As a horse owner, learning your horse’s needs is crucial to ensure you assist it when it is right. Knowing when to rug your horse is helpful since it will help repel pests, withstand harsh weather, and stay groomed. Horse rugging is important, but you don’t have to overdo it since it may cause unfortunate events like sweating and irritation.
Excess rugging can prevent natural sunlight from reaching the horse, yet it needs Vitamin D like humans. Vitamin D deficiency can affect horse bone strength and expose a horse to injuries. A light or heavyweight fleece horse blanket can help your equine friend regulate body temperature on different days.
How Horses Keep Warm
The horse is a mammal created to regulate its body temperature naturally. But, when environmental temperatures fall below 5°C, the horse needs more heat. Here’s how it makes that happen.
On cold days, horse turn their backs to the wind or rain as a shield to protect themselves. They huddle closely in a group and share their warmth in bad weather. During the summer, you can help keep off insects and bugs using a horse fly sheet and allow the horse to enjoy the environment comfortably.
The natural shelter for horses is thick hedges and tree lines. When the weather is bad, they’re shielded from its impact. However, feeling cold is inevitable if they can’t access the field shelter. You can construct a good shelter to help your horse stay warm and protected from harsh weather and persistent wind.
Due to the horse’s outer coat, they hold in a lot of heat, meaning they lose very little. The air trapped within the cat hairs creates an insulation that keeps the body warm on cold days. You may notice snow or unmelted frost on your horse’s back because its winter coat entraps heat and doesn’t let it escape.
Consistent foraging keeps the horse warm. Foraging is a natural heating system created when the horse breaks down the digestive system.
Horses will use more energy to keep themselves warm. The metabolic rate is high when it’s cold, and horses lose the weight gained in winter during the summer months.
How to Choose a Rug for Your Horse
If you decide to rug your horse, purchase a pony blanket suitable for different weather and maximum comfort. With many available options, compare what works for your horse depending on lifestyle, breed, purpose, size, and age.
Light colors are suitable for summer, whereas dark colors retain heat during cold days to keep the horse comfortable. Here are some circumstances that can help you determine the type of rug to use.
- Overall health. Healthy horses can protect themselves from harsh weather conditions.
- Time of the year
- The lifestyle your horse lives – exercising, jumping
- Access to a stable or stall
- Feeding regime and foraging opportunity
- The degree of humidity in cold weather
Rugging your horse is crucial to help protect it from harsh weather and provide more comfort. Although rugging isn’t mandatory, learn your horse’s needs so that you can respond when they need your help.