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Why Waterproofing In Turnout Horse Rugs Varies So Much?

Posted by Caribu Team on August 8, 2019

We hear many nightmare stories of synthetic horse rugs that just don’t perform and leak like a sieve. In many cases they are  often leading brands that they have paid big $$ for.

Synthetic denier gets its waterproofing from the membrane that lines the underside of the fabric - not from the fabric itself. Waterproof synthetic horse rugs use a chemically treated membrane, on the underside of the  denier.  This membrane  prevents water molecules passing through the fibres, while allowing vapor (which is smaller) to pass out through the membrane.   A good quality fabric will not leak & provide good breathability.

However cheaper Chinese imitations are flooding the market & in many cases both the fabric and the membrane may not be breathable & the waterproofing questionable with the polymer deteriorating quickly in our climate.

For any turnout horse rug to keep your horse comfortable on the inside, both the outer fabric and the lining should also be breathable - because even in cold conditions, your horse will perspire and if a garment does not have sufficient breathability, the moisture (from perspiration) and difference in outside/inside air temperature, will build up as condensation on the inside of the rug.

How can I check if my denier is still waterproof or breathable?

Your synthetic denier gets its waterproofing from the membrane that lines the underside of the fabric - not from the fabric itself. Once the membrane is damaged, you can’t reseal like you can with canvas.

If you have an unlined denier rain sheet horse rug, you can see the underside of the denier thru the can-can lining. If you hold the rug up to the sun and look up from the underside – you will see the thousands of little pins holes of light  these are the waterproof pores in the fabric that give the rug its breathability. The waterproof membrane ensures the holes are smaller than a water molecule – so water cannot enter the rug. To cut costs - many cheaper denier fabrics are not breathable.

To check waterproofing in a horse rug is easy.

The best way to check you horse rug is waterproof, is to use a sink or large tub, lay the rug over the top and create a small indent with the denier - ensure you choose an area of the rug with no fittings or seams. Then pour a glass or  three,  of water into the indent and allow the water to pool. The denier should hold the water and not allow any seepage to the inside.


Waterproof Fabric
Its easy to test waterproofing

At Caribu our fabrics are made especially to our requirements and we have used the same leading manufacturer for over 8 years! Are synthetic horse rugs are high quality & rated to pass a hydrostatic head test of 3000MM - more than twice the minimum requirements, & a breathability rating of at least 3000gr/m2/per24hrs.


Read Our Waterproofing and breathability guide for more information.