Rugging your horse - how to tell if they are comfortable? Depending on the time of year, it can be a challenge to know if you are under rugging or over rugging your horse. Especially if it’s a new horse or an older horse.
How can you tell when you've chosen the wrong time or the wrong rug and it's just not doing its job? Unfortunately, horses will not speak up and say - Please take off this rug. However, as you know, horses do communicate. Here are a few signs that they're too hot, too cold or just simply irritated with a particular rug.
Signs your horse is too cold
Rugging in cold weather can save a lot on your feed bill – not to mention keep your best mate comfortable. Common signs of your horse being too cold are:
- Shivering. Horses, like people, shiver when they're cold. If your horse is shivering and is clearly uncomfortable, then she's probably too cold.
- A tucked tail can also indicate that a horse is trying to warm up. To confirm, spot-check her body temperature.
- Direct touch is a good way to tell how cold a horse is. Place your hand up under the horse's rug and feel his shoulders and chest area you can get a quick indication of body warmth. Many people recommend feeling behind the ears or if the horse is wet check around the horse's kidneys. A horse's kidneys are on either side of her back, behind where a saddle would be placed. Check these areas regularly as you add and remove layers and you will soon learn where the comfort zone is.
Signs your horse is too warm.
You usually rug your horse in the summer to reduce sun fading and keep off insects that can annoy them.
Signs they are too hot:
- Wet behind the ears. When a horse has sweat behind her ears or along her neck, it means she's too warm. Is time to remove the rug or use a cooler style of horse rug.
- Breathing heavily. If a horse is breathing heavily and it's not from exertion, then she's probably overheating. Please note that while horses sweat when they're a bit too warm, they're unusually dry when they're dangerously hot. A lack of sweat can be a sign of overheating. If you notice that your horse is both hot and dry, then take the rug off and make sure she has access to plenty of water.
- Look for signs of listlessness and lethargy and a lowered head.
- Sweating under the horse rug. Be especially careful to avoid situations where your horse is sweating under her horse rug. It can cause blisters, skin problems and discomfort. Make sure that when the nights are cold and the days are sunny, you remove the rug early in the morning, before the horse becomes uncomfortable in the warmer daytime temperatures.