Rug Selection Guide for Various Temperatures

Temperature Range (°C) Unclipped Horses Clipped Horses
20+ Degrees No rug needed No rug or lightweight no-fill rug
10-20 Degrees No rug needed Lightweight stable rug (50g-150g)
5-10 Degrees Rain sheet or lightweight turnout rug (50/100g) if wet and windy Lightweight turnout rug (100/150g), possibly with a neck cover
0-5 Degrees Light to medium weight turnout rug (150-200g) Medium weight turnout rug (200g), with neck cover if necessary
Below 0 Degrees Light or medium weight turnout rug (150-300g) with neck cover Heavyweight turnout rug (300-400g), with neck cover and possibly a liner

What Rug Should I Use for Certain Temperatures?

Welcome to the cozy corner of the equine world, where we wrap our four-legged friends in comfort, not just in love. Ever stood in front of your horse, scratching your head, wondering if they're dressed for the weather? You're not alone! Selecting the right rug based on temperature can feel like decoding the Enigma at times. But fear not, we're here to unravel this mystery together, ensuring your horse stays as comfortable as a cat in a sunbeam, without risking overheating.

Understanding Your Horse's Needs

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of rugs and temperatures, let's get one thing straight: horses are not humans. Shocking, I know. They have a thermoneutral zone wider than the Grand Canyon, meaning they're pretty chill (pun intended) across a broad range of temperatures. A fit, fluffy, unclipped horse can often brave the elements better than we give them credit for. However, factors like clipping, activity level, and even their personal fashion preferences (okay, maybe not fashion preferences) play a crucial role in deciding whether to rug up or not.

Temperature Ranges and Rug Choices

20+ Degrees Celsius: The "Nudist Beach"

When the thermometer climbs above 20°C, it's time to embrace the au naturel approach. Both clipped and unclipped horses usually require no rug, allowing them to enjoy the warmth freely. Think of it as their version of a nudist beach, without the awkward stares. Over-rugging in this temperature can lead to overheating, and nobody wants a sweaty horse, not even the horse itself.


However, for those slightly cooler evenings or if your horse is the type that gets chilly at a slight breeze, a lightweight no-fill rug might just be the perfect bedtime attire. It's like slipping on a cotton t-shirt on a summer evening - just enough to keep the chill at bay.

10-20 Degrees Celsius: The "Light Jacket" Zone

As we step into the realm of 10-15°C, think of this as the horse equivalent of human "light jacket" weather. For the unclipped equines, it's still a no-rug zone, as they're likely to be just fine enjoying the crisp air. However, for those clipped beauties, a bit more consideration is needed. A lightweight stable rug might be in order, providing that extra layer without causing a sauna effect.


In this temperature bracket, it's all about finding that perfect balance - not too hot, not too cold. For clipped horses, consider the Weatherbeeta Comfitec Classic Standard Neck Medium, ideal for keeping them snug without overheating. It’s like giving your horse a hug that they can wear.

5-10 Degrees Celsius: The "Cozy Sweater" Weather

When the temperature dips to 5-10°C, it's time for the "cozy sweater" phase. Unclipped horses might give you a nod of approval with just a light turnout rug, especially if the weather decides to throw in some wind or rain. Clipped horses, on the other hand, might appreciate something with a bit more substance, like a 100gsm insulated fill rug to keep the chill out.


It's akin to wrapping your horse in a soft, warm blanket that shields them from the less-than-ideal weather, ensuring they're both comfortable and happy. And let's be honest, a happy horse means a happy horse owner.

0-5 Degrees Celsius: Entering the "Winter Coat" Territory

Now, as we venture into the 0-4°C range, we're entering the serious "winter coat" territory. For the unclipped horses, a medium weight turnout rug might be just what the doctor ordered, ensuring they stay warm without turning into a walking sauna. Clipped horses require a bit more armor, perhaps a 250g combo turnout to combat the cold effectively.


This is the time when you want to ensure your horse is protected against the elements, but also not overheating due to over-rugging. The John Whitaker Rastrick Reflective 250G Combo Turnout is like the horse equivalent of wearing your favorite winter coat, complete with the fluffy hood.

Below 0 Degrees Celsius: The "Arctic Expedition"

When the mercury dips below freezing, it's time for the "Arctic Expedition" gear. For unclipped horses, a middle or heavyweight rug becomes essential to keep them snug as a bug in a rug. Clipped horses, akin to intrepid explorers braving the polar ice, will thank you for a heavyweight turnout rug with all the trimmings - neck cover, liner, and maybe even a hood for those especially chilly expeditions.

It's vital to remember that every horse is an individual. What works for one might not work for another. Monitoring and adjusting is key - because no one wants a four-legged popsicle or a sweaty, overheated equine.

Additional Considerations

Choosing the perfect rug is more art than science. Think of it as tailoring a bespoke suit; it needs to fit just right. Consider your horse's breed, age, health, and even their personal "style" (if horses had Instagram, imagine the #OOTD posts!). And remember, it's easier to warm a horse up than cool them down. Over-rugging can lead to overheating, which is as uncomfortable for them as wearing a fur coat in a sauna would be for us.

Always keep an eye out for signs of discomfort, like excessive sweating or shivering, and adjust their wardrobe accordingly. Your horse's comfort should always be the top priority.


Wrapping your horse in the right rug for the temperature isn't just about keeping them warm or cool; it's about ensuring their health and happiness. By understanding the specific needs of your horse and the nuances of each temperature range, you can make informed decisions that keep them comfortable through all seasons.

Remember, the best rug is the one that suits your horse's individual needs. And if you're ever in doubt, it's better to err on the side of caution and go for a lighter option. After all, we're aiming for cozy, not roasty!

For more detailed information and a wider selection of horse rugs, be sure to check out our collections at Just Horse Riders. From the lightest sheets to the heaviest turnouts, we've got your equine friend covered - literally.

Stay snug, and happy riding!

Asked by You: Your Rug Questions Answered

At what temperature should you rug your horse?

The need to rug your horse depends on various factors, including temperature, but also the horse's condition, whether they are clipped, and their activity level. As a general guideline, horses may not require rugs in temperatures above 20°C. For temperatures below that, the need for a rug increases, especially for clipped horses or in wet and windy conditions.

How do I know what rug to put on my horse?

Choosing the right rug involves considering the current temperature, weather conditions, and your horse's individual needs. Unclipped horses typically require less insulation than clipped ones. Use a light rug (50-100g) for mild weather, a medium rug (150-250g) for cooler temperatures, and a heavyweight rug (300-400g) for cold conditions.

Is a 100g rug a lightweight?

Yes, a 100g rug is considered a lightweight rug. It provides a slight layer of insulation without causing overheating, making it suitable for mild to cool weather, especially during spring and autumn or for clipped horses in slightly warmer temperatures.

Will a cotton rug keep a horse warm?

A cotton rug can provide a layer of warmth and protection against the chill, especially during mild weather or inside the stable. However, it's not suitable for cold conditions or as the sole protection in colder weather. For cooler temperatures, consider layering or choosing a rug with insulation.