Horse Rug for Australian: The weather conditions in Australia can be pretty extreme. Hence, it is no surprise that most horse owners are concerned about the well-being of their horses. Therefore, the rugging of horses is not a strange thing to do.
As a result of how common this practice is, horse rugs in Australia come in different designs, sizes, materials, types, etc. As good as this might be for the horses, it poses a challenge for the owners as far as decision-making is concerned.
Choosing a rug can be so challenging because there are many factors that need to be considered. Therefore, in this article, we will look at the factors that you must consider when choosing a horse rug for Australian conditions.
First Time Rugging
If your mount is to be rugged for the first time, you should start with a light material rather than a heavy one. This is to enable your steed to get used to the covering. It will also allow you to read the comfort signs of your mount when it is rugged. You should monitor your stallion for signs of overheating as this can be very dangerous.
You can read the comfort signs of your horse by doing the following:
i. Check if your mount is shivering, stiff, tense, the ears are cold, or the hairs are standing. All these are signs that it is very cold. It might try to overcome the cold by huddling together with other stallions or facing the gusting wind with its hindquarters.
ii. Check if your steed is sweating (at the shoulder and rib cage), thirsty, or unusually restless. When this happens, it means it is too warm.
iii. To get used to your mare’s comfort, you have to constantly put your hand under the rug of your horse and also check multiple locations of the coat. If the weather is cold, check for warmth across different body areas. If the coat of your steed is cool or the coat is somewhat raised, you have to add another layer or rugging or use a warmer one. If the horse is very warm, its perspiration will be seen as dampness or humidity in its coat. Visit https://horseandrider.com/horse-health-care/grooming-horses-mane/ to learn how to care for the coat, mane, and tail of your horse.
Rugging in Very Cold Months
Apart from the fact that you want to keep your horse comfortable, the following are the other reasons why you should rug your steed in very cold months.
1. To maintain its short coat
The coat of a horse reacts to the day’s length; this is a sign to let the steed know when it should begin to grow its winter coat. With the days becoming shorter, the coat will start to grow.
Therefore, to keep the coat short, rugging can keep the pony warm and keep the hair short. This should be done before the start of the winter months.
2. To reduce feeding
The colder the weather, the more your stallion will eat. It does this to generate body heat to survive the cold. Therefore, rugging it will make it warmer which will, in turn, reduce how much food it eats.
When Should You Rug?
If your reason for rugging is to maintain short hair, then rugging should be done in February. You should start with a light layer and then gradually add more layers the colder the weather gets.
If your reason for rugging is to reduce its feeding, you can wait until the weather is cold before you rug. In this case, one very warm rug should suffice.
Factors to Consider when Choosing the Rug and Layers
1. The Coat of your Horse
Without any rugging, your stallion’s hair will grow out to serve as an insulator against the cold as the hairs trap the heat. This insulation won’t work when the hair is windy or wet. Click here to read about the hair properties of horses, mules, and donkeys in a temperate climate.
Hence, placing a light material rug on your hairy horse will cause the insulation to reduce as the hairs become flattened. This can even make your pony colder. Therefore, a blanket that doesn’t have the right insulation capacity when used during warmer weather can take away the natural insulation of the animal. If your mare has a thin winter coat or you want its hair to be short, you should use a rug to stop the hair from growing.
You should consider weather factors (rain, humidity, and wind chill) when choosing a horse rug. For instance, rain can reduce the insulation ability of dense winter hair. This could leave your mare exposed to the cold completely. Blasts of wind might lift the coat thereby exposing the skin directly to icy blasts.
Therefore, even if your stallion has a thick coat, a lightweight but waterproof covering might protect it when the weather conditions are not favorable.
3. Health and Age
A sick horse will appreciate a blanket since its immune system is not functioning optimally. In the same vein, older stallions and foals might not be able to stay warm like middle-aged animals. Hence, such animals will require some covering to ensure that they remain warm during the winter months.
4. Covering Material
As we said at the beginning of this article, these coverings come in different materials. Therefore, you should consider the material that is suitable for your mare.
The material you use choose will also determine the number of layers you will use. Whenever you try new material, ensure that you carry out the comfort signs checks that we shared earlier.
Rugging in Very Warm Months
The following are the reasons why you should rug your steed in very warm months.
1. Insect protection
This is the main reason most folks rug their horses. Biting insects can be quite prevalent in the summer and can make the life of your steed uncomfortable. Therefore, you should get a covering that is light to ensure that the heat doesn’t become unbearable.
2. Prevention of coat bleaching & heat protection
Coat bleaching is usually an issue during the summer months. This can be avoided by using a mesh or light cotton material. You could also use a light fly mesh material if your equine doesn’t like rugs.
3. Protection against Wet Weather
When the weather is wet during the summer, you should use unlined rainsheets when the weather is dry. You can then leave turnout rainsheets on your stallion when the weather gets wet. Do not forget to monitor this to prevent your horse from overheating.
Protecting your horse from Australian weather conditions is something that must be practiced by every horse owner. One of the ways to do this is to rug the animal. Therefore, the article above has provided relevant information about factors you should consider when choosing a horse rug.