Rain Sheets: More harm than good?

October is one of those months where I don't know if I should rug up the horses or not. Most days start off really chilly but are warm by lunchtime, only for the temperature to drop again before nightfall. I just don't have the time (or patience!) to be switching and changing their rugs every time there is a slight temperature change.

I normally end up leaving them naked and letting them develop a good, thick winter coat. They're all still living out so have plenty of grass to keep them going. Although I seem to be only one of a few doing this, everyone else seems to have been rugging up for the past month!

The popularity of rain sheets has skyrocketed over the past few years. These sound great as they promise to keep the horse clean and provide a bit of protection from the cold but not quite thick enough that they get too warm. Exactly what you want for the changeable weather this time of year!

When kept out without a rug, horses will keep warm by fluffing up their coat which allows warm air to be trapped between their skin and the outside cold. This is why horses can sometimes be seen covered in snow, but still feel warm. Rugging them up flattens these hairs, thus preventing them from forming their insulating warm layer or air.

So while a rain sheet may be beneficial for keeping them dry and clean it can actually cause a horse to get cold. A good compromise is a 50g or 100g rug. These are light enough to act like a rain sheet but the filling provides a little bit of warmth, replacing what their body would normally do!

Liath modelling her Horseware Optimo Rug

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