Archive for the ‘Rugless’ Category

Well, my horses have completed their first year living out completely rugless.  Before I finally decided to go down this  route,  I  read all the research out there that I could find regarding how horses keep themselves warm in the winters freezing conditions , and cool in the summers heat.

When I was young, our horses never had rugs, and lived out all year; in fact I can’t remember seeing a horse in a rug when I was young !! and few lived in stables. Yet they all survived and were healthy, happy equines.

I can’t say that I didn’t have the odd twinge of guilt during some of the nastier weather  that we had, but I reminded myself that the horses have some wonderful shelter in the fields, and were free to use it whenever they wished. They are also healthy, and had a good weight on, to enable them to keep warm; and of course the freedom to move around to aid circulation, and hence keep warm. So they really should have been ok.

As the winter progressed and spring arrived, the horses were coping very well, they had not lost much weight at all, and had never appeared to shiver or look miserable and cold.

There were also added benefits that I had not counted on, when the days started to warm up, but the nights were still cold, I didn’t have to worry about changing rugs here there and everywhere, a definite bonus, and the stranger one, the horses didn’t seem to get as hot and sweaty when they were being ridden.

I found this very odd at first, but a super benefit. Martha used to get so hot when the warm spring days arrived, she would lather up on long rides, even when we didn’t go very fast. Since being rugless however, she may have got warm, but has not lathered up as she used to.

I have put this down to the fact that she can now regulate her temperature much better herself, now I may be wrong, and would welcome any other ideas you may have.

As I said, the  horses have not lost much weight through the winter, this is a mixed blessing, I think a little more loss coming into the spring may have been nice, but generally , I am pleased with their condition.

I was concerned that the horses may get so muddy that I would not be able to ride, but this never happened, and with our tack I was not worried about tacking them up whilst damp; their coats were so good that a quick rub with a towel took the worst off and under the top coat was dry. The sheepskin numnahs we use caused no problems.

So to sum up, quite simply, my horses will not wear rugs again; well, lets never say never; of course when they become geriatric and need a little extra help in the keeping warm department, they will of course have rugs, but until that day, I have lovely naked horses, by the way, some  of these horses are  already in their 20’s !! Although you wouldn’t think it !!!

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