View Full Version : Over rugging

26-03-03, 04:16 AM
This is no doubt a very covered subject. However, a woman i know leaves lined canvas rugs on constantly unless the weather report says that it is going to be over 30 degrees. I have taken her horses rugs off to find she had a woollen under rug on as well, on a 26 degree day and her horse was dripping with sweat. To make matters worse she had only left the horse with a small amount of water (I have found her horses like this several times). Could this possibly be good for a horse? Am i wrong in thinking that this is a form of cruelty?

26-03-03, 04:52 AM
It is so hard at this time of the year with rugging. The nights are so cold and sometimes the mornings then it gets warm at lunch or after. I work in Canberra but live an hour away and often the weather is either colder in Canberra etc or wet which stresses me out if the horse is/isn't rugged!

26-03-03, 05:04 AM
My own personal thoughts on this. I would rather under rug than over rug. Came home from work yesterday to find my boy was a teeny bit sweaty under his canvas and felt really bad that he had to wear a warmish, waterproof rug in a sunny day. Today he is in his undies (cottons lolol).

Horses should NEVER be left without water - especially when the weather is warm.

I would not say this is a form or cruelty but I, like you, would be very concerned.

26-03-03, 05:31 AM
One of the things that a lot of showies (and other people who use too many rugs) is that through over - rugging and stressing the horse's cooling system can contribute to the condition of anhydrosis where the horse is no longer able to sweat and he / she has to resort to puffing to cool their bodies. Over rugging is cruel and for the sake of your horses health under rug rather than over rug. I live in sunny Queensland and I have seen many horses develop this condition particularly in the tropics where the humidity is great.

I show horses and our two mares have vastly different rugging requirements. They are both stabled at night and the riding pony mare wears her "undies" and a lined canvas at night when it is under about 17 degrees, the other mare is thoroughbred and she wears her undies only until the temp gets to about 12 degrees and then I put an unlined light canvas rug on - and sometimes she is sweating when I put her out at about 6.30 am. The general rule of thumb when rugging is to feel over the horses rump (under the rugs) and if they are comfortably warm (not hot) they should have enough rugs on.

26-03-03, 05:46 AM
I myself would rather under-rug than over-rug, i feel that i would rather ere on the side of caution when it comes to rugging than having them sweaty under their rugs.
In my own personal opinion to have a lined canvas rug on a horse during the hotter months and not take it off until it gets above 30 is cruelty. It's plain ignorance, and i can't comprehend why someone would feel the need to do this. That combined with the fact they sometimes have very little water to me spells out that she doesn't have a clue with what she's doing. To have a lined canvas combined with a woolen on a sunny 26 day is in my book stupidity. I don't think theres any excuse for that.
It seems to be (and i am by no means saying their the only ones) that the showies that i personally know all over rug compared to the other riders that i know. Their horses always have piles of rugs on, even during the summer months.
At this time of year it's hard to rug to suit the weather, its warm during the day but cold at night. I personally dont rug my boy unless the temp is going to be 12 or under at night, then it gets put on late evening and taken off first thing in the morning.
I think it depends on your horse and whether or not you have a horse that gets cold easily, mine doesn't so to have a rug on him during the day at the moment wouldn't be fair on him.
But i would always rather under-rug than over-rug.

26-03-03, 05:53 AM
It is CRUEL... but she probably thinks like most that her horse will be ok and it isn't real hot anyway. As the saying goes "Cruel to be Kind" some people just don't realise.
So what happens to the sweat dripped rugs anyway, are they aired to dry out or does the poor horse has to put up with a damp rug during the cold night ? Now that is asking for trouble !!
I personally don't rug my horses in very hot weather and even try to avoid rugging them in winter. Horses are adaptable to all weather, but once we interfere thats when problems start.
Is this persona approachable? She should be grateful that you have taken the time to look after her horse when obviously she can't, maybe she doesn't realise she is endangering her horse well being.


26-03-03, 06:56 AM
Yes I agree it is cruel.

Can you imagine being out in the sun on a 26 degree day wearing a lined dry as a bone done up to the top, with no way out. This is what it must feel like for a horse that is stuck in it's rugs. Add to that a big wolley jumper underneath the dry as a bone, and hey presto you are now in the same boat as over rugged horse!.

