There is a dizzying array of horse rugs on the market, so how many do you need, what are they all for, and how do you choose the best ones for your horse?
The main categories are turnout rugs, stable rugs, summer sheets and fly rugs, fleece rugs and exercise sheets. Then are various add-ons, such as hoods, eye savers and shoulder guards, plus travelling rugs and show sheets.
What your horse will actually need will depend on his type, how he is kept and where he is kept. A thin-skinned Thoroughbred, for example, will require more rugging than a hardy native pony, and temperatures in the UK can vary greatly. Clipping, age and weight of your horse can also make a difference.
Turnout rugs protect your horse from the elements. If he spends a lot of time outdoors, you will need more than one — a lightweight one for spring and a heavier one for when the weather gets colder. A fly rug, designed to protect him from biting insects, can double as a lightweight turnout rug and you can always add another on top for more warmth.
Then you have to consider whether you need standard or high-necked rugs — the latter are suitable if your horse has a prominent wither or is prone to rubbing. You can also get combination rugs, which have an attached neck that reaches up to his ears for more coverage. Fleece layers can add extra warmth, while coolers are quick-drying and wick away moisture to keep him comfortable.
Stable rugs are intended to keep your horse cosy when indoors, but can also be used for cooling down hot and wet horses, as they also wick the moisture away from his body. They are breathable, for his comfort, but not waterproof. Again, you can double them up for colder weather, or add a blanket beneath.
Exercise sheets will keep your horse warm and dry while you are schooling. They can also be used as travel rugs, which keep your horse clean en route to shows, or if you have a bigger budget, you can buy a proper travel rug to look extra smart on the showground.
Find out how to measure your horse for a rug
Have a look at Derby House’s new horse rug collection.