How to measure and fit your new horse rug

Trish Rothsey

Posted on October 12 2021

How to measure and fit your new horse rug
If you're new to horses and just learning how to determine what size rug your horse needs and how to correctly fit it so it's comfortable and correct for your horse, there are a few ways to do so which we will outline below for you.

Check an existing well fitting rug
Most rugs will have a tag saying what size they are, this is generally a good place to start.

Measure your horse
This is the very best way to ensure you get the correct size rug.
You will need a soft measuring tape and someone to help you hold it.

Measure from the centre of the horse’s chest in a straight horizontal line, over the high point of the shoulder and then to the rear of the hind leg where you would expect the rug to comfortably end.

Estimate your horses rug size based on it's height
If you have no other details to go off this can act as an guide to help determine your horses rug size. Like people, every horse is different dependant on breed and every rug is different depending on the brand.

If your horse is very nary, ie a riding pony or Arab you may find you have to go down a size. Or if your horse is very broad, like a quarter horse, you may have to go up to accomodate a bit of extra width that is taken up in the rug.
what size rug for my horse

Fitting your new rug

Place the rug forward and in front of the wither. The chest buckle should be fastened to the 1st or 2nd hole. Any further back than this, and the horse may need a larger size.

Make sure the rug fits firmly around the neck and chest. This prevents the rug from “rolling” and slipping out of place


Leg straps should be looped around each other, and loose enough to prevent chafing - but not so loose that they 
hang down anywhere near the horse’s hock

To prevent mane rub, clean the satin lining on the neck rug (where applicable) once a week, and spray the mane 
with a conditioner or detangler.

Leg strap clips should face inwards (towards the horse) to reduce the chance of catching on fences or other hazards


This handy video from Zilco shows exactly how to correctly fit your horses new rug. We use and highly recommend Zilco rugs.

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