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Most rugs are cut fairly high over the wither to eliminate rubbing and pressure around the wither and chest. Darts, shaping and lightweight, flexible fabrics now ensure a good fit that stays in the right place, so it’s worth shopping around forone that’s the most exact shape for your horse.

Shoulder vents are a good idea for horses who tend to charge around in the field, and it’s wise to look for enough depth to come below the horse’s belly. You may want a design you can wrap-round underneath and fasten snugly, especially in stable rugs where less movement is required.

Many turnout rugs claim to be self-righting, and indeed many are, but much depends on the cut and fit for this to work. Again, it’s important to find one that really suits your horse’s size and shape – make sure all darts are in the right place and leg straps are at a comfortable height.

Fitting

The principal measurements are:

  • A-B (withers to dock, following thecontours of the horse’s back).
  • C-D (centre of chest to quarters, in as straight a line as possible).|

Depth is important and you may also need A-C (withers to centre of chest) and to take height and shape into account.

In theory, all sizings are the same, but in practice the cut may vary from brand to brand so shop around for the one that fits your horse best. Alternatively, you could have one made to measure for a small extra cost from a company such as Lansdown.

Rug sizes are usually manufactured in three-inch increments. When giving your horse’s measurements, some manufacturers advise you to allow an extra three inches for well-built horses, while Fal recommends going down a size for its stable rugs ifyou haven’t used them before as their cut is very generous.