathable. They are often a bit lighter than turnouts too, due to not needing to be as durable. So while it is absolutely fine to leave your horses turnout on overnight, it might be nice to swap to something else.
So do we still need stable rugs?
In short, no I don’t think we do still need stable rugs. I think that your horse will be perfectly happy and comfortable with just a wardrobe of turnout rugs. But I do think stable rugs still have a place. Nothing quite tops saying goodnight to your horse on a cold winter night and watching them tuck into their dinner, all cosy in a smart stable rug. A turnout just doesn’t have the same effect.
Wonder what rugs Scottie is wearing? Check out Scottie’s full wardrobe.
Last Updated on 25/01/2022