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Horse Rug Size Guide

Buying Horse Rugs online can be a little daunting if it's your first time. We have put together this comprehensive guide to help make it easy to get the correct size horse rug straight up when purchasing a horse rug from our website.

You may also find some of our other guides in this series helpful :-
A guide to fitting horse rugs (identifying which issues cause which symptoms)
Fitting hoods & masks (what you need to know to keep your horse safe)
Understanding waterproofing (how to check and keep your rugs waterproof)
Horse rug care (avoid these common mistakes)

Comparing our Rug Sizes.

We are often asked if Caribu rug sizing's are considered to be a generous fit or a smaller fit. Unfortunately the answer to that depends on the sizing of the rug you are comparing it to!

Caribu rugs are always true to size and based on standard Australian sizing - so if a rug is advertised as a 6'3", it will measure 6'3" (190.5cm) along the lower section of the rug, measured from the binding in between the chest buckles, rearwards along the length of the rug, to the rear edge of the rug. (Sadly this in not always the case when buying Horse Rugs online from other retailers!) We also use a standard neckline, not high cut like some brands or with deep curved necklines like others.

3 Easy steps to find the best size rug for your horse:

Step 1: Measure Your Horse

This is the most accurate way to get the correct rug size. Measure in a straight line from the center of the horses chest (where the top chest buckle would sit), around the shoulder, along the side of the belly to the furthest rear point of the rump. (Or where you expect the rug to finish). Do not measure around to the tail - this will add a good 3-4 inches and you will end up with a rug that is too big. Its a good idea to measure both sides more than once! This measurement can be used as a guide for your rug size.


Measure your horse

An easy way to measure your horse, is to use a tape measure that has imperial measurements on it (i.e.: feet and inches) . Measure your horse in the same way as mentioned above. As you get to the horses rump you can get an idea of where each size horse rug size will finish. Using the tape as a guide, check where you would expect the horse rug to finish and see how it relates to imperial sizing. For example a 6'0 rug will measure 6'0 etc - so considering the 3 inch intervals in sizing that horse rugs follow, you can get an idea where a 5'9 or even a 6'3 will finish. Some people find this an easier method for measuring because you can see on the horse where the rug will finish. Keep in mind that 1 foot equals12 inches. A 6'0 rug is 3 inches or 7.5cm longer than a 5'9 rug!

Step 2 : Measure an existing rug that fits (if you have one)

We suggest you measure both your horse and an existing rug that fits - if possible. Having two measurements to compare helps confirm your sizing.

If you have an existing rug that fits your horse - its always a good idea to measure your existing rug. Avoid an existing rug that is a waterproof turnout, try and use a normal cotton or mesh paddock rug or similar. As you will read below Turnouts are slightly longer to cater for chest overlap, and this complicates measuring a rug.

Don't rely on the sizing label on your existing rug - you may find your old rug has stretched or shrunk and many manufacturers don't use true sizing. Also keep in mind that Turnout rugs follow a slightly different fit/sizing (see below). To measure an existing rug, measure from the front edge of the rug, between the two chest straps, along the length of the rug - with gusset closed - to the rear edge of the rug.

Rug Measuring

 

Imperial Size /Metric Size
Size 3'3 = 99cm
Size 3'6 = 107cm
Size 3'9 = 115cm
Size 4'0 = 123cm
Size 4'3 = 130cm
Size 4'6 = 137cm
Size 4'9 = 145cm
Size 5'0 = 152cm
Size 5'3 = 160cm
Size 5'6 = 168cm
Size 5'9 = 175cm
Size 6'0 = 183cm
Size 6'3 = 191cm
Size 6'6 = 198cm
Size 6'9 = 206cm
Size 7'0 = 213cm

Step 3 - Check the Fit

  • Put the rug on the horse, the rug should sit forward and in front of the wither.  The top chest buckle should be fastened to the tightest or 2nd to last hole.  If you are using the third hole or more, it may suggest the horse may need a larger rug size.
  • The rug should sit firmly around the neckline and chest. 
  • Leg straps should be loose enough to prevent chafing - but not hanging down low.
  • Surcingles should be adjusted so that they allow a hand's width between straps and belly.
  • Rugs that are too big for a horse tend to create more problems from rubbing and chaffing than rugs that are too small. If a rug is too big in the neck area, the rugs slip back over the wither and put pressure on the chest. This will cause more fabric to hang over the rear end of the horse and you will have issues with slippage and horses getting caught in surcingles and stepping on their rugs when getting up or rolling.
  • The seam where the tail flap attaches to the rug should sit on top of the tail. If it sits beyond the tail, the rug is too big, if it sits up in front of the tail, the rug is too small.

Checkout our Rug Fitting Guide on this link - to see information and images of how a horse rug should sit on your horse.

Differences Between Different Styles of Caribu Rugs

We use a similar design cut across our entire range of 25+ Caribu designs. We have used the same cut on our rugs for nearly 10 years and with 10's of thousands of rugs produced each year they fit the majority of horses the majority of the time. However every horse is different and its important to get the size right for your horse. Sometimes your horse just has features that need a more specialised cut (i.e. very high wither or very broad chest etc) Just like every size 12 shirt doesn't fit every size 12 lady! Across the different styles of our rugs you will get variations is drops etc depending on the style of rug, but the necklines will be very similar. Different fabrics will also sit differently. (As an example a flag hood will sit a little differently to a ripstop hood,)

The only exception to our consistent design is for our Synthetic denier waterproof turnout rugs and combos.

