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Is it OK to put rugs on a wet horse?

32 replies

KingaRoo · 04/03/2020 14:29

I am looking after a friend's horse for two weeks while she's on holiday. I'm an experienced rider but never had my own horse.

I was riding today and got caught in unexpected heavy rain. I had no option but to turn the horse out still wet with rugs on. There is no stable or shelter where I could have dried him off first. Is this OK?

Also she doesn't have any exercise/waterproof rugs so I can foresee this being an ongoing issue over the next two weeks!

OP posts:
Sarahlou63 · 04/03/2020 14:31

Not ideal but better than the horse getting rain scald. Is the horse clipped?

woodencoffeetable · 04/03/2020 14:36

is the horse usually out with a rug?
unshaved horses have a very thick undercoat and they usually don't get wet down to the skin.

QuestionableMouse · 04/03/2020 14:37

Most rugs are breathable now so it's fine.

RatherBeRiding · 04/03/2020 14:45

I've done it before and they're fine - sometimes I put a fleece on underneath though depending on just how wet they are.

KingaRoo · 04/03/2020 15:12

No not clipped. Out 24/7 with rugs (no shelter).

Thanks for the reassurance.

Might be a stupid question but what's the worst that could happen doing this? Would anything bad to happen while I'm in charge!

OP posts:
Booboostwo · 04/03/2020 15:13

Modern rugs are breathable so not an issue. I remember lugging completely sodden rugs on and off horses 30 years ago, it was a nightmare, but modern rugs are amazing.

KingaRoo · 04/03/2020 15:13

It's quite a thin rug, not heavily padded.

OP posts:
RatherBeRiding · 04/03/2020 16:23

Ah just seen he's not clipped- I have 2 living out unclipped 24/7 and one is an elderly TB type. The non TB hasn't had a rug on at all for the last 2 winters and they only have access to natural shelter during the day as I fence off the overnight field shelter to attempt to stop them poaching the ground too much. The TB only gets a rug on if it's going to rain non-stop and even then I use a medium weight standard neck.

I imagine your friend is rugging primarily to keep him clean and dry enough to ride, rather than just to keep him dry. If he's unclipped it is highly unlikely the rain will penetrate to the skin.

However, there's no harm in putting a rug back on him wet but if you have access to a fleece it would be worth putting it on underneath the rug but removing it after a few hours when it's wicked the wet off his coat.

QuestionableMouse · 04/03/2020 18:45

You can also run a scraper over him to get some water out of his coat. As already noted, fleece rugs are amazing at wicking!

Spudlet · 04/03/2020 18:47

I was always told to put a string vest rug (you know the sort I mean?) on underneath, but that may be hopelessly out of date now... it’s been a long time since I had anything to rug, sadly.

midnightstar66 · 04/03/2020 19:17

It was a warm day, if it was just a shower personally I'd have turned out bare and then put rug on later while dry however I'm aware weather conditions are different in different areas and if rain seemed long term then rug would probably be ok. Most rugs are breathable although it will probably end up quite smelly

midnightstar66 · 04/03/2020 19:18

@Spudlet I've not seen a string sweat sheet since the early 90's lol

CheekyMango · 04/03/2020 19:58

I'd imagine the only issue if this is done all the time is arthritis (I'm not a horsey person btw).

frostyfingers · 04/03/2020 20:48

I have my mother in law’s “string vest” and still use it - one of the most useful rugs about!

Spudlet · 04/03/2020 21:49

Lol midnightstar I am an Old 👵🏻Grin

KingaRoo · 04/03/2020 23:04

Thanks, I had to go home and it's 30 min drive so couldn't leave it for a bit and then put the rug on. Also, was raining all afternoon so more likely to have got even wetter if I hadn't put the rug back on.

Thanks for the help and reassurance. I'm still intrigued what could go wrong putting a rug on a wet horse. It feels wrong intuitively but I'm just wondering what would be the worst that could happen?

OP posts:
KingaRoo · 04/03/2020 23:05

I remember the string vest rugs too!

OP posts:
QuestionableMouse · 04/03/2020 23:16

A non breathable rug would trap the moisture under it which could lead to nasties like a fungal infection.

Pantsomime · 04/03/2020 23:19

Can you get hay or straw to strap the horse first and get excess moisture off first, then rug up?

RatherBeRiding · 05/03/2020 08:56

Have not the string vest sheets come back into fashion? I've seen some on different websites - so useful! Back in the day, before the invention of the fleece, it was all we had. But I'm ancient and remember jute rugs and New Zealand rugs (bloody awful things)!!

Spudlet · 05/03/2020 09:01

Oooh, maybe I’m not old! I’m fashionably retro [flicks hair] Grin

Booboostwo · 05/03/2020 09:31

I remember string rugs and canvas New Zealand rugs. They would get soaked right through and were so heavy! Awful things!

Floralnomad · 05/03/2020 09:37

We are in our 40th continuous year of horse ownership so I remember the string sweat sheets , canvas New Zealand’s and jute rugs which you used a roller with . With the modern rugs I don’t think a damp horse is a massive issue other than from a comfort POV , but for me this is why everyone should ensure they have access to at the very least a shelter . What would happen if the horse was ill and needed to be restricted .

Ponyta123 · 09/03/2020 20:19

Our yard has a policy of leaving turnout rugs on the horses overnight in the stable if they've got wet in the field, so that they dry on them rather than having to be put back on damp in the morning. This always seems weird to me but I suppose it's no worse than what you're saying. A quick Google tells me this isnt uncommon these days, although it was certainly never done when I was a kid at pony club.

OldSpeclkledHen · 09/03/2020 22:20

@Ponyta123 my mare lives in her turn out rug 24/7 and she's stabled at night 😉

Several reasons for this;
Rug will dry on her quicker than being hung up overnight
Speed! Mornings are always short of time! Rug change is a faff.
Comfort for the her - imagine casting off your warm cosy duvet in the morning to put on a damp cold raincoat 😂😂

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