Find the perfect fit: how to measure your horse for a new rug
Learning how to measure for a horse rug should be your first port of call if you’re updating your horse or pony’s wardrobe. Whether you’re shopping for a fresh new turnout rug or a cosy stable rug for those chilly winter evenings, or you have your eye on a smart new fleece, it is essential to select the correct size.
Buying a rug in the wrong size can be dangerous for your horse, as well as uncomfortable, and of course it means the rug may not be able to do its job correctly. So always take the time to check how to measure for a horse rug before investing – your horse, and your wallet, will thank you.
Horse rug sizing
In the UK, rug sizes go up in three-inch intervals, from as small as 3ft or 3’3 for mini ponies, to 7ft or even larger. This does mean that your horse’s measurements may not fit a certain rug size exactly. If your horse does fall in between sizes, it’s best to check with the particular brand of rug whether they would suggest sizing up or down. For example, Ponyo Horsewear rugs are generously cut, so it is recommended to size down if your horse is in between.
How to measure for a horse rug
In the UK, a horse’s body length measurement is used to determine its rug size. When you’re ready to measure your horse, make sure he is clean and ideally standing on a hard, level surface. Fetch a long, soft measuring tape and consider enlisting a handy helper – measuring accurately can be a two-person job. Measure your horse from the centre of his chest round the furthest point of the hind quarters, level with his tail. Make sure your tape takes in the widest point of the shoulder.
While body length is used to measure for horse rugs in the UK, you may find that European rugs are sized using the back seam measurement. This involves running your tape along the top of your horse’s back from the wither to the top of his tail. Unlike the body length measurement taken from the centre of the chest, this method does not take into account the horse’s width, which is an important consideration when shopping for a new rug.
Of course, if your horse already has a well-fitting rug, you could also lay out that rug on a hard, level surface and measure it from the centre of the chest to the back end to help work out the size.
Consult our handy size guide below to match up the measurement with the correct size rug for your horse.
Fitting a horse rug
When your lovely new rug arrives, it can be tempting to rip out the labels and throw it straight on your horse to see how smart he looks. But take the time to fit it properly first – and always check the brand’s returns and refund policy too, just in case.
Make sure your horse is clean and dry, and free from loose hair, before you try on the new rug. You may want to pop on a clean sheet on him first, to be sure. Leave all the labels attached to the rug then put it on carefully, doing up the chest fastening first, followed by the surcingles, then any leg straps. These might need adjusting. If the rug comes with a neck, attach this once the rest of the rug is in place.
Make sure you can slide your hand comfortably under the neck of the rug, and over the withers. You should also be able to fit a hand’s width between the surcingles and the horse’s belly, as well as between the leg straps and the horse’s thigh. Check the top of the tail flap reaches the top of the tail, but doesn’t hang below it.
Once you’re happy with the fit of your new rug, you can snip off the labels and let your horse show off his snazzy new outfit. Don’t forget to snap a photo for Instagram first though!