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As the name suggests, a cooler rug is primarily used for cool off after training. The cooler rug wicks moisture from the horse's coat. In this way you can prevent colds and prevent your horse from catching a cold. In winter, when your horse has a thick winter coat, it can take longer for the coat to dry. The kidney region in particular is susceptible to colds when the horse is still wet and standing in a draught. With a sweat rug you prevent your horse from cooling down too quickly on cold days and at the same time help it dry out.
The most popular material for cooler rugs is still fleece. This is because fleece has excellent moisture wicking properties. In addition, fleece rugs dry quickly after use. Over time, however, other materials are increasingly coming onto the market, such as terry cloth, which also has very good moisture wicking properties. Fleece rugs can also be found as riding rugs and exercise rugs as they cover the kidney region and keep the horse slightly warm without excessive sweating.
Depending on the material and thickness of the cooler rug, the functions vary. Some absorb moisture particularly quickly and release it again, others are designed to provide warmth. The word 'cooler' refers to another feature of the rug that is especially important in the summer. These rugs have cooling properties to help the horse recover after exercise. If your horse has been sweating a lot, you may want to change the cooler rug after a while to allow it to dry completely. If your horse also sweats a lot at the neck, a rug with a neck piece is the right choice.
Depending on how long you want your horse to wear the rug there are different ways of fastening it. Most fleece rugs have a simple chest closure at the front. Other styles also have a belly strap or cross straps that hold the rug in place. Alternatively, you can fasten the blanket with a rug strap. A cooler rug with a faux fur collar prevents pressure and chafing when your horse wears the rug for a longer period of time.
Eskadron cooler rugs are very popular. With their trendy colours and good sweat-off function, they are a classic in the stable. In addition, there are technical rugs such as the Rambo Dry Rug by Horseware, which cover additional areas with a neck section for moisture wicking. So-called 'towel rugs' absorb moisture particularly well and are especially suitable for drying after an extensive bath. Kentucky Horsewear offers, among other things, heavy fleece rugs that are even suitable as liners or look good on the sofa at home. Therapeutic cooler rugs, e.g. from Back on Track, promote blood circulation and help with regeneration after training.
Classic cooler rugs are made of fleece. This has several advantages. Firstly, you can easily wash the fleece rug in the machine. A thin fleece blanket is also light enough to prevent the horse sweating under it. After all, the horse is supposed to stop sweating after riding or lunging. The rug absorbs the horse's sweat and wicks it away to the surface. The inside of the rug should therefore feel dry.
There are also cooler rugs made of wool. However, these are more suitable as transport blankets, as they can quickly become too warm. They should only be washed at low temperatures.
A fleece rug that is not too thick is durable and easy to wash, and therefore meets all the requirements of a good sweat rug. If you also want to use it as a transport rug, a removable neck piece is a good addition. Your horse will then be protected from draughts in the trailer.
If the horse is to be kept in the stable with its rug for a longer period of time, a belly strap is useful. A cross girth is best here. However, this is not so suitable if you want to dry the horse outside with the rug. A separate belly strap is a good solution here, which you only put on if the horse is to be left unattended for a longer period of time in the rug.
This type of rug is mainly intended to protect your horse from draughts and cold when sweating after riding or lunging. Whether the horse sweats so much after work that it needs a rug depends on the intensity of the work. If you are only going at a relaxed pace through the forest, a sweat blanket is usually not necessary, but it is necessary after intensive jumping or dressage training.
In winter, horses that are not clipped sweat very quickly. Then you should always put on a sweat sheet after riding. You can also put the rug on your horse during the autumn to prevent it from developing a thick winter coat. It can also serve well as a transport rug, at least between spring and autumn. A sweat rug also keeps a sick horse warm and protects it from draughts.
If you are using the rug to sweat off the horse, it should stay on the animal until it stops sweating. A good sweat rug should allow the horse's sweat to disperse to the surface and appear as small droplets on the top of the rug. The time needed for the sweating to stop will vary from horse to horse. It also depends on the intensity of the exercise and the thickness of the horse's coat. You therefore need to keep checking by putting your hand between the rug and the horse's back.
If you want to use the rug to reduce the growth of the horse's winter coat, the rug should be left on the horse during both day and night from October onwards. Of course, this does not apply when the horse is working. This way it will prevent your horse from getting cold while suppressing the growth of the winter coat. For this purpose, the rug should not only have good chest fastening, but also cross straps on the belly.