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Rugging up - it's minus 18 at night!

18 replies

broguemum · 11/01/2009 14:13

Not too sure about rugging up at the best of times and usually let my girls become hairy beasts in the winter but it is so cold here at the moment that I need to do something. It was minus 18 last night (again) and nearly every day for the past week it has not got over minus 5 during the day. So, how do I know how much to rug?

At the moment my girls are stabled in an outside block that is pretty much exposed to the elements and the thoroughbred is wearing the heaviest rug that horseware do and the cob is wearing a heavy weight rug too. Is this enough? How do I tell? They don't look cold, they look all fluffy and cute and they don't feel cold under their rugs but obviously I can't be there at midnight to check when the mercury is really low... I'm thinking of slinging a thickish stable rug on underneath the horseware rug for the thoroughbred but leaving the cob as she is as she is pretty hairy. No-one here to ask for advice so all contributions welcome. TIA.

OP posts:
Roskva · 11/01/2009 15:57

Another owner on a yard where I used to keep my horse used to put on old single duvet under her TB's rug in the stable at night if it was very cold.

If they are getting too cold at night, then they would probably be miserable and out of sorts in the morning. What are you feeding them? If they're getting plenty of slow to digest energy, then they'll keep warm from the inside.

My current hairy beast is Icelandic, and is happy as larry in the cold

snoringnightmare · 11/01/2009 16:53

-18 thought it was cold enough here (UK) but that's severe. If they don't feel cold and seem happy enough they are probably ok. If you really are worried I would put some thin layers such as lightweight blankets under the rug.

I was always told to feel my pony's ears as an indicator as to how warm/cold he was when I was younger. Not sure if it's based in fact or an old wives' tale, but I still do it now!

mysterymoniker · 11/01/2009 16:57

someone told me to check the base of their ears, it should feel warm - but who wants to do that in the middle of the night when it's 18 below? (where the hell do you live! not in Suffolk I hope . . .)

if it's any help there's a massive difference at our yard between rugs on TBs and rugs on cobs - as in the really hairy heavy cob types are still sleeping out and coming in with icicles on their faces in the morning and the TBs are stabled with about a MILLION rugs on

LadyOfWaffle · 11/01/2009 17:26

I used to layer up, wool rugs are great and thin.

broguemum · 11/01/2009 18:18

I'm in Luxembourg and it is SOOOO cold here. Base of the ears eh? I was told to feel under the mane. Will try the ears thing but will slap another layer on the TB as she is being absolutely vile in the mornings and this could be the reason. I will leave my lovely cob as she is. In terms of food they're both getting plenty of silage and a hard feed twice a day with carrots and the cob eats her bed as well! Well, at least the water is not frozen this year (inserts a don't tempt fate emoticon).

Thanks for your help.

OP posts:
Piffle · 11/01/2009 18:28

arethey neck rugged too
Certainly for the t bred. You can get wool lined too
In NZ my Anglo Arab/exmoor X pony was out all year -10 coldest
She was double rugged with wool base cover and wool lined neck rug.
She got fuzzy as hell ( thankfully the exmoor in her helped)
But was always toasty...
they had 3 sided straw lined shelter but they rarely went in it!

broguemum · 11/01/2009 18:56

I tried neck rugging the TB but she goes mental and it's not a pretty sight. Sometimes she is so silly but I will try again. Unfortunately she is freaky about anything near her ears / top of her neck which I think is a hangover from an old injury to the poll. She accepts the bridle but you have to be quick - any fiddling around then she starts to seriously misbehave.
Piffle, I would love the set up you describe but unfortunately I can't - what lucky horses yours are....

