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Why do I need a Cooler Rug?

Zwei Isländer im Winter mit Abschwitzdecke

Do I really need a sweat rug? This is a question many horse owners ask themselves as soon as the cold season begins. We would like to give you a few reasons why a sweat rug is indispensable, especially in winter.

As soon as the days get shorter, the winter coat starts to grow on our horses. The thick coat is important because it warms the horses in the cold season and protects them from moisture.

If you continue to train your horse as usual, you will notice that he will sweat more because of his thick coat. The more coat he gets, the longer it takes for him to dry out. (Click here for more information on Heat Regulation and Sweating in Horses.) If you now put your soaking wet horse back into the paddock in winter, where there might still be a cold wind blowing, it will start to freeze despite - or in this case because of - its thick plush coat. Muscle tension is also possible.

Why is that?

In the Photo: Veronika Kieslinger

The horse's top coat is surrounded by an oily secretion that provides a water-repellent layer of grease in the coat and serves as insulation. In this way, the thick soft wool hairs that grow under the topcoat and keep your horse warm, and the skin, stay dry.

If your horse sweats during training, the coat does not get wet from above, but from below. The skins sweat will stick the undercoat and the protective outer coat togehter. The result: the undercoat can no longer warm your horse because the hair can no longer be raised. The fur no longer provides adequate protection against the cold weather. Because of this, it can happen that your horse starts to freeze and the muscles cool down and become tense. Incidentally, your horse does not even have to be completely wet for this: A wet saddle area alone is enough for your horse's muscles to tense up. The sensitive kidney region is also part of the saddle area. Never underestimate a wet back.

Cooler Rugs transport moisture to the outside

To prevent this from happening, you should always use a sweat rug after training in the cold season. Good sweat blankets quickly transport moisture to the outside where it evaporates. This allows your horse's coat to dry faster, the undercoat can stand up again and the heat cushion is built up.

In addition, a sweat rug warms your horse while it is still wet. Because when it has cooled down again after training, it can easily freeze in cold temperatures due to the wet coat. You certainly know this from yourself: If you are wet and sweaty after a jog in winter, you will also freeze. Your horse is in a similar situation.

It is really important that you use a good sweat rug that quickly wicks moisture away from the horse without causing a build-up of heat. It also makes sense to choose a model with a neck section, because most horses start to sweat at the neck. When buying a rug, make sure that it fits snugly around the neck so that it can do its job.

All our Cooler Rugs are very suitable for this purpose because they cover the neck and chest and fit snugly due to the Velcro.

Photo by: VI Photography / Irene Pritzl

How long it takes for your horse to dry out depends on how wet it is, how thick its coat is and how humid the ambient air is: on wet and cold days it takes longer than on dry days. It is best to check under the blanket every now and then to see if the coat is still wet. You may also have to change the blanket once in a while. You can tell if the blanket is wet by the fact that there is a film of moisture like a frost on the blanket, but your horse's coat is still damp. As soon as the coat feels dry, you should remove the blanket. If you leave it on your horse for too long, the moisture will go back into the coat.

Worth Reading
Abschwitzdecken von Sportsfreund Studios
Sportsfreund Studios

The Sportsfreund Studios blog contains numerous tips on dealing with horses. From fitness training to the learning behaviour of horses - you can read it all here. The blog is written by Karolina Kardel from 360 Grad Pferd.

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