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How to measure your horse for a rug

Horse rugs are a necessity for every horse owner. They’re essential in keeping your horse comfortable and happy. But with such a huge variety of rugs on the market, it’s easy to wonder: what horse rugs do I need and how do I know they will fit? We’ve written a guide to help you out!



  1. Use a measuring tape to get readings of the total length of your horse. Go from the shoulder back to the end of its rump working front to back.

  2. To back up this reading, use an existing rug to compare the size against.

  3. Decide your fill and weight by the time of year your horse will be wearing it - Summer will be lighter and less fill etc.

  4. Check the rug fits when it arrives by trying it on the horse, before fully committing.


What different rugs can I buy?

Rugs vary depending on the season, the weather and the occasion! It’s vital to know which rug is best in order to keep your horse happy and comfortable. Using the wrong rug at the wrong time can leave you with a very distressed horse!


Turnout rugs

Turnouts are perfect for keeping your horse warm and dry throughout the winter as they’re waterproof and filled with padding. Your horse will thank you for keeping them clean and warm! Turnouts are available in varying degrees of thickness and weight to allow you to specifically tailor the rug to your horse’s needs. A thicker, heavier turnout is great for winter in the field as it’ll trap heat and keep them cosy! Whilst a lighter turnout will be great for showery summer days.



Stable rugs

Stable rugs are essential for keeping your horse comfortable when they’re stabled inside. Similarly to the turnout rug, they’re available in varying thickness and weights so you can choose suitable protection depending on the weather. Cold winter nights require a thick stable rug to keep your horse comfortable and warm. Stable rugs aren’t waterproof and should therefore only be used indoors.


Summer Sheets and Fly Rugs

The heat of the summer would be unbearable for a horse in a heavy turnout rug. During the summer we suggest using a summer sheet or a fly rug to keep your horse at its happiest. These are much cooler alternatives as they’re much lighter, usually constructed with a light cotton or fine mesh weave. They still offer protection from the elements but without the added weight and insulation. The main objectives of this rug are to protect your horse against sun damage, dust and flies, keeping them much more comfortable. Fly rugs offer better protection against flies than a summer sheet, so use one of these if your horse is especially sensitive to fly irritation. Combine with neck, belly and tail protection for a more effective defence.


Fleece rugs and coolers

Fleece rugs and coolers are essential pieces of kit when keeping your horse comfortable. These offer quick drying properties that mean you can easily cool your horse down from exercise without them getting cold. These rugs and coolers have great breathability and are specifically designed to wick away moisture, meaning that sweat or rain water is encouraged to evaporate slowly and effectively. Fleece rugs can also be used as as a lightweight stable rug. They’re perfect for use when travelling and can also be used in combination with other rugs as a liner for added warmth.


Show sheets

Show sheets are the best rugs to use when you want your horse looking smart and show ready. These will have your horse looking its very best whilst also keeping it warm, clean and dry. The varying styles and cuts available mean that you can tailor your choose for what you and your horse need. These can be used for travel to shows, in the stables and also whilst performing.


Exercise sheets

The clue’s in the name with this one! Exercise sheets are designed for use when training to keep your horse warm and comfortable. The sheets usually offer moisture wicking properties which will ensure that your horse remains cool and dry as you ride. When purchasing an exercise sheet, there will also be other factors on offer that will be helpful such as hi-vis material or water resistance. Some will be worn beneath the saddle whilst others will have a cut out section to reduce rubbing.


Liners and Underblankets

Liners and underblankets are perfect for use throughout the winter as they offer an extra layer of warmth to your usual rug choice. They add an extra bit of insulation, trapping the heat to keep your horse warm. Much like turnouts, they vary in weight so that you can choose a weight depending on the weather.


How to measure your horse for a rug

Your horse won’t thank you for an ill fitting rug. Not only will it look odd, it’ll be very uncomfortable and irritating. Choose a rug too big and it will rub, chafe and slip down. A rug too small will dig in and cause discomfort.


To ensure a great fit, just follow these simple steps:


  1. Measure a straight line around the shoulder from the centre of your horse’s chest. Follow the line along the belly through to the furthest point of the rump. Don’t measure over the tail as you could add too much length to your rug. This will give you the size of the rug. Rug measurements increase by 3” increments each time. If your measurement falls between, we suggest you go up a size to keep your horse more comfortable.

  2. Double check your measurements by measuring an existing rug. Use a thin rug such as a cotton sheet as this will give you a much more accurate sizing. This method is good as you know that this rug fits them. Don’t take what it says on the label as fact as the rug may have stretched and changed over time.

  3. Consider the time of year that your horse will be wearing this rug. Will it be cold or warm? Wet or dry? This will help you decide which weight and fill will be most suitable for your rug.

Does your horse rug fit?

When your rug arrives, it’s time to check it fits correctly. You can work this out in a number of ways. First you must ensure it’s not extending beyond the top of your horse’s tail. Measure this with your horse’s head down as this will pull the rug forward to its correct position. If the rug is not long enough to reach the top of the tail, it’s too small.


The leg straps and surcingles should allow a hands width between themselves and the horse’s body. This will allow freedom of movement without being too loose and slipping. The front straps should be adjusted to sit in front of the wither. If it’s behind it can pull back and cause rubbing or sores. You should be able to insert a hand down the front of the rug.


Hopefully these top tips will help you to choose a rug that’s the perfect style and size, keeping your horse happy and comfortable throughout the year! We offer a wide variety of brands and styles so you’ll definitely be able to find the perfect rug for you! Shop all rugs here.