AskHQ: Fitting a rug

Q: How do you check if a rug fits your horse?

A: Having a rug that fits your horse is important to keep your horse comfortable and avoiding rubbing. To check that a rug fits, you must make sure of the following:

  • The front of the rug over the chest should have an overlap of fabric.
  • The rug should sit well forward in front of the withers, although it will naturally slide back over the course of the evening.
  • There should be room to fit four fingers comfortably between the rug and the horse all the way around the neck and the shoulders.
  • The rug should be the right length to cover the horse from the withers to the top of the tail, and should be deep enough to reach just beneath your horse’s torso. You should not be able to see any of his body beneath the rug when looking at your horse from the side.
  • The belly straps should be adjusted, so that you can fit 4 fingers in between the centre of the horse’s belly and the cross of the straps. This allows the horse to move and roll without restriction, while keeping the rug in place.
  • The leg straps must be fastened around each hindleg, with one strap going through the centre of the other to make a figure of eight. The straps should sit roughly four fingers’ distance from the horse’s legs to allow him to move comfortably.
  • If the rug has a fillet string, it should sit underneath the tail with enough room for four fingers to fit between the horse and the string.

Top tip:

Try to get into the habit of checking the fit of your rug every time you put one on, as the straps can stretch over time and may need adjusting.