best horse rugs

The 8 Best Horse Rugs

There’s hardly a horse that doesn’t have at least one type of horse rug, and I bet there are a few different ones hanging in your tack room.

Whether you’re new to horse riding or a seasoned athlete, knowing when to rug your horse and, more importantly, which horse rug to use is really important! You especially want to keep your horse warm during wintertime.

Turnout rugs provide protection against harsh weather conditions, a fly sheet is used to eliminate annoying pests, and cooler sheets are used to remove excess moisture after training and exercise.

In this article, I will discuss some of the best horse rugs for every kind of situation.

1. Best Turnout Sheet For Summer: Horseware Mio Lite Turnout Sheet

  • Purpose: Light weather protection
  • Fabric: Lightweight, waterproof, breathable
  • Sizing: 45-84 inches

The Mio Lite Turnout Sheet is an excellent summertime turnout sheet. Its strong 600-denier polyester outer shell is waterproof, breathable and durable. It’s a fantastic rug to have, as it works well in varying temperatures.

The shine-enhancing polyester lining retains your horse’s body heat and enhances the shininess of its coat. And, the double adjustable chest straps are easy to adjust for a snug fit.

Key features:

  • Waterproof and breathable coating
  • 600-denier outer polyester shell
  • Soft lining
  • Double front closure
  • Front leg arches
  • Adjustable cross surcingles
  • Rump strap
  • Tail flap
  • No filler weight

Just make sure you have your horse measured properly to ensure your horse rug is fitted properly.

2. Best Turnout Rug For Autumn: Horseware Ireland Rambo Autumn Series Technical Turnout

  • Purpose: Weather protection
  • Fabric: Waterproof, breathable
  • Sizing: 66, 69 and 72 inches

The Horseware Ireland Rambo Autumn Series Technical Turnout Rug is a fantastic autumn lightweight turnout rug. Its waterproof and breathable fabric comes with a 100-gram lining and removable neck cover; perfect to add or remove in chilly weather.

Its 900-denier outer shell is equipped with mesh panels across the chest and shoulder areas, allowing for good circulation to prevent rubbing and overheating.

Turnout rugs keep your horse warm and dry while they are turned out in the fields, hence its name. They are typically waterproof and very durable, offering protection from rain, snow and wind. Essentially, a turnout rug is like a thick coat or horse blanket that is used in harsh weather conditions to keep your horse nice and toasty.

Key features:

  • Includes a mane and tail flap lining to prevent rubbing
  • Patented Disc-Front Closure that removes pressure from the horse’s shoulders
  • Dual Leg Arches wrap snugly to the horse’s belly but still allow for freedom of movement
  • Elasticised cross surcingles
  • Detachable hood
  • Liner loops are compatible with standard Horseware Ireland liners
  • 100-gram soft lining included

3. Best Turnout Rug For Winter: Tough1 1200D Snuggit Turnout 300g

  • Purpose: Weather protection
  • Fabric: Waterproof, breathable
  • Sizing: 54-84 inches

The Tough1 1200D Poly Snuggit Turnout Blanket is a heavyweight rug, popularamong avid equestrians, especially for those in freezing climates. The double nylon lining secures perfectly around the horse’s body. Thanks to its double-sewn reinforced stress points, this turnout rug is super durable and is not easily torn.

Shoulder gussets allow for freedom of movement and help to prevent rubbing across your horse’s shoulder blades.

Its waterproof and highly breathable coating also allows for adequate air circulation while your horse gallops about outside in the chilly winter air. The exclusive Snuggit neck cover can be adjusted with taped seams for maximum protection, while the adjustable leg straps fit snugly to prevent the rug from slipping off.