Different sizing is used on waterproof synthetic turnout rugs. Turnout rugs follow a slightly different sizing rule. Our turnout combos don't have a defined neckline as they are produced from one run of fabric. This is for both a waterproofing advantage and to avoid pressure points when layering rugs underneath in the cooler weather. Turnout rugs allow extra length in the chest area to allow the front edges of the rug to overlap behind the chest buckles, providing extra insulation and waterproofing. As such our Turnouts, as do most leading brands, will generally measure approx 4cm longer, along the lower length of the rug to cater for chest overlap. This also makes the rugs a little more roomier in the chest if needed.

Hood Sizes

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
Hood Size
3'3 to 4'3
Mini/XS Pony
4'6- 4'9
XS Pony
5'0 - 5'3
Pony
5'6 - 6'3
Cob
6'0 - 6'9
Full
6'9 -7'0
XL Full

In some of our styles 6'0 is available with either a Cob or Full size hood attached. Generally we only recommend a COB size hood with a 6'0 rug which fits 90% of horses. Only order a Full Size hood if you are 100% sure. A Full size hood is a large hood and generally only used on larger TB's & Warmbloods. Ask us if you are at all unsure.

In some of our styles 6'3 is available with either a Full or Cob size hood attached. Generally we only recommend a Full size hood with a 6'3 rug which fits 90% of horses. Only order a COB Size hood if you are 100% sure. Sometimes the shorter, broader horses, need the bigger rug size, but the smaller hood size (i.e.: Quarter Horse builds etc)

Below are our approx hood size measurements:
No1 - is measurement from point of poll rearwards back along the crest of the hood to the rear hem of hood.
No2 - is measurement from point of poll down center of face to bottom edge of hood.
No3 - is the total of 1 & 2, measured along the top seam of the hood from nose point to rear binding edge

  No 1 No 2 No 3
XS Pony 101cm 31cm 132cm
Pony 113 34 147
Cob 127 42 169
Full 142 45 187
XL-Full 143 49 192

* please note the location of point of poll will vary from horse to horse, so please use as an approximation only. No 3 will also vary slightly depending on how tight you pull the fabric. We have a detailed guide on using and adjusting hoods and masks here. Also keep in mind that you will get a little variation in fit from one hood to the next, and one fabric to the next. While they are made from the same design template, they are all hand cut and hand sewn, which will create small variations in each hood.

Comparing Caribu Sizes to Other Rugs:

When it comes to comparing sizing, we used to see many brands made especially for the Australian market and sizing. However in recent years, many manufacturers (including more than a few big name brands) have switched to manufacturing one rug size for distribution in all markets - Europe, UK, US and Australia, and the rugs are usually based on European sizing. Each region measures their rugs differently. Europe measures their rugs along the top of the rug, from wither to tail and refers to this size in centimeters i.e.: 155cm, 165cm etc.

The European method of sizing can vary a rug size significantly, depending if the neckline is high cut or low cut. Hence their sizing doesn't always slot in neatly with Australian sizing when a manufacturer comes to label these designs for the Australian market. Its not unusual for such a rug to be out by half a sizing or more, depending on if the rug has been labeled up or down to find the closest equivalent sizing. i.e.: a rug can be labeled as a 6'0, but when you measure them as described below, they can be closer to 5'9 or even 6'3.

If you have another brand of rug that currently fits your horse - don't rely on its sizing tag. Measure the rug - that way you can never go wrong.

Measuring - Common Sizing Issues

Common mistakes that effect sizing decisions:
  • Don't rely on your existing brands size label - measure the rug to find its true size as many manufacturers rugs are not true to size.
  • Some necklines on certain brands are often very deep cut (or poorly designed!) and this has the effect of making the rug a much bigger fit compared to better fitting brands in the same size.
  • Winter or lined/padded rugs are often a tighter fit, when compared to 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 sheets, wool, fleece or similar rug under your winter rug to create layers - this adds more padding again and has the potential to create a tighter fit again. If your horse is normally borderline between sizes in a normal summer rug, this may mean the difference between going up or down a size.
  • Young horses often have underdeveloped chests, which can make them a challenge to rug. Often a dart in the shoulder line can take up the slack and be taken out when the horse fills out.

We hope this information is useful and helps you purchase your horse rugs online with confidence.

Horses Safety

We also ask you to consider if the items purchased will suit the nature of your horse environment you plan on using them in. If you have any doubt about the quality or the suitability of the products you have purchased to match the horse and environment you plan on using them in, contact us immediately to arrange a return. When you fit the rug or product for the first time, if you have any doubt about the fit, sizing, quality or its suitability for the task you have intended - please contact us to arrange an exchange or return the item. Remove the item from your horse immediately before it gets dirty. If you are unsure of the fitting of a horse rug or how to use a particular item - please contact us for clarification before using the product. We are only to happy to assist.

**Horses are unpredictable animals and there is always a risk of a horse dislodging rugs, hoods, fly masks etc from scratching, snagging or other mischief and then panicking if their vision is affected. When using hoods or masks on your horse you need to consider the horses temperament, location to other horses, environment and their overall suitability for wearing these types of products. We recommend only using masks, hoods or other items that may interfere with a horses vision in safe environments where the horse can be regularly supervised at all times. We have a detailed guide on using and adjusting hoods and masks here.

Caribu Horse Wear accepts no liability for loss, damage, injury or death or consequential loss to any person or animal resulting from the use or misuse, or incorrect fitting or failure of any of our products.