The best exercise sheets for horses are designed to keep a clipped horse’s back warm on a cold winter day while they are warming up or cooling down under saddle, or while out hacking. Some sheets are waterproof, which makes them very versatile, especially if you don’t have an indoor school to escape in to on wet days (!), while many are designed so they can fit around (instead of under) the saddle. This makes them easy to take on and off, thanks to Velcro fastenings over the withers, without needing to remove the saddle. Many of these wrap around exercise sheets are cut back at the front so they do not impede the rider’s leg aids.
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Horse & Hound has been working with a number of professional riders, trainers and yards to put a range of products to the test in a busy yard environment. And here are the results…
Meet the product tester
The exercise sheets in this group test were trialled by Tamsin Addison and her team. Tamsin beat bone cancer at the age of 21 and become the first person in the world to re-grow the humerus bone in her upper arm. She has competed up to CCI** eventing, but now rides for Ireland in para dressage.
Horse & Hound’s pick of the best exercise sheets for horses 2018
* BEST IN TEST & BEST VALUE *
“This rug is amazing. It fits very well and doesn’t move during a long schooling session or very long hack. It is also very waterproof, easy to get on and off and fits very well. This rug was the most popular among our team, plus for its quality and performance it is very good value for money. A great waterproof exercise sheet that I would whole heartedly recommend to others.”
“This rug looks very good on a horse and its wicking properties are great. We found this fabulous for working in at shows, but given its price we were concerned that it might snag easily when out hacking, as we have lots of off-road woods and paths. While being warms and technical, it wasn’t great with a close contact monoflap saddle as the material was very slippy to ride directly on, but it’s a good choice for those with a traditional dual flap saddle.”
“This rug was very popular for use while schooling indoors as it is light weight and fitted well. But I dislike how high the fillet string is positioned – it makes it difficult to put on young or sensitive horses. Also because of the high fillet string, the bottom quarters of rug were not held down and so flapped in the wind. A good choice if you spend a lot of time riding indoors, or are on a tight budget, but less suitable for outdoor riding.”
“The fabric proved to be very stiff when used and didn’t move well with the horse, although it was very waterproof. It also made a very noisy rustling sound, which made it a tough challenge for young horses not used to wearing exercise sheets. This exercise rug was waterproof and warm, but I wouldn’t chose it for a young, green horse.”
“We found the animal print a bit garish and so it wasn’t a very popular choice, especially for those going out hacking, but there are lots of other colour options available. There were some concerns about the fit across the horse’s back as it wasn’t tailored to the horse’s shape as some of the others on test and therefore didn’t sit naturally. But it is a reasonable priced product and does a good enough job.”
Horse & Hound is in the process of testing a wide range of equestrian kit, clothing and equipment, the results of which will be published on HorseandHound.co.uk
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