What is a horse rug? Types of rugs, materials they are made of

Eskadron horse rug

A rug is one of the essential elements of a horse’s equipment. If you have this pet, you need to know what a rug is, all kinds of its types, and how to match them to the circumstances your horse needs to face. What exactly is a rug and when to use a certain kind of it? We will give you some advice in this article.

What is a horse rug?

Putting is as simple as we can, a rug is outerwear for the horse that goes over his back and croup and has a particular goal depending on its type (we will discuss the basic ones below). The essential task of a rug is to prevent a sudden change of the horse’s body temperature that could be caused by differences between the horse’s temperature and air temperature.

A rug is attached with special straps that wrap the horse’s belly and prevent it from shifting or falling. There are rugs without straps – they most often come with the so-called rubber surcingle – a separate strap that allows you for exactly the same, namely safe attachment of this accessory to the horse’s back. In a stable environment, people often lose the strap altogether.

Main types of rugs – overview

Rugs are produced accordingly to the horse’s needs in the department of safety and living comfort. There are many types and each has a slightly different use. Below, we present the most popular kinds at the same time noting that they are not the only ones available on the market. Choosing one of them should be based on your own expectations – it is, however, always good to discuss a potential purchase with a professional equestrian store’s employee.

Fleece rug

Eskadron Classic Sports Summer 2020 fleece rug

It is the basic element of every horse owner’s equipment. It perfectly maintains heat and can dry the horse after a training session. A good fleece rug will drain the heat and sweat to the outside, providing the horse with optimal body temperature.

Training rug

Example of Busse traning rug, so-called excercise sheet

Also called a half-rug, it does not cover the whole horse’s body but mostly his croup and a bit of a saddle (or goes under the saddle). It comes in many forms – a training rug can be made of fleece (for shaven horses), it can be reflective (useful for field trips), or waterproof (irreplaceable during unfavorable weather). Everything depends on the conditions you will have for training and what a training session would demand from you and the horse.

Paddock rug

Horse in turnout / paddock rug

On the outside, it is made of durable and waterproof material, as it has to do its job even in harsh conditions outside. On the bottom, it is usually lined with fleece that provides proper temperature for the horse, at the same time draining sweat away from his body. A paddock rug cannot restrict the horse’s range of movements while lying stably on his back. It is the most important kind of rug, as you put it on your beloved pet when you go outside to the paddock or enclosure. It should be perfectly fitted to the horse’s dimensions so that it is always comfortable – squeezing is absolutely unacceptable.

Stable rug

Horse in Eskadron stable rug

A stable rug, as the name suggests, was made for horses to be worn inside. You can buy it in two versions: a thin or a thick one. The thick one should protect your horse on the worst frost – especially if you shave your horse so that he is devoid of his natural protective hair layer. Thin rugs also keep warm but not as much as thick ones – however, they still play a protective role. While thinner rugs usually come without fastening, the thicker ones require them so that they do not fall off the horse’s back.

Rain / fly rug

Busse mesh anti-fly rug

Besides the rugs mentioned above, the market offers less popular kinds of rugs, which still have very sensible uses. We mean rain rugs and anti-fly rugs. Rain rugs are made of waterproof material for horses that stay outside while it is raining. Their thickness can vary and their use is very vast. Fly rugs are made of special mesh material that successfully hinders the insects’ way to get to the horse, while not causing the horse to sweat.


If you have a horse, you need to bear in mind that you must not only provide him with a safe and properly-adapted place to live but also guarantee accessories that would help you keep him healthy and in good shape. One of such accessories is a horse rug, which you should have at least a few – so that your horse is always comfortable, despite the conditions he has to face.

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