Key features:

  • 1200-denier poly, heavyweight strength
  • 300-gram Polyfil lining
  • 210-denier poly lining
  • Waterproof outer layer
  • Breathable, moisture-wicking fibres
  • Double buckle front closure with Velcro straps
  • Low cross surcingles with T-lock fasteners

4. Best Lightweight Cooler Rug: Saxon Element Net Cooler Standard Neck

  • Purpose: Removes excess moisture from the horse’s body
  • Fabric: Lightweight, breathable, moisture-wicking
  • Sizing: 48-87 inches

To give you a quick background, cooler rugs, also known as wicking or sweat rugs, prevent your horse from getting the chills after exercise. Think of them as sheets that help your horse to “cool down” after rigorous training sessions. Pretty simple, right?

These are specialised lightweight rugs with fantastic moisture-wicking properties. Meaning, they remove excess sweat and moisture from your horse’s skin. The Saxon Element Net Cooler Standard Neck Rug is one of the best lightweight options I’ve tried, made from meshed polyester fibres.

Key features:

  • Twin buckle chest fastenings
  • Double low cross surcingles
  • Tail flap
  • Netted mesh polyester fibres
  • Nylon lining
  • Lightweight
  • Waterproof and breathable

5. Best Exercise Sheet: Shires Equi-Flector Mesh Exercise Sheet

  • Purpose: Keeps horses warm during exercise
  • Fabric: Waterproof, moisture-wicking, breathable
  • Sizing: 48-60 inches

Exercise rugs, also known as quarter sheets, are used during exercise and training in cold, wet weather. They are designed to only cover the horse’s hind quarters, enabling them to still move freely.

Exercise sheets, like Shires Equi-Flector Mesh Exercise Sheet, are valuable rugs to have in your tack room. They are lightweight and their thin fleece lining keeps your horse’s muscles warm, preventing any sprains.

Another nifty thing about exercise rugs is that they’re equipped with reflective strips, which is super helpful when visibility is low!

Key features:

  • Lightweight
  • Waterproof
  • Breathable
  • Reflective strips
  • Gusseted tail flap
  • Adjustable belly straps

6. Best Stable Rug: Swish Equestrian 100g Stable Rug With Detachable Neck Cover

  • Purpose: Warmth
  • Fabric: Thick, smooth material, breathable
  • Sizing: 4’3-7’6

The Swish Equestrian 100g Stable Rug With Detachable Neck Cover is a medium-weight stable rug, used inside the stables or when in transit. Think of stable rugs as cosy blankets for your horse, much like you would curl up with a duvet at bedtime. However, they offer little in terms of waterproofing as their sole purpose is to provide warmth.

The great thing about this stable rug is that it can used with or without the detachable neck cover; perfect to remove on warmer evenings. It has a 100-gram fill, providing just the right amount of warmth to keep your horse warm on chilly days. Its breathable fibres also allow for good air circulation to prevent any overheating.

Key features:

  • Detachable neck
  • Large deep shoulder gussets with fully taped seams
  • Angled front closure system with Velcro straps
  • Cross surcingles
  • Padded tail flap
  • Adjustable fillet strap/fillet string
  • Higher shoulder and neck cover to prevent rubbing
  • Fleece lined wither pad
  • Adjustable buckle chest straps
  • Available in 50- and 200-gram filling

7. Best Fly Sheet: Horze Freja Fly Combo Sheet with Mask

  • Purpose: Fly repellant
  • Fabric: Meshed, lightweight, breathable, UV protection
  • Sizing: 63-84 inches

Every horse needs a fly sheet, especially if you live in warmer climates. The Horze Freja Fly Combo Sheet with Mask is a high-quality fly sheet and is an excellent option to go for. It’s designed to provide maximum protection against pesky flies and bugs while your horse is outdoors.

The full coverage combo set is made from durable, stretchy fabric which allows for easy movement when grazing. It includes a belly guard and tail flap and comes with a detachable neck and eyemask cover. These have adjustable double-front buckles to ensure the perfect fit, plus shoulder gussets and high gusset sand cross surcingles.