OP posts:
frostyfingers · 12/01/2009 12:08

Mine aren't stabled, but my t'bed lives out and having faffed around putting a fleece liner on and off just left him to it with a medium weight Amigo with neck rug. Obviously I haven't been out and checked in middle of night, but he hasn't lost condition and seems quite happy. A really good thick bed nicely banked up around the edges is a help, and you could stable bandage legs as well. My vet said that they are better to be slightly cold than too hot as they can catch a chill from sweating and cooling down, and he also said that we are prone to over rugging (mollycoddling was his implication I think!). If they're not losing condition then they're obviously fine.

higgle · 12/01/2009 16:51

My Highland was so hairy the snow didn't melt on his back ( and so wide that he carried little piles of sticks and leaves on it too )

roddersb · 18/01/2009 16:44

It got to -10 where I am and my boys live out. I have a TB and a mini shet. TB in a heaveyweight and a lightweight over the top and when really cold I added a padded liner underneath the rest but only had to do this for a day and a night.

I find that as long as they feel warm under the rug, no matter what the temp, they should be fine. Always make sure that you are feeding enough as this is more important than putting an extra rug on.

mysterymoniker · 18/01/2009 16:45

did anyone see in this/last week's h&h about rugs being stolen from horses' backs in their stables?

broguemum · 18/01/2009 19:45

Thanks roddersb - my little darlings are getting ad lib silage, two hard feeds a day and about a kilo of carrots each twice a day. Hope it's enough. Thankfully it has warmed up now and it is only (only!!) minus 2 at the moment but the water has frozen and the pump is broken so loads of buckets of water is the order of the day. I hate lugging water around so I am v. v. glad it's someone else's job!

I didn't see the article on stealing rungs but nicking rugs in this weather is unbelievable. Fortunately mine are all so knackered no-one would want them.

OP posts:
ohnelly · 15/09/2009 21:07

Layers are defo better than one big thick rug. I use duvets under rugs, and you can pull them up the neck a bit too if you havent got a neckcover, as they are light, warm and easy to throw in the wash. Make sure you use a surcingle or similar to secure it though (on top of rug)or it probably wont still be on in the morning!

Butkin · 16/09/2009 10:16

Our ponies have been wearing their NZs in the field at night for last month. This week we've started leaving them on all day. My cob had his NZ on last night for the first time but I took it off this morning. The Connemara is still naked!

Pixel · 16/09/2009 11:09

Not planning on rugging any time soon as they have good shelters. In fact I got so wet yesterday that I had to sit on an old feed bag in the car on the way home, but the 'boys' were still bone-dry and looking very smug when I left! The shetland literally had water running off the surface of her coat but when I parted the hair she was totally dry under the top layer. Amazing. If they are a bit chilly a feed and a pile of hay soon warms them up, as long as they can get out of the wind.

We didn't expect to have to rug our youngster much, being a hairy cob with feathers and a long beard. We thought he would be like our others (one of whom was part TB) and be perfectly happy unrugged until near Christmas, unless stabled and clipped of course. Strangely he appears to have a finer coat than any of them. Actually, I'm hoping his rugs still fit as he has shot up this year. People at the yard keep saying "um, have you measured him lately?" as I struggle aboard.

skihorse · 16/09/2009 22:06

No plans yet to rug up, it's 11pm and still 17 degrees. I'm not a fan of unnecessary rugging up - my warmblood is happy out 24/7 in the winter in the cold - but I have to rug her because she doesn't like the rain... can't blame her really.

horseymum · 17/09/2009 21:13

plenty of hay (to eat - not under rug as used to be advised for drying off horses!!) as digesting it keeps them warm from inside out. Horse and rider magazine had an article on rugs this month, you may be able to access it online, will have a look to see what else it said. Whatever you put on, use a thin sheet underneath so it is easy to wash regularly. (duvets wouldn't fit in our machine) Also, it is the wet combined with cold that is the problem, not the cold in itself. I think some horses can get a bit grumpy with too many rugs on- it must be really uncomfortable sometimes. Mine only likes high neck rugs which are quite tricky to find in the right weigh etc. as she hates her withers being pressed on.

Butkin · 18/09/2009 09:18

All our horses wear Horsewear (Ireland) rugs. The two Sec As wear Amigos, the connemara wears a Rhino whilst the cob wears a rambo. We think they are great and long lasting. All have detachable hoods. We've got lycra hoods for the ponies to wear to shows to keep their coats good but they don't wear them in the field.

Just recently they have all been wearing their rugs at night but I took them all off today because 21 degrees forecast and it's sunny in Suffolk.

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