We all know our horses come with their own built-in winter jacket – i.e. their fur that has remarkable thermal insulating properties. But, our horses aren’t left in their natural state. We brush them, clip them, rug them, and of course, ride them.
So, what does this mean? Well, because we alter their coats, there are times when they need a little extra help to stay cool and comfortable.
You already know you need a cooler rug, but which one is the best for your horse?
I get it. Finding the perfect cooler rug for your horse’s comfort can be a bit tricky. Too light and they may not be warm enough, too thick and you run the risk of them breaking a sweat, which cools them. It restarts the whole cycle!
Don’t worry, I’ve done the hard work for you and found the best horse coolers on the market.
Types of Cooler Rugs for Horses
Just like our own jumpers and coats, cooler rugs for horses come in various types tailored for different horse care needs and weather conditions.
Here’s a look at some of the cooler rugs you can choose from:
- String vest cooler: Think of this as the old-school classic. They’re great for wicking away sweat and moisture after a workout to keep your horse cool without catching a chill.
- Mesh cooler: The most popular of the bunch, a mesh cooler is perfect on hot days or after a bath. It maximises airflow to keep your horse comfortable and cool.
- Fleece cooler: You’ve got options here, from thin to thick, and wallet-friendly to high-end. Fleece coolers are like the reliable all-rounder in your horse’s closet – summer and winter.
- Jersey cooler: These are basically fleece coolers but with a smoother, more stylish outside. They still work their moisture-wicking magic, but also won’t pick up hay bits and shavings like regular fleece.
- Original Thermatex/Waffle/Quilted cooler: These cooler rugs have textured or honeycomb patterns, which create extra air pockets for better breathability and moisture removal.
- Speciality cooler: You might come across some coolers with a fancy name like DryFlex, AirMove, or MaxCool (totally made those up, but you get the idea). The principles will be the same. If it looks good, fits well, and matches the season, it will likely do the trick.
6 Best Cooler Rugs for Horses
Now, let’s get into what you really came here for – the best cooler rugs for your equine companion…
1. Best Overall – Weatherbeeta Anti-Static Fleece Cooler
- Neck Style: Regular neck
- Material: Lightweight anti-pill polyester fleece
- Colours: Navy, Black/Silver, Maroon, Green with pictures of sloths (definitely my favourite!)
When it came to deciding the best of the rest, Weatherbeeta’s Anti-Static Fleece Cooler stood out. Crafted from lightweight anti-pill polyester fleece, this cooler rug doesn’t just feel cosy – it’s packed with features that ensure your horse’s comfort and well-being.
My favourite feature is the breathable fleece material infused with anti-static properties. It not only keeps your horse warm and dry with its wicking properties, but it also shields them (and you) from those annoying static shocks.
The lined shoulders are a thoughtful touch. No more worries about rubbing or stretching; this cooler rug provides the best comfort.
But it’s not just practical, it’s got style too. The nylon fabric on the outer side adds a touch of flair around the neckline and down the chest. For fastening, you’ve got two buckle straps on the chest, two low adjustable cross surcingle straps under the belly, and a tail cord.
Overall, it looks and feels great and keeps your horse snug and comfortable after a sweaty ride.
- Soft and comfortable to the touch
- High quality at an affordable price
- Great overlay feature at the shoulder to prevent rubbing
- Anti-pilling polyester fleece means it’s easy to clean
- No full-neck version so may not be ideal for winter or horses that break a full-body sweat
2. Best Budget Cooler – Tuffrider Cooler Sheet Combo
- Neck Style: Combo neck
- Material: Soft fleece
- Colours: Black, Deep Wisteria (Blue)
As a horse owner, I know how important it is to properly cool down and warm up my horses to maintain their soft tissue and muscle health. Tuffrider’s Cooler Sheet Combo proves you can still do that even on a budget!
Whether it’s for a post-workout cool-down or pre-workout warm-up, this cooler sheet is a must-have in any barn. Crafted from soft fleece, it’s gentle on your horse’s skin while efficiently wicking moisture away for that much-needed evaporative cooling.
I really like the combo neck, which provides full coverage for horses that break a full-body sweat. This also makes it a fantastic cooler for cold weather conditions, ensuring your equine companion doesn’t catch a chill.
The thoughtful features like metal T-hooks and low cross surcingles make it easy to secure and ensure a snug fit. It’s practical, effective, and budget-friendly – a winning combination for any horse owner.
