Rugging a horse has its own causes and effects. As simple as it may sound, it isn’t an easy job. There are different factors that one definitely needs to consider before trying their hand in it. Foremost, the larger part for rugging depends upon if one has enough knowledge regarding the animal’s anatomical and physiological structure. Here below you can find some useful insights on how to rug a horse using stable rugs and all that you must know before!
Knowing the basics
Since horses aren’t humans so is their capability to adjust to changes is anything like ours. Their body temperature which should be 38°C or around has learned to become accustomed to seasonal fluctuations with the help of a well-evolved body mechanism, thermoregulation. To note, it is extremely significant for horses to have the least fluctuations in their temperature as it can lead to serious health issues and even death in some cases.
The ability to stand winters of horses depends on factors like their naturally greasy body hair which keeps them from getting snow cold & wet. Thus, over-grooming or hair clipping should be avoided during winters.
Their body generates a good amount of heat while digesting hay through the peristaltic working of the gut. Ensure enough food/hay availability at all times while also maintaining the right weight as fat in the body also acts as an insulator.
Horses generate heat in their body by moving and running hence they should not be tied and kept always inside their shelters.
Rugging a horse
A horse uses its body’s fat to stay warm and doesn’t require rugs. However, in certain cases of unhealthy, old, and even clipped horses may need some extra warmth.
Before buying stable rugs, check the right size and fit of your animal. Take the help of a supervisor or an experienced handler while rugging. Make sure to tie your horse using a head collar. Start with the process slowly by laying the folded rug over the horse’s body and start covering and unfolding it. Check if the rug covers the whole body and should be hanging a few inches down the belly for free movement.
The rest includes fastening of the straps starting from the front breast and then securing the rest with a fist gap in between them and the body surface.
Most importantly, keep checking your horse’s body temperature and adjusting the rugs accordingly by creating a thorough list of do’s & don’ts. Over-rugging in any circumstances is likely to be more harmful than of any help. Keep the factors in check!