Accurate Measuring for Blankets, Rugs & Fly Sheets

We get a lot of questions about the correct measurements for therapy rugs or blankets & stable sheets and fly rugs. We know searching online can lead you down a rabbit hole and make you even more confused than when you started because of different measurements in different countries. Millimeters, centimeters, feet & inches. It is all very confusing!

So here is the complete guide and everything you need to know about measuring and fitting your horses next rug. It is pretty simple – if you take three simple measurements – you will be able to find the perfect fit (see diagrams and measure guide at the end of the article):

  1. Measure your horses back from wither to tail in CMs
  2. Measure the side length of your horse from the centre of the chest to the furthest part of the flank (in cm or inches - whatever you are more familiar with).
  3. Measure your horses height (this is more a cross check to double check the other two measurements)

Tips for the most accurate reading and choice:

  • Before you measure – make sure your horse is standing square and on level ground.
  • Use a measuring tape or a piece of string that you can measure later.
  • It is best to allow an extra 3inches or 7-8cm on top what you measure for a turnout rug or fly sheet, especially if the rug has a neck cover.
  • Stable rugs are usually correct at the measured size.
  • If your horse is between measurements or sizes, then you are usually better off going up a size than down, unless the horse is very narrow chested or petite in size.

Things that can affect your blankets fit:

  1. A horse with a big belly
  2. A horse with a very broad chest
  3. A horse with a very short neck
  4. A horse with a slim build or narrow chest

How can I tell if my horses rug is too big or too small?

The best way to check if your horses rug fits is to check the rug when the horse is in a position with their head down to the ground (like in the position of grazing). Put the rug on and tie up all the buckles and surcingles, then use a treat to get your horse to put there head down.

  1. If the front of the blanket gets uncomfortably tight, the rug is too small.
  2. If the back of the rug creeps up and does not reach the top of the tail, the rug is too small.
  3. If the rug can easily move around and off the horse – then it is too big.

A well fitted rug is snug and safe, but not tight!

It is important to adjust the front straps on the rug to ensure that the top of the rug sits in front of the wither, not behind it, or it will pull back and cause rubbing and sores on the shoulders, neck and withers.

Here are some common questions about horse rugs in the UAE:

How tight should leg straps and surcingles be?

You should adjust leg straps and surcingles to allow a hands width between the leg or belly and the strap. If the leg straps or surcingles are not adjusted enough to allow a hand's width, your horse could get his legs caught in the straps if too long, or they may rub if too short.

It is hot in UAE – does my horse really need a rug?

Most stables do not have turnout in the same way that horses have in other countries, like in Europe, so normally turnout rugs are not needed here. Turnout rugs are designed in a way that they have a different style that allows for more movement, and even running in the rug. You would ideally have a turnout rug if your horse spends his or her evenings out in a paddock – the turnout style will just give your horse that extra ability to move around with their rug on.

A light 0-100g weight stable sheet, sweat sheet or fleece is usually enough for our mild winters in UAE.

Do not be mistaken – it does get cold here, but since most our horses are stabled indoors they are protected from the evening and early morning chills. Horses that have been brought up here, or spent many years here do adapt quite well, but might need some extra cover on the coldest mornings.

Is it true that some horses may even need a 0g stable sheet in the Summer months?

That’s right, in some barns AC can affect your horses muscles and back – especially if they are closer to the AC. So pay attention to your barns temperature during the hottest part of the day, and if you notice it is quite chilly, you can opt for a 0g stable sheet just to keep your horse comfortable.

If you travel to shows – especially in the evenings or very early mornings – it is preferable to have a travel rug. Again 0-100g fill maximum, just to take the edge off while they travel, or when they arrive at the show, or even between classes to keep their backs warm.