Key features:

  • Made from strong, meshed polyester fabric
  • UV-protection (UPF 50+)
  • Detachable neck
  • Belly guard with adjustable straps
  • Angled front closure system
  • Deep shoulder gussets and surcingles that attach to the belly guard
  • Soft satin lining to reduce rubbing
  • Generous tail flap
  • Leg straps
  • Removable eyemask covering with hook-and-loop straps

8. Best Sweet Itch Horse Sheet: Shires Sweet-Itch Combo

  • Purpose: If a horse suffers from sweet itch/skin sensitivity
  • Fabric: Meshed, lightweight, breathable, UV protection
  • Sizing: 69-84 inches

Fly sheets and sweet itch sheets are pretty similar in their appearance but they differ in terms of functionality. Sweet itch rugs, like Shires Sweet-Itch Combo Sheet, have been specifically designed to protect horses sufferingfrom sweet itch. This is a skin condition caused by an allergic reaction to the bites of insects (Culicoides biting midges).

This horse sheet is highly breathable and offers ample covering to the entire horse’s body, tail, face and ears. Using lightweight 600-denier fabric and reinforced with ripstop meshed fabric – a type of fabric that prevents tears from spreading – this lightweight sheet provides the best bug protection!

Key features:

  • Anti-rub lining
  • Shoulder gussets (i.e. shoulder darts)
  • Belly flap with three adjustable cross surcingles straps
  • Gusseted tail flap
  • Fillet strap
  • Adjustable double front buckles
  • Detachable neck and ear cover

Top tip: Add a pair of removable leg straps, like the Kensington Fly Boots, to your horse’s wardrobe. They’re great to use if you’re looking for maximum protection against biting critters. It integrates leg strap loops around each shin to ensure a comfy fit. The UV protection and durable polyester fabrics are also 78% air-permeable and are non-heat transferring. A brilliant add-on!

What To Consider When Buying Horse Rugs

  • Purpose: Before buying a horse rug, you need to know what it will be used for. Do you need a rug while your horse is outdoors? Or do you need one for nighttime use in the stables? Understanding what purpose your horse rug will be used for will already solve half the problem.
  • Material: Next, you need to consider the climate you live in. This will determine which fabric to go for. For example, a thicker heavy-duty turnout rug is needed in colder climates, as opposed to lightweight turnout rugs in hotter regions.
  • Fit: A well-fitted rug is important to ensure your horse is comfortable. It should cover the horse from the base to the tail without being too tight or too loose. Check that the chest, withers, and shoulders can move freely, especially when your horse is lying down.
  • Maintenance: Opt for fabrics that are tear-resistant and easy to clean. Durable materials, such as ripstop, are great options to go with. They may cost a bit more but are great value for money.


What is the best horse rug to buy on a budget?

When looking to get the most bang for your buck, a combo or combination rug is a good option to go for. Shires Highlander Original 300 Combo Turnout Rug is a popular heavyweight combo rug to use.

It offers excellent versatility, combining the features of both a turnout rug and neck covering in a single garment. This versatile rug can be for indoor or outdoor use. With the option to “layer up” the rug with additional inner linings, leg straps and tail flaps, this combo rug is great to have!

What types of cooler rugs are there?

There are three variations of cooler rugs, namely:

  1. Lightweight summer coolers: Used in warmer weather (i.e. summer).
  2. Waffle coolers: These are slightly thicker – when compared to thinner cooler rugs – and have a waffle-styled design. They’re best to use during spring and autumn time.
  3. Fleece coolers: Also known as fleece rugs, this is the thickest of the three, predominantly used in winter when temperatures are very low.

What is the main purpose of a turnout rug?

A turnout rug is used outdoors when horses are turned out in the fields. They protect horses from harsh weather conditions like rain, wind and sun. These are good to use if you have a clipped horse to provide the ultimate comfort.

What is the purpose of neck pads?

Neck pads are designed to complement horse rugs by providing extra protection or coverage to the horse’s neck area. They help protect the neck from exposure to harsh weather conditions. These are particularly helpful to use if your horse has sensitive skin or if your horse has been clipped.

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