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Contrary to popular belief, turnout rugs are not merely designed to keep your horse clean and warm in the Winter – they can also provide an effective layer in the warm Summer months which protect the horses coat from dirt, rain, and pesky flies which can irritate and aggravate your horse.

What this means is that all year round, come rain or shine, equine stores are packed full of different rugs for different purposes – and to find the best heavyweight rugs for Winter, you need to know a little about what you are looking for and why.

It is no longer enough to simply walk into a store or head online and order the rug which looks the best – and with so many brands now available, offering everything from detachable neck covers to leg straps, under rugs and waterproof coating, finding the best heavyweight turnout rug is as much about fit and thickness as it is about aesthetic appearance and additional features.

Choosing The Right Heavyweight Turnout Rug For Your Horse

So, we’ve uncovered our top five turnout rugs this season and explored a little about what makes them so great. But what exactly should you be looking for in a high quality and effective heavyweight turnout rug, and what makes a heavyweight turnout rug so effective?

Rug Weight

First thing’s first, in order to be considered a heavyweight rug, the weight must have upwards of 300g worth of filling – generating enough warmth across the large surface area to keep your horse warm when the temperature drops. This filling is generally made from a polyester fluff which is stuffed in small pockets of air to create a finish texture which is akin to a sleeping bag or a warm puffy jacket. The combination of fluff and air helps retain your horse’s body heat, keeping them snug even during the coldest nights.

The ideal weight for your horse will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • Whether or not your horse is clipped – a clipped horse is one with a shorter coat and so will likely need more in the way of layers for warmth.
  • Whether you intend to turn your horse out or keep him in a stable over Winter
  • Whether your horse is overweight – if so, and you are looking to help him shift a little weight for the sake of his own legs, a lighter rug will encourage his body to naturally drop the extra weight. It is important in this case that you keep track of the weight and layer your horse back up once the excess weight has been lost.

Rug Material

Of course, it’s not all about weight and filling when it comes to warmth – with waterproofing another key element which will protect your horse from becoming cold in adverse weather conditions. In fact, it is the combination of filling and material which creates the most effective turnout rug, due to the simple fact that if the rug is not waterproof then any rain will seep into the filling and fill it with moisture – and if the outer shell is not tight enough, any wind chill will rip right through it.

Another thing you should consider with regards to the material of your turnout rug is how effective it will be in the face of brambles and other hazards which could easily rip through a thin or soft outer material. The strength of the material is commonly referred to as its denier – with a high denier providing the ideal solution for a horse which is prone to ripping and spoiling the turnout rug. After all, there is no point in investing in high quality fillings and warm layers if the outer layer is simply going to be ripped at the first sign of a little thorn or play fighting!

Features To Look Out For

Once you know what weight and material you are looking for, you will find yourself facing a broad range of other features and options which can add to the usability and functionality of your turnout rug. It can become quite overwhelming when you realise how much choice you have available to you – however, the main thing to do is remember that you are investing in something that will last your horse a number of years, so the most important factors to focus on are size and weight.

Other things you can look out for include:

  • Detachable neck cover for extra warmth during the Winter.
  • Front closures that ensure the rug stays securely fastened in place for optimum protection – different models and brands use different closure methods, so we recommend familiarising yourself with how these work, and consider how your horse behaves in terms of rubbing his front on objects and items around him.

Heavyweight Turnout FAQ’s

What weight is a heavyweight turnout rug?

Anything with a filling weight of 300g or more is considered a heavyweight turnout rug.

When should you use a heavyweight turnout rug?

This will depend somewhat on your horse and how cold he gets – particularly in relation to how clipped his coat is, his weight, and his activity level.

If you intend on turning your house out all year round, a heavyweight turnout rug should be used as soon as the weather dips to around 4 degrees. Anything lower than zero degrees will require additional layers.

Can you layer up a heavyweight turnout rug?

Yes, and you should do so as soon as the weather dips anywhere below zero degrees. The first step is to add a neck cover when the weather sits around zero degrees, and if it goes lower than this you should look into liner rugs which sit beneath the turnout rug and offer additional heat retentive features.

All of the above models in our top five pick offer enough space for layering, with adjustable straps allowing the outer rug to be loosened in line with the under rugs you decide to fix in place for extra warmth.For more information about heavyweight turnout rugs, including support and guidance on what the right filling weight and denier rating may be for your horse and their surrounding environment, get in touch with us through our contact page.

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