Are you looking for a new sweat rug for your horse? But you are still not sure about the selection, especially about the size of the blanket? Then here are a few tips for you that we hope will help you.
Everyone knows the feeling: You need something new for your horse, but the choice is huge. You are unsure about quality, size, additional details, functionality, the different prices.
Choosing the right cooler for your horse is certainly not easy. In any case, it should fit perfectly and if possible also look good. Certainly you also have demands on the material so that the blanket fulfills its function and lasts as long as possible.
We have therefore put together a few tips on the subject of sweat rugs, which we hope will help you with your selection.
What function should a sweat blanket fulfill?
- Before riding: To keep your muscles warm - especially in winter - you should definitely put on a sweat blanket. This is especially true if the horse is covered or even clipped in winter. When warming up at a walk, you can put the blanket over the saddle and crest to keep your horse warm. And if it gets really cold in the stable, you can keep yourself nice and warm with the sweat blanket.
- After riding: For drying the horse's coat when your horse has sweated after training or a long ride. The sweat blanket should absorb the moisture from the fur and then transport it to the outside as a vapor. It is important that the moisture is quickly released to the outside, ie that the moisture from the fur is quickly passed on to the outer surface of the blanket, where it then evaporates. This is to prevent the muscles from cooling down too much.
- During transport: A sweat blanket is often used when transporting horses. Since the blankets are usually very breathable, they are well suited as transport blankets. Of course, special attention should be paid to a good fit of the blanket. A cross surcingle and a tail strap are definitely safer.
How to find the right sweat rug:
1. Size of the sweat rug
Since the right size in particular is not easy to decide, we would like to give you an overview here so that the blanket fits your horse perfectly. If you want to find out the right size for your sweat rug, you should proceed as follows:
The back length of your horse is decisive. (But the overall cut of the sweat blanket in the chest, neck and shoulder area is also important.) Measure your horse from the back to the base of the tail. To do this, place a measuring tape in front of the withers. With this measurement you can then look at the manufacturer's size charts. But beware: Depending on the manufacturer, the sizes of the sweat blankets can vary. In any case, you should be able to try the blanket on your horse and exchange it for a different size. A sweat blanket should be chosen slightly larger than too small.
- Chest and abdominal straps:
Before buying a sweat rug, you should be clear about whether your rug should have chest and abdominal straps and/or a tail strap. The blanket has a good hold and does not slip thanks to the chest fastener and cross surcingles. You might also choose a blanket with detachable straps. A cross surcingle on the stomach should then be buckled in such a way that it gives your horse enough room to move but there is also no risk of your horse getting caught in the straps. The rule of thumb for the distance here is: a hand’s width apart.
- select material
Fleece: Most sweat rugs are made of fleece fabric. (Don't confuse it with fleece, which is pronounced the same way.) Fleece is typically made from polyester or recycled polyester. But there are also fleeces made of cotton, wool or fiber blends. Fleece has a cozy, slightly roughened surface. In the manufacture of this fabric, small loops of fiber are cut open and then napped. This gives the fleece fabric its soft structure. The fabric absorbs liquids quickly and has a warming effect. Moisture is absorbed from the coat and the horse's muscles are protected from cooling down. Since the moisture is quickly transported to the outside of the fleece blanket where it evaporates, these blankets dry quickly again. Of course, whether a fleece blanket is sustainable depends on its fiber. Buy eco-friendly fleece products made from recycled polyester, organic cotton or certified wool.
Terry cloth: sweat blankets made of terry cloth were popular some time ago, but are hardly available today. Although it absorbs moisture very well, it also takes a long time to dry and does not wick the moisture away. This means that the blanket is too wet and cold on the horse's back and cools down the horse's muscles too much.
Wool: Fabrics made of pure wool are also used as sweat blankets. But they also take longer to dry and unfortunately like to attract moths. Therefore it is difficult to keep them in the barn.
Tips for using a sweat blanket
Here we have put together a few tips that you should consider when using your sweat rug.
- Your horse should wear their sweat rug for about 15 to 20 minutes after training.
- In the evening you should definitely take off your horse's sweat blanket, otherwise the moisture will be released from the blanket back to your horse's coat.
- If you need a sweat rug that won't slip, you should use a rug with an integrated abdominal strap (cross surcingles) - or you can get a separate strap to attach the rug. A tail strap would also be important here.
- If your horse is in an open stable or in a box with an adjoining paddock and has to go outside again after riding, the use of a sweat blanket is of course problematic, especially in bad weather. The blanket would immediately soak up rain or snow. In this case, a waterproof sweat blanket, a rain blanket with a sweat function, would make more sense. However, this must then have a high level of breathability.
Pay attention to the sustainability of your sweat blanket:
There are already a number of equestrian sports labels that offer sustainable sweat rugs made of environmentally friendly materials such as recycled polyester and have them produced sustainably with short, transparent supply chains in Europe. For example, take a look at our sweat blanket in the Hoofment online shop: https://hoofment.de/collections/kollektion/products/graue-abschwitzdecke
But for us, “sustainable” also means that the products are used sustainably. If you treat and care for the sweat rug properly, you will also ensure that your sweat rug lasts a long time and is therefore more sustainable. Pay attention to the manufacturer's care instructions, store your blankets correctly, repair damage immediately and use them appropriately (if possible, don't let the horse roll around with them...).
The choice is great. But maybe we could help you a bit with our tips in your search for the perfect cooler for your horse. :)