I am constantly amazed at the amount of rugs I see showies pull off their horses, it is a little bit like peeling an onion as far as I can see with some of them.

I do agree that the weather at the moment, particularly where I am (VIC)is hard to read. For example yesterday morning it was freezing with a "pea souper" of a fog so I left lined canvas rugs on my two, I also dressed for winter may I add. By lunch time the sun was cracking the flags!. I was hot, and I guess the neds were too. Fortunately I have a lot of shade so that is where they would have been. When I got home, they were warm, but not sweating. This is I think due to the fact that canvas does "breath" better than some of the synthetic rugs, and is one reason I stayed with canvas.

In deepest darkest winter the only horse that has two rugs on it my TB, and her second rug is only a bush blanket type of thing, they also wear polartec neck rugs, and both are happy as larry. My two year old WB has never been rugged in her life and grows a coat like a bear, and is also fat and furry all winter (and most of summer).

I just think it is a real shame to see horses under wraps in the lovely weather we get in this country.

Just my thoughts.....
SL :-).

26-03-03, 07:47 AM
I know people who over rug their horses to the point of making me sick. In weather for shorts and tee shirts their horses have cottons, wollen rug and HOOD and heavy lined canvases. It makes me feel ill just thinking about it. And all 'to keep their coats'. Awful, the tempreture would be into the early 30's and they still have these rugs on.

26-03-03, 03:33 PM
and then they winge about the vet fees 'cause the darn horse don't sweat no more..................LOL :P

26-03-03, 03:46 PM
Farout people are nuts. I'm always worrying about my horse being over rugged. I rang my friend 3 times yesteday to make sure it was getting too hot and my horse only had an unlined highlander on. I've only had it for a couple of weeks and I'm not overly happy. The slightest bit of sun and they start sweating. Besides what is the point of over rugging I thought its the light which stops them getting too hairy, assuming that is the reason people do. I hate this in between weather, but I would far rather see my horse shivering a little than be sweating and dehydrated!

26-03-03, 04:49 PM
Despite the fact that my business is making and selling horse rugs, my pet hate is over rugging. I advise people when considering their rug purchase, to err on the side of caution.

AGA, if you friend's horses are sweating when the rugs come off, then they are definately over rugged! If your friend is doing this to prevent the horse growing a long coat, then she is wasting her time and money, and putting her horse at risk as well. Perhaps you could gently point out that sweat is nearly as damaging to the horse's coat as UV, not to mention the higher risk of fungal infections to say the least!

Having said that though, there is a huge range of tolerance in regards to horses that will tolerate warmer rugging or not. Obviously this horse cannot tolerate these 'winter' rugs on hot days. Not many do. I have 7 horses at home, 6 of them are rugged during winter, 4 during the past summer (2 for coat protection from UV, 2 for insect/heat protection).

Of these 6 horses, two of them I describe as 'hot' horses (by that I mean that they will sweat easily when over rugged compared to the others). One is a TB mare, the other a stockhorseX mare. My other TB mare I would term 'average'. My part-arab 19yo gelding is the coolest, followed closely by the 2yo warmbloodxTB filly.

The 'hot' TB mare (who has a very laid back personality!), is currently wearing a canvas which is lined with a heavy duty cotton drill instead of blanket, alternating on warmer days with a much cooler shadecloth rug to protect her from the march flies. The stockhorse mare is wearing nothing at the moment (warm days, cold nights but not windy, so she can cope very well), and will go into a lined winter canvas when the weather turns colder and windy. The gelding on the other hand, WANTS to have his lined canvas put on at night, and won't eat his hay until I do! He wears this over his shadecloth combo, and his temperature is very well regulated with this combination - even today he didn't raise a sweat and we got to about 30 here. However, the same rugs on the hot TB mare would have put her into meltdown. So each horse has to be evaluated on its own merits and tolerances as to what is the 'correct' level of rugging (or unrugging for that matter!).

A really good indication for deciding if they are warm enough in their rugs in cold weather, is to feel their ears. If the ears are cold, they could do with warmer rugs, if the ears are nice and warm, then horse should be toasty, but take care that they don't get sweaty! It's not good for the horse or the rugs!

