The Whisperer

Our quarterly newsletter to members is called The Whisperer. It helps members keep in touch, advertises forthcoming events, reports on past events, produces articles of interest and contains some advertisements.  There have been some very interesting items printed over the years and some of them will gradually be reproduced here.

 

To Rug Or Not To Rug  by Mary Howe (December 2014)

We all have our ideas on whether a horse should be rugged or not and different reasons for deciding to do so or not, but what we all should take into consideration is what is right for the horse and are we rugging them up to make us feel better.

Horses have a great ability to grow a heavy winter coat, which trap air in for warmth and lay flat when the weather is warmer. They have survived for millions of years without rain sheets or heavy weight turnouts, so are we actually doing the kindest thing for our animals when we start adding layers.

Obviously, if our horses are working on a regular basis and are clipped then there is little question that a rug will be required; but for the average heavy who is turned out in the day and brought in at night or even those who winter out, do we really need to provide rugs?

Would you like to be zipped into a heavy winter jacket at the slightest frost and find yourself unable to take it off as the day warms up. Owning both heavies and warm bloods I personally can see arguments for both sides of this debate so will not say rugging is either right or wrong, but it should be done with the horse's welfare in mind.   After all, a horse's body cannot absorb a vast amount of Vitamin D with a rug on nor can he roll and relieve itches in quite the same manner as when he is without a rug. 

It is my personal belief, and I do apply this to my warm bloods as well, that as long as a horse has access to plenty of good hay and water he will keep himself warm if he has a good winter coat. But that my friends is my own choice, your opinions may differ.