Why don’t our horses realise that everything we do is for their own good?! We pop a nice new turnout blanket or stable blanket on them nice and warm and they decide they know best and would rather try and tear it off.
Not only is this irritating undoes the good work you’re doing to keep your horse healthy, but it can also be expensive! It’s difficult to know what to do if you have a rug wrecker (a term coined by the wonderful people at Weatherbeeta) as there might be many reasons why they do it, and it can be frustrating when nothing seems to work.
We’re not going to claim to be able to cure your rug wrecker, but here are some tips that might help them destroying them quite so often…
Put an old rug on top
One way of protecting your horse’s rug is to put an older rug on top that you’re not bothered about getting wrecked. This might not change their behaviour, and you don’t get to see that lovely new rug, but it will hopefully reduce the chance of it getting damaged.
However, you might need to get a slightly larger size, and make sure it’s a lightweight horse rug so they don’t get too warm and it doesn’t restrict their movement.
Could there be an underlying health issue?
When animals play up, it’s always worth considering whether there’s an underlying health issue. For example, chewing and biting on their blanket might be a sign they have problems with their teeth.
So if you notice your horse has suddenly become a rug wrecker, it might be worth getting the vet out just to make sure.
They might not be used to wearing a blanket
One reason your horse might be a rug wrecker is that they’re simply not used to wearing a blanket. It can take a little time for them to get used to suddenly having an extra layer, so it’s worth persevering with for a little while to see if they become accustomed to wearing one.
Is your horse bored?
Some horses see rug wrecking as a game and think its fun to rip off that blanket you’ve just spent your hard-earned money on. This could be because they’re bored and don’t have enough other activities to keep them entertained.
Perhaps try changing up their exercise routine and seeing if that makes a difference.
You could be using the wrong blanket
Your horse might not have an issue with wearing a blanket, but they might not like wearing the wrong blanket. Now, they’re not going to care which brand you buy, obviously, but they will care about the weight and fit of the blanket. You might need to just double check that it fits them properly – have they lost or gained weight, for instance? – and adjust accordingly.
Check out our guides below for more advice on buying the right blanket for your horse:
Stick with cheap horse blankets
This isn’t really a solution as such, but if your horse is a regular rug wrecker, then it might be worth sticking with cheaper blankets until you they stop – and if they don’t stop, then it’s going to cost you less.
Buy a better quality blanket
This might sound a little contradictory considering the previous point but you could also try using a better quality turnout or stable blanket. This won’t really stop them trying to wreck it, but a better quality blanket might last longer than a cheaper one.
The choice is whether you want to buy more less expensive blankets or fewer more expensive ones.
The Weatherbeeta ComFiTec blankets (as shown below) are excellent quality and great for wreckers and non-wreckers alike.
Using a muzzle
Some horse owners like to use some kind of muzzle on their horse to stop them tearing their blankets off. This is an option, but bear in mind that not all horses will appreciate wearing one, and you have to be careful it doesn’t impact on their ability to graze too much.
The British Horse Society have plenty of information about using muzzles, getting the right fit, etc, so you can decide if it’s right for your horse or not.
If you have a scout through some of the equine forums on the internet, you’ll see some people suggesting you use hot chilli sauce, or an equally unpalatable alternative, to try and dissuade the horse from pulling at their blanket.
Should you do this? We wouldn’t really recommend using any kind of hot sauce for this purpose. Your horse’s digestive system is very delicate and using hot chili sauce can upset that – just like it can for us! Granted, it may do the job, but it’s a risk.
However, you know your horse better than we do – if it works for you and your horse doesn’t show any adverse effects then the decision is yours.
Looking for a new blanket for your horse? Check out our fantastic range of horse blankets now from brands such as Rambo, Bucas, Amigo, and more.