Static electricity is one of the minor hazards involved with horse rugging and horse care in general. As a horse owner, you will probably notice that static shocks seem to be more of a problem on dry days, at least compared to humid days. Having more water vapor in the air can ease some of the problems with static electricity. The shocks that you and your horse feel are caused by electrons. Water famously conducts electricity very efficiently. In this case, water vapor provides a conduit through which electrons can find charged objects that need more electrons, as opposed to causing the sparks that we associate with static electricity. Otherwise, static charges can accumulate.
Cold air does not retain moisture as well as warmer air, so there is a correlation between colder weather and increased static electricity problems. You may have more static electricity issues during the winter. There are also going to be daily variations in humidity levels that can make a noticeable difference. Some climates will tend to have more humidity than others in general. Your exact location may influence the amount of static shocks that you are and your horse will have to cope with on a regular basis. Different horses will have different responses to static shocks. Some horse may get used to them, but other horses may become steadily more wary of grooming and horse rugging as a result of repeated shocks.
Many horse owners have developed different strategies for avoiding static with horse rugging. There are plenty of home remedies out there for you to try, many of which involve treating the horse rug itself. Applying a dusting of baby powder directly to the underside of the horse rug and rubbing off the excess powder so it doesn't show up on your horse has helped some horse owners decrease static electricity.
Your choice of horse rugs may also be a factor with static electricity. For instance, you may find that polar fleece horse rugs are worse than others when it comes to static shock. Interestingly, some horse owners have had more luck with wool horse rugs and horse rugs made from blends that have higher ratios of natural fibers. But as many will confirm, even using 100% cotton rugs – doesn’t resolve the issue in many cases.
What many people don’t consider is that they themselves may be part of the issue. You will find that the clothes you wear will affect the amount of static shock you and your horse will receive. Wearing a cotton jacket or sweater may be preferable to wearing something made from synthetic fabric.
You may also lessen your own body's static charge by touching a metal gate or something else large and metallic before coming in contact with your horse.