Horse Rugs - A Guide to Rugs, Sizing & Waterproofing

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Which size should I buy?
Horses come in all different shapes. Our rugs are based on standard Australian sizing, which measures the rug along the bottom edge of the rug, from the front edge of the rug at the chest fittings to the back edge of the rug. (With Gusset Closed)

Horse Rugs are sized at 3 inch (75mm) intervals. To get an approximate sizing, measure in a straight line from the center of the horses chest, around the shoulder, along the side of the barrel and belly and around the rear to the point just past the rump. (Or where you expect the rug to finish). This measurement can be used as a guide for your rug. Unfortunately horses don't all come in the same dimensions, so your horse maybe either side of the below sizing depending on your horse's characteristics. It can be a difficult decision to go up a size or down a size if you don't have other rugs to compare. If you have any questions please feel free to ask us.

Our rugs are true to size - so if a rug is advertised as a 6'3", it will measure 6'3" (190.5cm) from the bottom edge of the rug near the front buckles, along the bottom of the rug to the rear edge of the rug. (with gusset closed) See Below. The only exception to this is for our 1200denier synthetic waterproof turnout rugs and combos. Turnouts allow to have the rug overlap at the chest to provide extra insulation and waterproofing - as such turnouts will generally measure 5 to 7cm longer along the bottom edge to cater for chest overlap.


# If you have an existing rug that fits your horse - its always a good idea to measure your existing rug. Many of the big manufactures used to make rugs especially for the Australian market and sizing. However in recent years they now make one rug for use on all markets - Europe, UK , US and Australia. (Often based on European designs) Each region measures their rugs differently (ie: Europe measure from wither to tail along the top edge of the rug. Unfortunately the sizing's don't slot in neatly with Australian sizing - so its not unusual to have one of these rugs that can be out by almost a sizing - ie: a rug labeled as a 6'0, but when you measure them they can be closer to 6'3.

Winter or lined/padded rugs are often a tighter fit, when compared to normal summer rip stop rugs or sheets. This is due to the fact that the padding takes up additional space. Also keep in mind, that if you use a summer sheet or similar under your winter rug to create layers - this is more padding again and creates a tighter fit again. Like wise an unlined rainsheet may be a looser fit. This may mean the difference between going up/down a size.

Height      Metric              Usual
HH                                  Rug Size
11.2hh   137cm                    4'6"
12.0hh   137cm/145cm       4'6"/4'9"
12.2hh   145cm/152cm      4'9"/5'0"
13.0hh   152cm/160cm      5'0"/5'3"
13.2hh   160cm/168cm      5'3"/5'6"
14.0hh   160cm/168cm      5'3"/5'6"
14.2hh   168cm/175cm      5'6”/5'9"
15.0hh   175cm/183cm      5'9”/6'0"
15.2hh   183cm/191cm      6'0"/6'3"
16.0hh   191cm/198cm      6'3"/6'6"
16.2hh   198cm/206cm      6'6"/6'9"
17.0hh   206cm/213cm      6'9"/7'0"

The above table is to be used as a guide only - each horse is different and your horses weight and other characteristics need to be considered.

You will also often see sizing for items such as hoods, boots, bridles etc refereed to Pony / Cob or Full sizing. As a guide the following is usually considered the industry standard:

Rug Size
4'6 - 4'9  Extra Small Pony
5'0 - 5'3  Pony
5'6 - 6'0  Cob
6'0 - 6'9  Full
6'9 - 7'0  XL Full

Horse Rug Waterproof and Breathability Ratings.

Waterproof - Any rug advertised as waterproof is referring to the fabric used for the rug, rather than the whole product. This is because rugs contain stitching, webbing & fastenings that can not always be tape seamed or heat sealed to prevent water penetration.

Ideally you should always be prepared to change a rug that has been subjected to hours of moderate rain for a spare dry one & dry off the original. While the rug may be keeping the rain out the horse perspiration will build up under the rug.

The industry standard for measuring a fabric’s water permeability (or it’s waterproofing ) is to place a column of water on the fabric and increase the level of water on the fabric to find the point at which the water starts to penetrate the fabric. This column of water is then measured to give the fabric’s waterproof rating in mm. e.g. 1500mm. (1.5 meters). For a material to be rated as waterproof it has to pass a minimum Hydrostatic Head test of 1500MM.

All Caribu Synthetic Rugs and Combos are rated to at least 3000MM - more than twice the minimum requirements. Our Synthetic Rugs have a breath ability rating of at least 2000gr/m2/per24hrs - so you can rest assured that your horse will be snug and warm in the worst of weather.


For any turnout rug to keep your horse dry on the inside,  both the outer fabric and the lining should also be breathable - because even in cold conditions your horse will perspire and if a garment does not have sufficient breathability, the moisture (from perspiration) will build up as condensation on the inside of the rug.

