Photos by @brvcreative
Some would argue that horses don’t need rugs - they don’t have them in the wild so why do they need to them at all?
My argument and belief with this is that our domesticated horses in NZ aren’t in the wild, obviously, so when we take away some of that natural stuff they would get in the wild, it needs to replaced with something else to counteract it. Really great horse rugs being one thing.
In the wild they roam for miles a day, the have a variety of terrain and places to shelter when weather gets hot or cold. Most domesticated horses have this option stripped from them, to one degree or another. Put into small paddocks with limited places to shelter, in some cases none. Their movement is reduced and their ability to chose the best place to hunker down for stormy nights is taken away.
Insert rugs here.
My four horses are fairly lucky. Where I am currently living in Te Akau, Waikato, they run as a herd and often get 9 - 18 acre paddocks to graze in.
I notice a huge difference in their ability to maintain adequate temperatures when they come in to graze in a smaller area by the house.
The less movement, the more important a good weight rug is.
I am a bit of a rug hoarder/addict. My shed is littered with various weight rugs for all sorts of temperatures. From summer sheets, no fill waterproof sheets, a few lightweight rugs and definitely the 200g fill rugs.
With the fact my horses do graze as a herd and have trees in most paddocks means they need quality rugs that aren’t going to get ripped in 5 secs.
This is where the nztack rugs have been amazing. They stand up to their daily antics, keep them dry when needed, warm when required and the flies off their backs in the warmer months.
While I do my best to have them naked as much as possible, to allow them to get vitamin D on their backs and time to groom each other for stress relief and social interaction, we were plagued with flies over summer/early autumn that were annoying the shit out of them, which meant they had summer sheets on most of the time to limit the body area the nasty little things could land on.
I am bloody excited to get put the summer crossover combo to the test once we warm up. Stay tuned for some feedback on these.
I always have no-fill waterproof sheets in the shed for those warm, wet days, I guess this is mostly for my benefit so I am not left with a filthy wet horse when it comes time to ride. But also for those standard NZ days where we get four seasons in one, I am sure most of you know what I am talking about.
The waterproof mesh crossover combos are a game changer in these conditions. A must-have in your collection.
Picture this - its raining, it’s blowing an icy southerly and then suddenly boom the sun comes out and it's like a summer's day. Those days where half the day they are snug in a filled rug but when that sun starts shining intimidatingly every couple of hours, your poor horses start sweating.
Insert mesh sheets here.
The waterproof top ensures they keep all the important parts dry (back and bum) - yes! a no fill rug that is actually waterproof! - but the mesh bottom half leaves enough air flow to ensure they do not overheat when that sun comes out.
Lastly, the 200g Duke combo.
On those stormy, wet nights where the wind is coming in sideways, they are all snuggly and DRY in their 200g.
I find if you have a long bodied horse, you can generally size up in this rug. I have a long 5ft who can fit a 5.3 which gives him some extra coverage, but if your horse is quite short in the body I would recommend sticking with their normal size.
What I love most about this rug is it doesn’t hold water on the outside layer like some can which causes the rugs to get super heavy, even after torrential rain they are nice and light on your horse's back. Not to mention the sturdy front velcro and chest clips that make changing rugs hassle-free.
Bloody stoked with my nztack horse rugs and looking forward to reviewing more products for the you, to ensure you get the rug that suits your horse and conditions best.
Eljay shows rural women how to improve the fitness of their mind, body and soul. Discover education/empowerment for strength/confidence to be authentically you - find her at @eljay_ruralhealthcollective.