Shires Rug Fitting Guide
Buying the right size of rug
When buying any rug for your horse to wear, fit is key, and should never be underestimated. If you’ve bought the most amazing rug with a whole range of features it could potentially cause more harm than good if it is ill fitting.
The good news is that it is not hard to achieve a good fit - here are our top tips:
Measure your horse before you go out to your local tack shop. This can be done with a tape measure. Simply put one end of the tape in the centre of your horse’s chest and the other end on the horse's buttocks where you would expect the rug to finish.
Horse rugs are sized in centimetres, inches or feet and inches - make sure you check what size rug you are getting as a 66" will not fit a 6'6" horse.
When you've bought the rug, take it home and try it on your horse over a clean bedsheet or clean summer sheet - make sure you leave all the tags on. If the rug fits then remove the tags and use, if not, you might be able to return the rug to the retail outlet you purchased it from as long as it is in a saleable condition- check with your retailer at the time you purchase the rug.
Rug Size Chart
A badly fitting rug will slip and could cause discomfort or even injury for the horse, and could result in damage to the rug itself.
How can I tell if the rug fits?
The rug should fit well over the withers and the shoulders so that the horse can move freely without the rug slipping back.
The straps should be tight enough to hold the rug in place, but not so tight that they cause the rug’s shape to distort on the horse’s back. If too tight they may cause pressure points around the horse’s chest and wither area.
Cross surcingles should be fastened so you can fit a hand’s breadth between the surcingles and the horse’s body. This means that the straps are tight enough to prevent legs becoming caught should the horse lie down, but not so tight to cause discomfort.
If the rug has leg straps, they should be fastened so that the left strap is passed around the left hind leg and fastened back to the left side. The right strap should then pass around the right hind leg, loop through the left strap, and then fasten to the right side. There should be about 4-5” between the strap and the horse’s leg to prevent the rug slipping without causing the horse any discomfort.