Keep in mind that no mater what the rugs rating is - in heavy rain it will be reduced to almost Zero - has water covers the rug pores. This causes the condensation to accumulate on the inside of the rug - this extra moisture on the inside may also give the illusion that the garment is letting water in from the outside, when in reality it is your horses perspiration.

Most Turnout combos have a fill or lining of up to  300grams and this alleviates this problem as it assist the coat to breath and keeps the horses excess perspiration off the horse's coat. If you are using an unlined waterproof combo in very humid & wet conditions – you may need to use in conjunction with a light cotton under rug or similar with a good moisture wicking properties.  The horses perspiration needs to be transported away from their  skin.

Denier Fabrics can be made breathable via using ultra tough hi-tech fabrics which are then coated with a micro-porous formula making the fabric completely waterproof and yet fully breathable. This means that the outer fabric will protect your horse from the rain and elements while still allowing sweat or condensation produced by your horse's body to escape through. . Ratings are expressed in the amount of moisture that will pass thru a fabric in a 24 hour period.

Caribu Rugs are rated with a minimum of 2000gr/m2/per24hrs.


Ripstop refers to the type of material the rugs are made from. Ripstop is a way of modifying the wrap & weft of a fabric to enable it to contain rips & tears. The design insures that a rip or tear will be contained to a smaller area than would otherwise be expected. It will not stop barbed wire tears, but will assist to contain them.

Rug Filling and Material
Rugs are available in different 'weights'. This refers to the amount of filling the rug has to provide insulation. The amount of fill is normally measured in grams per square meter (gsm). Lightweight rugs may well have no fill or only a small amount.
As a rough guide a lightweight rug would vary from no fill to around 50 gsm. Medium rugs tend to have a fill of 200 gsm whilst heavyweight rugs go from 300 gsm upwards. Lightweight rug would be deemed to be suitable for spring, summer and less cold autumn days. A medium to heavy weight rug would be used in late spring thru Winter, maybe over a polar fleece rug or similar depending on your conditions.

Denier is a measure of the linear density, or weight per unit length, of a yarn-- essentially the higher the denier number the stronger the material commonly in 300D, 600D, 900D and 1200D the higher the number the stronger the material & more intended for outdoor usage.

Rug Care
Rugs can generally be washed just like clothing, however we recommend you don't use detergents on waterproof rugs as this can damage the waterproofing. Other rugs are safe to wash with a little detergent. Refer to care labels on individual rugs.
When finished washing, the rug should be hung out to dry in a well-ventilated area with the outer coating facing up. Even waterproof rugs get water penetration in heavy rain, and we suggest you remove and dry out when possible.

Rug Types

Combo Rug
Combo Rugs refer to rugs that combine both a neck rug and body rug. The neck rug is permanently attached.

Turnout or Outdoor Rugs – for where protection from the elements is required.
This type of rug should always be clearly marked as being waterproof. Most rugs of this style are made from Nylon or Polyester. Modern fibers often allow this type of rug to be breathable as well as providing weather protection. This helps to keep your horse comfortable in changing conditions.

On this basis, for really cold weather, many people like to keep an under rug in reserve in the tack room. This would normally be made from a comfortable warm soft material which will help your horse maintain his body temperature.
Stable Rugs - for horses who are protected from the weather.
Stable rugs arent’t waterproof. This type of rug often comes with a fill, like turnout rugs, because stables can get very cold. Different styles are available with or without neck covers. Mostly made of comfortable man made fibres such as nylon or polyester. Linings of stable rugs can vary between cotton and soft feel nylon or polyester.

Travel/Day and Cooler Rugs - Multi purpose
This style of rug covers a variety of uses such as traveling to shows and events or for drying off after exercise or being washed. Some people have separate rugs for each use. Travel rugs can be made from a fleece style fabrics. Cooler rugs are often made of a box weave material with holes which help your horse to dry out whilst still keeping warm.

Fly Sheet/Fly Rug – keep the fly's at bay!
A Fly Sheet or Fly Rug is a lightweight fine mesh rug which offers protection to horses at grass from flies and insects during the summer.
Many Fly Sheets available also include neck covers either as part of the Fly Sheet or as a separate product which can be attached to the rug. We recommend purchasing a separate fly mask/veil for complete fly protection.

Summer Sheet
A summer sheet is a light type of horse rug which offers protection against the harsh sun and flies during the summer. They are often used as travel rugs.

Travel Rug
A Travel Rug is a light rug which offers protection against dust and flies whilst traveling. Often a Summer Sheet is used as a all year round day rug.

Under Rugs
Under Rugs and Liners are used under a rug to provide extra warmth and protection from friction rubbing from the rug.

Rug Liners
Anti-Rub Liners, Shoulder Liners or Anti-Rub Vests are designed to worn underneath a rug to provide protection from friction rubbing. These are made from thin, stretch material and cover the chest, shoulder and withers which are areas prone to friction sores from rug wear.
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