IMHO, the reasons for rugging a horse during summer, are to: protect them from insects, protect the coat from UV, keep the coat clean, and show/event preparation. Over rugging at this time of year does NOT prevent the horse from growing a winter coat, it will only help to lay the coat flat, so the horse doesn't get a 'fluffy' coat. Keeping them warm at night may be helpful in reducing the amount of coat that they grow, by keeping the core temperature slightly warmer than it would be otherwise, but rugging them to the point of them dripping sweat is most definately detrimental to their health.

Sorry for the lengthy post!



27-03-03, 02:13 AM
I must admit I've been accused of over rugging my horse ... but he is not a "hot" horse, and is clipped in winter so wears many onion layers (which are changed each day depending on the weather) and never sweats when rugged ... but he is also totally unrugged over summer ... My other horse is a "hot" horse, I've never seen a horse get so hot under so few rugs ... during winter he can only wear a light rug otherwise he sweats! If he is in the stable he can't even wear a cotton rug. Totally different horses!

I must also admit that I've been caught out occasionally by the weather changing ... you've got to make the best guess based on the weather report and what you see first thing in the morning. I'm an avid weather watcher!

One of my personal pet-peeves is tail bags on during summer ... a horses tail is there to swat at flies, it can't do that with a bag on it (and yes, I own a grey and know what is involved in keeping the tail clean! He only wears his when it is truly muddy in winter or before competitions)

The WORST case of over rugging I've ever seen was recently at a friend's agistment place ... a 5 month old FOAL ... in ... cottons, with hood, plus canvas and woollen rugs ... it's a little baby! WHY rug a foal?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!

27-03-03, 02:52 AM

I've always been an under rugger i suppose. I didn't rug at all until i had to move my horses into agistment and all the other horses were rugged leaving mine looking like poor neglected soles... so i went with the flow and bought rugs for them. My TB needs rugs in winter because he has arthritis, but apart from that the others all seem pretty happy without and grow great fluffy coats. I might use this post to slip in a question though......

My anglo arab has had an aweful flu for the last 3 weeks that has cost me bucket loads in vet consultations, penicilin injections and antibiotic oral powder (he had 2 strains of a virus one which was resistent to the powder, and one which was resistant to the injections). The vet said it was most likely caused by the varying temperatures, cold at night and hot during the day... I asked if i should start rugging him at night, and she said it would be a good idea. Unfortunately i don't live out with my horses, so i can't take rugs on and off morning and night. My question is... do you think that he will be suseptable to problems caused by temperature change in the future? Should he become a horse that is rugged through Autumn and Winter every year. Should i invest in a quality breathable rug that he can wear in the autumn and spring months? I just don't know. In the past i've only rugged him with a lined canvas in the colder months of winter. Any advise would be great.

27-03-03, 04:47 AM
My TB is a 'hot' horse and sweats up under rugs easily.I err on the side of caution and lightly rug him. He will sweat under very light cottons in summer but because of insects he needs to be rugged.

I cant stand these people who over rug - not to mention the warmth can you imagine carrying around all the extra weight in the heat - too silly.

27-03-03, 06:00 AM
I live in NQ and have a show this weekend and have a ligt rug on my grey to keep him clean... i feel terrible even having the one on but he is a grub!!! Up here I only need to use the really light rugs even in winter we really only need a basic canvas with thin lining. Only one other horse I have is rugged all year round and that is only because she hates the flies and mozzies and we only have one of those shadecloth fly protecter type rugs on.

My dad is terrible though, the first hint on rain (which is rare!!!) and he wants to race down and put all the rugs on them. I always say they probably appreciate the shower after tha hot dusty weather we usually have!! And I hate the thought of them cooking the next day once the rain has gone!!!

Agent 86
27-03-03, 07:07 AM
We all know that adding rugs doesn't stop a coat from coming through. The only way to stop that is extra hours of light- keep summer going. And even when you have stopped the coat by using lights, it still has to come through at some time.

I guess some horses have good coats that hold longer and some (like my horse) sprout their winter coat (inches think- no good for the showring) on the first day of March.

Adding more rugs on only causes the horse to sweat and you know what its like when your hot and sweat, and then when you cool off, you get colder....

Plus over rugging is the one of the best ways to not only kill a coat- in terms of over rugging a clipped horse, but also take weight off aswell. Who wants to be a show person in Autumn?