We all know how expensive keeping a horse or pony can be and rugs are one thing that we tend to need to replace regularly, so we need to look after them as best we can.

A rug is usually damaged or destroyed due to it coming off the horse’s back and being trampled on by the horse. Hardware failure, or poor fitting rugs are the most common reason for the rug coming off the horse. Hardware (i.e. clips, buckles, fittings etc) should be checked every day to ensure it is all in good working condition & able to secure the rug safely. Using a rug surcingle (rug roller) if your rug isn’t fitted with surcingles is a good idea to ensure the rug stays safely on your horse, in the event of buckles or clips giving way. These can be purchased cheaply and are elasticised for the comfort of your horse.

Summer Rugs

It is important to wash your rug regularly, to ensure it is kept in the best possible condition and also for your horse’s health. Clean rugs will also keep your horse more comfortable, and will help to stop them itching. Horses itching and scratching against fences with their rugs on is another reason for rugs becoming damaged.

When washing the rug avoid using very hot water as the heat will damage the bindings on your rug, as well as the fittings, such as leg straps which could fray. It is best to use a detergent designed specifically for horse rugs as some commercial washing detergents may be too severe and cause a reaction in your horse. Detergents designed for horse rugs also usually contain anti-bacterial agents which will help to prevent your horse from itching. Before washing your rug, remove all fittings where possible. This will not only protect the fittings, but will also help to prevent your washing machine from being damaged. If you aren’t able to remove the fittings, you can use special protection bags designed for washing horse gear.

If the rug isn’t going to be used on your horse, make sure it is stored in a dry container, preferably one that is vermin proof to stop mice and rats from chewing or soiling your rug.


Winter Rugs

Winter Rugs should not be washed in the washing machine as doing this will remove the waterproofing qualities of your rug & you will find when it rains your rug will leak and your horse will soon become very wet!

To wash winter rugs, hang them over a fence and hose them down on the outside. You can also use a stiff brush to remove dirt and horse hair. This will also work on the inside of the rug, which is best left dry so your rug will remain waterproof.

It is a good idea to leave your rug hanging over a fence to air when possible as heavy winter rugs can become rather smelly if not aired. You will need to choose a nice sunny day to do this, where there is plenty of time for the rug to dry out! And as with summer rugs, winter rugs should be carefully stored away ready for the next season.

March 10, 2022 — Greg Grant Saddlery