Summer Horse Rug Buying Guide

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Summer Horse Rug Buying Guide

With all the varieties of horse blankets available on online sites like eBay, it is easy for even the most experience horse owner to feel overwhelmed by choice. This guide will explain the functions of a summer horse blanket, introduce the options and offer detailed advice on how to purchase a summer horse rug.

What is a Horse Blanket?

By definition, a horse blanket or rug is a blanket mainly intended for keeping a horse warm or otherwise protected from the elements. Horse blankets are used to:

  • Keep a horse warm.
  • Prevent a horse from cooling too rapidly after strenuous exercise.
  • Minimise moisture build-up under the sheet by ‘wicking’ or drawing it away from the horse's body.
  • Keep a horse dry when it is being worked in wet weather.
  • Functions of a Horse Blanket

Protection from the Elements

During the summer months, blankets are used not to keep horses warm but to cool them down. Horses have naturally sleek coats that reflect the sun and they seek shade when they are hot as a natural response. When and where shade is inadequate, blankets provide that protection. All large-bodied animals take longer to cool down (and to warm up) than smaller bodied animals, which means that the insulating properties of a summer blanket can regulate their temperature.

However, some of the thick winter rugs that are also available on eBay will prevent any cooling breeze from cooling the body. Horses are one of the few animals that rely on sweating to cool down, and rugs impede this process by preventing air from passing over the body, evaporating the sweat and cooling the body). A light summer blanket will keep the horse’s body temperature steady, preventing chills and muscle cramping during sudden changes from hot to cool once the horse is still.

Just like humans who fail to cover up during the winter months, horses that are subjected to cold weather without either a blanket or a natural hair coat to keep it warm, may become vulnerable to sickness. During the winter months, light cotton summer blankets such as those available on eBay are also still useful when riding, acting as an extra layer of warmth for the horse beneath the saddle.

Cover from UV Rays

Horses are often blanketed during the summer months to protect them from harmful UV rays while they are grazing in the open. People also rug their horses in summer in order to prevent their coats from bleaching in the sun. Horse blankets can:

  • Prevent dark-hued horses from being bleached by the sun
  • Prevent pinker skinned horses from becoming sunburnt.
  • Protection from Bugs, Dirt, and Dust

Some blankets and rugs on eBay have matching fly masks or bonnets that can be bought separately. The lightweight fine mesh rug acts as cover, giving the horse relief from biting flies and insects during the summer. Short of shaking their heads and tails, horses have little other protection from pesky flies and bugs; this sheet is a comfortable solution.

These blankets and accessories also protect horses whose manes and coats are clipped short for show purposes. They help keep the horse’s coat free from dust, dirt, and rain should the horse be ridden in wet terrain. When a horse is given a full body clip, or even a partial "trace clip", it needs to have a blanket kept on if the summer weather cools, since the horse no longer has its full natural insulation.

Preventing Hair Growth

Besides offering protection from wind, rain and sun, horse blankets are sometimes used to keep the horses’ hair short. Some people claim that if horses or ponies are blanketed at the beginning of the autumn, they will not grow a winter coat.

Fitting a Horse Blanket

While rugs or blankets vary in their use of fabrics, with natural fibres like cotton being favoured for summer rugs, they are similar to each other in terms of style and fit. All blankets fit around a horse's body from chest to rump, with straps crossing beneath the belly to secure the blanket while allowing the horse to move about freely.
Most blankets have one or two straps that buckle across the chest, but a few designs have a closed front and must be slipped over a horse's head. Some designs also have a strap that loops lightly beneath the tail to prevent the blanket from slipping sideways.

Fitting the blanket correctly is important, otherwise it will rub and restrict movement, or hang too low on the horse and impede its movement.

Measuring the Horse

Take a tape measure and start at the centre of the chest, measuring to the widest point of the shoulder. That is the first measurement.  For the second, measure the length of the horse from the shoulder to the back of the hind quarters.

It is always best to measure the horse but if that is not possible, here is a rough guide to blanket sizing based on the horse’s height.

Height of horse

European sizes

US sizes

12.2 – 13.2 hands

5'0"/152 cm


13.2 - 14.0 h

5'3"/160 cm


14.0 - 14.2 h

5'6"/168 cm


14.2 - 15.2 h

6'0"/183 cm - 6'3"/190 cm


16.0 - 16.2 h

6'3"/190 cm - 6'6"/198 cm

75" - 78"

16.2 h

6'6"/198 cm - 6'9"/206 cm

78" - 81"

17.0 h

6'9"/206 cm - 7'0"/213 cm

81" - 84"

Further cover accessories

Any blanket may be supplemented with a neck cover or a full hood, depending on the level of protection a rider wants to give his or her horse.

Neck covers are often attached directly to the blanket.

Hoods are a separate piece of horse "clothing", which cover the neck and come down the head to just above the muzzle of the horse, with holes cut for the eyes and ears.

Tips on Purchasing a Summer Blanket


Understand What You’re Buying

With the large variety of horse blankets available on eBay today, make sure you are fully informed about the products before handing over credit card details. Consider the following:

  • Do you need a Summer Rug or a Winter Blanket?
  • Are you shopping for a fly sheet, or something with a heavier mesh?
  • Keep in mind the needs of your horse before buying the blanket to avoid any extra cost.

Saddle Blanket Costs

Owning a horse is not an inexpensive endeavour, and acquiring all the tools to keep a horse happy and healthy always add up.
Collect options for the purchase and find the most reasonably priced blanket that suits the horse’s needs. Be particularly careful to purchase a rug made from a light cotton material for summer blankets. Winter blankets are lined with heavier materials such as fleece and wool. Be sure to review the product and check for helpful reviews.
The most inexpensive blanket isn’t always the best, but there are great deals to be found on eBay. Remember that when you buy a blanket at a very low price, you may be receiving exactly what you paid for. Poor materials mean poorer quality, and may result in more expenditure on repairing broken leg straps and surcingles. It can be worth spending a little extra to buy a quality blanket that will last your horse several years.

Ask Around

Ask around and take note of trusted brands before making your purchase.

  • Talk with other horse owners and enthusiasts about their horses' blankets.
  • Make a checklist of all the benefits you want out of your horse blanket so that you avoid getting blind sighted by rave reviews or sale items.
  • Ask others what they like and dislike about their horse's blanket, and get online for product reviews. It always pays to be better informed.

How to Buy Summer Horse Rugs on eBay

When you're buying a summer horse rug on eBay, you won’t be able to try before buying so it is helpful to take and request and measurements to judge whether a summer horse rug is the right size for the horse.

To search for summer horse rugs, type into the search box ‘summer horse rugs’. Some buyers have a good idea of the type of product they want to buy, such as ‘lightweight summer neck horse rug’. Using the search feature will help you find exactly what you want.

When searching through listings, carefully review all the data. Make sure the item matches what you had in mind. Look over the photographs a couple times. Feel free to Ask the Seller a question if you want additional details. Visit the Buying Tips page for more information.

Once you’re ready to buy, either place a Bid, Buy it Now, or put down your Best Offer. Buying with PayPalwill ensure the transaction will go smoothly. eBay users are protected by the Buyer Protection Program.


A blanket is particularly useful if a horse or pony is kept outside a great deal in summer, in a field with little shade, and summer horse blankets can greatly enhance the animal’s welfare. However, the benefits will be far outweighed if the blanket is not correctly fitted to the horse, so ensure that it is the correct size before buying, and make sure to use the filter options available on eBay to ensure you have the right blanket for your horse.

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