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To rug or not to rug

11 replies

tallulahturtle · 16/09/2013 10:20

Just that really. Those who have read my previous thread will know that I help look after two horses. Their owner is now on holiday for 2 weeks so I'm in sole charge.
The other day when I did them it had been raining all day and I got to them and they were both shivering . I phoned the very understanding other half and he bought some rugs down , I tried to dry them off a bit with towels but they went on wet(I know its a big no no but they were shivering so short of bringing them home and blow drying them I didn't have much choice).
I have read some bits on rugs and see there are people saying that rugging now is too early and they won't get a winter coat etc. I'm sure that if they were shivering and tucked up that I did the right thing by rugging them.
They are a 4 yo old TB and a 15 yo Hanoverian. They live out 24/7 are in a field that have been in since June, they get minimal hard feed and no hay , the Hanoverian is a bit plump at the moment but nothing serious and the TB is neither fat nor skinny. We live in the South East , the field is at the top of a hill and has hedges on three sides and no field shelter.

What I'm looking to know is....
What horses has everyone here got and how do you decide when to rug them?

I have done the ear base feeling thing, what sort of temperature should they be on their ears?

I work long hours so can't get there in the middle of the day to do wardrobe changes so is it better for them to be too warm or too cold?

What weight rugs is everyone using at the moment?

I'm new to the living out way of life as with other horses I've looked after they have always had a stable if it gets chilly so I've had the option to stable them with no rugs . I just can't stand the feeling that they might be shivering in the field feeling unloved , while at the same time I don't want them being too warm or being rugged early so they won't get a winter coat and will be colder when it is proper cold.

any advice much appreciated :-)

OP posts:
fait · 16/09/2013 12:45

I would rug if they are cold and wet - the coat will grow no matter WHAT rugs you put on - look at the horses at HOYS - no matter WHAT we do to try to keep their coats, if they are going to grow a winter coat, they will grow it. However, you need to be prepared to rush up and down to the field to change the rugs when the weather changes (as it is bound to) - it is a nightmare at the moment!

Our HOYS horses are all roughed off after HOYS for 2 weeks t0 grow their coats, then they go out (rugless) until February when they come back in, are clipped and brought back into work. THey definitely do not suffer from not wearing rugs, but we are not expecting them to work, there is no fear of them getting sweaty and then cold.

Incapinka · 16/09/2013 13:04

I've got a TB and he was freezing on Friday evening due to the torrential rain. He has hardly any coat and no fat so is wearing a light/medium weight NZ rug at night and during the day when there are showers forecast. Today is a pain as it is either really warm or tipping down with rain and freezing. He is wearing his rug though. And personally I don't want to encourage his coat to grow. It is difficult though. Come back Indian summer!

tallulahturtle · 16/09/2013 14:45

Yeah today is a bit of a nightmare i got them naked this morning and the hanoverian had a lovely dirty roll then i came home and was happy that i got them naked. Then had the most torrential rain and i was a bit worried, although might mean the hanoverian is clean for me this evening if i decide to rug up again for the night. My trouble is the rugs i have for them are two medium weight (if 200gsm is medium weight) turnouts with a neck, which i bought in the spring and the owner gave me an old school jute type rug with a thin fleece lining and no tail flap and another more modern turnout which i dont know the weight of. So im between them being too warm in my rugs or the one wearing the jute one being too cold.

OP posts:
Yorkieaddict · 16/09/2013 14:51

Welcome to that time of year where it will be wrong whatever you do! I left mine out with no rug on Friday, thinking it wasn't going to be too cold or wet, and it poured down! Today it is hot one minute and pouring the next and he has a lightweight on. You can't win.

I would rug if it is going to rain more than a shower, or be very cold, and otherwise leave it off. It won't be long before the weather is consistently crap though, and then at least it is easier to know what to do. Smile

Butkin · 16/09/2013 17:04

At home we only have M&Ms so impossible to compare. They are currently still living out (do so until some time in November) but all are wearing lightweight Rhino turnouts. This is to keep them dryish when it rains and to keep them clean for riding!

When they start coming in and we get the really cold weather we swap them to medium weigh turnouts with necks. We usually leave them on when we bring them in. We only change them to stable rugs if they are staying in during the daytime for any reason (vet, farrier, show etc).

Our Show Pony is thin coated (like a mini thoroughbred) but she is going to Hoys so currently wrapped up to the 9s and living in all the time. She'll need to be clipped beforehand. After that she'll come home and we'll turn her out during the day with the others but we'll have to watch her rugs. She may need something a little thicker..

CairngormsClydesdale · 16/09/2013 19:00

As someone else said, it's hard to get it really right and you'll need a pretty good handle on the weather - but use your common sense too!

I found my lip curling yesterday when seeing two horses out with albeit lightweight rugs on - it was eighteen degrees. Yes, it's colder than it was a month ago, but in 2 months it could be minus 18 here and so rugging up when we're in for a 36 degree temp change is bonkers.

When my hanovarian was out 24/7 I didn't rug her up until it got below 8 on a regular basis - unless it was wet.

tallulahturtle · 16/09/2013 19:20

That's really helpful everyone, thanks for your replies. I've left them naked tonight but I may pop rugs on them in the morning as it looks like it will rain most of the day tomorrow. Ill see how warm they feel in the morning. Will have to brush the hanoverian as she rather coated herself in mud this morning when I took her rug off :-) the tb just looked on , he's a very clean boy :-)

OP posts:
buttercupyellow · 16/09/2013 21:01

If in doubt, I would rug. Especially when you're horse sitting for someone else. You always tend to be a bit more cautious.

As long as they're not sweating it's ok!

frostyfingers · 17/09/2013 09:36

My TB has an anorak on at night at the moment - just for the last week or so. He doesn't really feel the cold, but he's not in brilliant condition after having back surgery in June so I'm being a little more cautious than I normally would be. There's no fill in his rug, it's just a raincoat and it's off during the day unless it is absolutely pouring with rain. I've said it loads of times, but if they are in the field and cold they can get warm by galloping about, if they are rugged and too hot they can't do anything about it except sweat which isn't good, so if unsure, leave the rugs off.

DENMAN03 · 17/09/2013 21:00

Mine is rugged and in at night. I would definitely rug the TB, even if its just a lightweight turnout rug. He isn't going to get too hot in it and the temperature drops a lot at night at the moment. He will probably start to drop weight quite quickly if he is getting cold and its much harder to get it back on when its really cold than to just maintain it.

QuietTiger · 19/09/2013 08:39

My Welsh D cob has a "shell" lightweight turnout on at the moment, partly to keep him dry and partly to keep him clean. He also has sensitive skin and suffers from just from looking at water, so as the weather has been vile and he lives out 24/7, hence the rug.

When he's clipped, he'll probably go up to a 200/300g rug, depending on the weather. My others have thick coats, and are fat, so need to shiver their fat off and are semi-retired, so I don't bother with anything apart from a rain shell, just to make life easier. I may rug my Lusitano with a bigger rug, but it depends if I clip him or not.

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