- Effective fleece moisture-wicking material
- Budget-friendly but still great quality
- Combo neck cover which allows to change from regular to full neck
- No fillet string, but not really a dealbreaker
- Material may not be as durable as other options
3. Most Versatile Cooler Rug – Bucas Shamrock Power Cooler
- Neck Style: Regular or full neck
- Material: Stay-Dry fleece
- Colours: Black, Navy
The Shamrock Power Cooler by Bucas is hands down the most versatile cooler rug I’ve come across. It’s not just a cooler rug, it’s a multitasker that serves as a sweat rug, travel rug, light stable rug, and wicking rug.
Made with two layers of Bucas’s Stay-Dry fabric, it wicks moisture away with ease. You can say goodbye to having a sweaty horse – this cooler rug will keep them dry and comfortable, saving you time and rug changes.
There’s also anti-bacterial lining which keeps the rug fresh, and the outer material repels bedding, so no shavings will stick to it if your horse decides to have a roll around while wearing it.
With features like shoulder darts for extra room, a fillet string, and detachable elastic straps to keep it in place, this cooler rug is easily the most versatile.
- High-quality option with Stay-Dry fabric that delivers solid moisture-wicking
- Offers a nice choice between full neck or regular neck
- Stays fresh thanks to the anti-bacterial lining
- Serves multiple purposes
- Not budget-friendly for all horse owners
4. Best for Warm Weather – Horseware Ireland Rambo Sport Cooler
- Neck Style: Regular neck
- Material: Cotton and polyester
- Colours: Pomegranate/Black/White, Navy/Burgundy/Teal
Horseware’s Ireland Rambo Sport Cooler has to be the best cooler rug I’ve ever come across for warm weather days. The moment I touched this cooler rug, I understood why Horseware is such a famous brand. Honestly, the material feels better than many of my clothes!
Crafted specifically for those balmy days, this cooler combines the best of both worlds. On top, you’ll find luxurious brushed cotton fabric, while the sides are made of air-textured polyester netting. This dynamic duo works wonders in preventing your horse from overheating.
This smart design really stands out. It’s like they took all the best bits from cotton and net coolers and mashed them together.
The cotton top does the moisture-wicking while keeping your horse warm. The net sides, made from tough polyester, promote airflow and speed up drying. You know what that means: no more sweaty, uncomfortable horses on those hot days.
If you’re after a cooler rug that’s as good-looking as it is practical, your search ends here!
- Incredibly soft and luxurious fabric to the touch
- Air-texture polyester netting provides optimal airflow for hotter days
- Stylish design, which could be a plus for some horse owners
- Lack of colour and size options on top retail sites
- Cotton coolers don’t have the best reputation
5. Best Lightweight Cooler Rug – Shires Tempest Original Tech Cooler
- Neck Style: Regular neck
- Material: Cotton waffle fabric
- Colours: Navy
Shires Equestrian has always been a staple for both equestrians and their hardworking horses. They live up to their reputation, and they keep putting out great products, such as the Tempest Original Tech Cooler.
First, it’s moisture wicking and thermal properties are impressive. Whether after a bath, exercise or during travel, this cooler rug is designed to regulate temperature. The breathable cushion-quilt knit fabric creates a snug microclimate, wicking moisture away while keeping your horse’s skin dry.
It’s also multifunctional. Whether you need a wicking rug for post-exercise recovery, travel, or even as a light stable rug, it fits the bill. Plus, it’s so lightweight that you can easily layer it under blankets for added warmth without adding bulk to your horse.
You also know you – or rather, your horse – are getting a secure and comfortable fit thanks to the double front closures, adjustable cross surcingles, and fillet string.
- Incredibly lightweight while still keeping your horse warm with its thermal properties
- Feature packed with chest straps, adjustable cross surcingles, and a fillet string
- Limited size range
- Only available in one colour, but not really a dealbreaker
6. Best for Therapy – Protechmasta Therapy Cooler Rug
- Neck Style: Regular neck
- Material: 3D air mesh fabric
- Colours: Black
The Protechmasta Therapy Cooler Rug isn’t just another addition to your tack room; it’s a solution that could take your horse’s care to the next level. It’s part of an award-winning collection, after all!
How, you ask? With Far Infrared Radiation (FIR) – a natural process that’s been scientifically proven to boost blood circulation, promote joint health, and ease muscle tension. Thousands of threads are carefully infused with special ceramic powders, creating FIR and effectively reflecting the FIR naturally emitted by your horse’s body.
Believe it or not, this isn’t a bunch of techy words without promise. In fact, it has glowing reviews from numerous horse owners who swear by its effectiveness (including myself)! Whether you’re aiming to improve circulation, reduce swelling, or prepare your horse’s muscles for exercise, this rug delivers.
Its super-wicking material and lightweight, breathable design provide year-round optimum comfort. And, with convenient features like a single front chest strap and cross surcingles, it’s effortless to put on and fits like a dream.
