Jen Harrison who bought a CoolHeat Rug for her horse, Sky

Published: Monday, 3 September 2012 | Written by: intellig

Sky is a horse who doesn’t need a rug, and that’s fine with me; I’m very happy that she lives as naturally and freely as possible whilst benefitting from the things I can do for her to make her life better like feeding her appropriately and exercising her as regularly as I can. When it comes to riding in the winter, though, I must admit I was struggling – working full time and having to devote some time to family/friends (however grudgingly!) there are not many daylight hours in British winter time in which to ride. In those few precious hours I would arrive at the farm to find my gorgeous mare covered from head to hoof in sticky, wet clay mud. Come rain or shine our horses, despite having 24 hour free access to shelter, choose to roam for the majority of the time. So I would lunge or walk to exercise, or leave her to dry off and then brush her if time allowed. I even considered rugging her again so that I would get to ride, but could never bring myself to do it – anyone who has a horse who just loves to roll, scratch and cover themselves in mud is hard pressed to remove that pleasure entirely!

Then I was introduced to the concept of the CoolHeat, and it sounded really interesting. A rug that allows your horse to still self-regulate their temperature, that can be put on whether they are wet, dry, hot, cold, muddy or clean, and which actually helps to stimulate blood circulation rather than hinder. Eventually I was persuaded, and parted with my hard earned cash. So, has it worked? Well Sky is still unrugged for the majority of the time, but I put the CoolHeat on the night before I’m planning to ride so that I never have to abandon my plans because of bad weather. She has never overheated in it, despite the fact that she has a full arctic coat and lives out through all snow and frost rugless, nor has it rubbed or seemed to inconvenience her in any way. It goes on no matter what state she is in – muddy, sweaty, rain-soaked – and she dries out beautifully underneath without getting too hot or cold. In fact if you reach your hand in underneath the hair is still cool to the touch, so there’s no ghastly overheating which every other rug I’ve ever used has resulted in. I wouldn’t use anything else on her now (unless they invent a rug that prevents laminitis!) and I can’t recommend this enough to responsible horse owners who value the fact that their horse is perfectly capable of regulating their own temperature, given the opportunity, but need a practical solution to wet and mud in the winter!

There are 2 funny things about this rug which I wasn’t expecting, however. Firstly Sky loves to roll in it; the plastic inserts seem to give a massaging effect and she just can’t get enough of it. This is a horse who leans into a good scrubbing with a rubber currycomb, so she revels in the fact she can do it herself in the CoolHeat (I don’t think it’s a problem for horses with sensitive skin either, my friend has a delicate arab on whom the rug has the same effect of making him roll and he seems to love it too!). Secondly, and finally (and possibly most importantly of all!), this rug cleans my horse! Sky is white. Well, in the winter she is actually mostly mud-brown on an off-white background. Even if the CoolHeat goes on her completely wet and muddy, it comes off and she is dry and gleaming white. I now joke that my grooming fairies have visited, and it means that getting out for a ride takes even less effort! I know think of the CoolHeat as an indispensable tool in my winter arsenal which means I get to enjoy riding my horse even in the worst weather, without worrying about her temperature or comfort.

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