A Guide From An Expert on How To Buy The Best Turnout Rug

by lsmithdennis
medium weight turnout rugs

If you’re overwhelmed by the variety of turnout rugs available, read on to learn everything you need to know about deniers, outers, linings, and fastenings so that you may confidently select the right one.

The greatest turnout rug will keep your horse warm and dry in the field, giving a comfortable, resilient blanket against the elements. We’ve created the perfect guide on choosing a turnout rug. We’ve got you covered, from rain sheets to filling weights to filet strings.


First, choose light, medium, or heavy rug weight. Lightweight is fine for spring and autumn, while heavy and medium weight turnout rugs are better for winter and the colder months around it. Let’s examine the weight component further. The stated rug weight (300g) refers to its filling — polyester fluff that traps air to provide warmth (like a puffy jacket or a sleeping bag). Polyfill is measured in grammes per square meter (GSM) and can range from 0g in a no-fill rain sheet to 400g or more in the thickest winter turnout.

The rug’s stuffing determines its warmth. Warmth also depends on the quality of the rug’s materials, design, and construction. We’ll get to those soon.

Which weight suits your horse? It depends on his type, age, weight, workload, and general health. In winter, a clipped-out, thin-skinned thoroughbred may need more insulation, whereas a robust variety or part-native may overheat. A paddock with natural shelter is different from a northern hillside field. You’ll learn your horse’s normal temperature range and how he copes with time. Some carpets have detachable layers or blankets to accommodate changing seasons and circumstances. This approach costs more, but it may be cheaper than buying multiple rug weights.


A turnout rug needs a robust outer shell to withstand the environment, other horses’ teeth, and thorn bushes. Rug deniers indicate the number of yarns used to form one thread. Denier shows fabric strength.

Fabric options include rip-stop construction, which stops rips with an interwoven cross-hatch – a reassuring feature if you’ve ever found your horse’s rug hanging in tatters around his fetlocks. Ballistic nylon is another option. Good rugs can rip if a horse gets stuck and panics. A waterproof turnout rug is essential for a warm horse. Tightly woven cloth repels water (and wind) more efficiently than a high denier count.

Look for sophisticated finishes and barrier technologies to keep the damp out. Waterproofing can lessen with age and wear, so re-treat rugs as needed. Rain can infiltrate even a fine rug through seams and gaps, so choose a seamless model or buy a replacement. Breathability is almost as vital as waterproofing. Pay attention to the rug’s perspiration-wicking ability unless you wish to put your horse in a sweaty plastic bag. Over-rugging him won’t avoid damp and sweaty spots, though.

Cut and colour

Many modern medium weight stable rugs offer a variety of shapes to cover the horse’s extremities. Standard neck shapes are appropriate for warmer weather. A high-neck rug is tighter and prevents rain from leaking down the neck and into the shoulder area. A ‘combo’ rug has full neck padding for the most protection.

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