- Far Infrared Radiation is proven to help with horse therapy
- Great for promoting blood circulation for both pre- and post-workout
- Solid airflow and lightweight comfort thanks to the 3D air mesh fabric
- Quite pricey, but you certainly get what you pay for
How to Choose the Best Cooler Rug for Your Horse
Now that you have a rundown of all the best cooler rugs for horses, how do you choose? Trust me, it’s not as easy as liking a couple of the features and clicking “add to cart”. There are a few key factors you’ll need to consider first if you want your horse to get the most out of its cooler rug.
Does your horse need a cooler?
Some of you may be wondering whether your horse needs a cooler. Not every horse needs a cooler, especially if you take into consideration your climate.
Think of it this way – imagine working up a sweat and then being left in the cold while you’re still damp. Not a cosy thought, right?
If you’re exercising your horse during the winter, and even in the summer, and it’s a breaking sweat, then you need a cooler.
A cooler is much more versatile than you may think. For example, if you’ve just given your horse a bath and want to dry them off in a jiffy, a cooler can help. Sure, you could towel-dry it, but trust me, a cooler does the job better, especially if you’re managing a whole stable of horses.
Horse coolers come in a range of materials and fabrics, each with their own set of features and benefits. Ideally, a cooler rug made from breathable fabric is best to help keep your horse’s coat dry.
Take fleece coolers, for instance; they’re super warm and cosy while still maximising breathability. On the other hand, coolers made from nylon, polyester, or mesh are cooler, water-resistant, and built to last.
Nowadays, you can find cooler rugs in various materials like cotton, acrylic, microfiber and high-tech materials like DuraTech. Each material brings its own properties to the table, whether it’s UV protection, bug-repellent, or even FIR, like the Protechmasta Therapy Cooler Rug.
One of the most important factors to consider when shopping for a cooler rug is its features and ease of use. For example:
- Neck style – When it comes to neck style, you’ve got options: regular neck (ends just at the withers, perfect for warmer days), full neck (for cooler days), or a combo neck (a detachable neck cover for versatility).
- Straps and buckles – There should be enough to keep the blanket securely in place, such as a chest or belly strap(s). Some rugs even have nylon or elastic shoulder and leg straps to stop annoying shifting.
- Types of closures – Closures matter too. You’ll find different types like front closures or quick-clip closures. This depends on your horse’s comfortability.
- Gussets – Gussets are a neat feature that gives your horse the freedom to move without any restrictions.
- Tail flap – A simple but essential feature, some cooler rugs have a tail flap to protect your horse’s tail.
- Additional features – Pay attention to any extra features, too. Some rugs come with a wither pad for sensitive withers, a fillet string to keep the rug from flapping in the wind, or satin-lined shoulders to prevent rubbing.
Of course, the right fit is paramount. An ill-fitting cooler won’t do the job effectively. You can check out this guide on how to measure a horse for a rug to ensure the perfect fit.
Ideally, for a spot-on fit:
- The top of the front closure should align perfectly with your horse’s shoulders, and the neckline should rest smoothly without any pulling or tugging.
- The cooler rug shouldn’t be too tight; you should be able to slide a hand comfortably between the sheet and your horse’s withers.
- Lengthwise, the sheet should fully cover your horse’s barrel.
By nailing the fit, you’ll ensure that your horse stays comfy and gets all the benefits of their cooler rug.
What are the benefits of a cooler rug for my horse?
There are several benefits of a cooler rug for your horse. Firstly, it helps regulate your horse’s body temperature effectively. By wicking away moisture from your horse’s skin and bringing it to the surface, they help with faster evaporation. This cools your horse down without risking them getting chilled.
Cooler rugs are particularly useful, and essential, after a strenuous workout in cold weather or during the heat of summer.
Should I choose a cooler rug with or without a built-in neck cover?
You can pick either, but it will depend on your horse’s needs, the climate, and the availability of a well-fitting rug. In general, a horse tends to stay warm when their body is warm, kind of like how we keep our core cosy. However, if your horse is fully clipped, a cooler rug with a neck cover is best.
If you want something more versatile, opt for a cooler with a detachable neck cover – the best of both worlds.
How long can you leave a cooler rug on a horse?
Typically, you can leave a cooler rug on your horse for about 20 to 60 minutes, depending on the intensity of the workout and the temperature. In hotter weather or after a vigorous exercise session, it may take up to an hour for your horse to cool down completely. On the flip side, in cooler weather or after a more relaxed workout, 20 minutes could be enough.
But a word of caution: be careful not to leave a damp or saturated cooler on your horse for an extended period, like overnight. This could create a moist environment for skin irritation or infections to grow.