How to measure for a horse rug

By Nicola Jane Swinney on |


Guide to buying a horse rug

A great fit is crucial to ensure your horse’s comfort and well being—a poorly fitting one could let in the cold, or cause rubbing and sores. However, as with women’s clothing (don’t get me started), horse rugs can vary greatly even though they come in “standard” sizes. So before you start to measure rugs, make a note of one that you know fits your horse well and go for rugs of a similar shape and style.

How to measure for a horse rug

Rugs generally come in sizes 4ft to 7ft 6in, going up in 3in increments — they are usually measured in feet and inches, and the measurement is taken from the centre of the horse’s chest around his shoulder to the point of his buttock. Use a soft tape measure and, for best results, get someone to help you to make sure you keep the tape in a straight line.

To double-check your measurements, spread a well-fitting rug out on the floor, or flat over a table, and measure from the front of the chest clips to the bottom of the rug (not including the tail flap).

As a guide, here’s the Derby House horse rug size chart:
Horse rug sizes

How to check the fit of a new horse rug

When you get your new rug home, it is best to check that it fits your horse properly. You can do this without marking the rug (in case you have to to return it) by spreading a cotton bedsheet over your horse before putting on the rug — the sheet is fine enough not to affect the fit but will keep the rug clean.

Put the rug well forward on to the horse’s back then slide it towards his tail until the front seam rests in front of his withers. If there is no neck seam, ensure the rug follows the contours of the horse’s neck and shoulders. If the seam between the tail flap and the rug falls below the top of his tail, it is too big.

The rug needs to be tight enough to stay in place while still allowing movement, and you want to make sure it does not rub. All the straps designed to hold the rug in place are adjustable.

Find the right rug for your horse

Have a look at Derby House’s new horse rug collection.


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