Choosing An Exercise Sheet
During the cooler autumn and winter months many horses need some extra protection from the elements. In the field this will be a waterproof Turnout Rug. Indoors your horse will wear a stable rug. So what about during exercise?
What is an Exercise Sheet ?
An exercise sheet, also known as a quarter sheet or ride-on rug is a shortened rug designed to cover the horse’s hindquarters while he is ridden. There are many types of exercise rug available to suit different horses, uses and weather conditions.
Some styles of exercise sheet are designed to sit under the saddle during use; others sit behind the saddle or wrap around the rider and can be removed easily once the horse has warmed up.
Fleece Exercise Rugs offer warmth to the clipped horse or any horse sensitive to the cold. They are ideal for warm up to keep the loins and kidneys warm and help to prevent chills and tying up (Azoturia) and they can be removed if the horse gets too warm to prevent sweating and put back on towards the end of exercise while cooling down to prevent chills.
Waterproof exercise sheets are useful for keeping your horse dry whilst exercising in wet weather. You can buy thinner waterproof sheets to keep your horse dry during the warmer wet weather and you will find lined and filled waterproof exercise rugs useful for the colder wetter months and the heavier weight also helps prevent the sheet blowing around during windy weather.
Hi-vis exercise sheets are a great choice for hacking, especially if on the roads. By covering such a large area of the horse in high visibility material you are increasing the chance of drivers noticing you quickly. Hi-vis sheets are especially useful during poor weather or on dull days, or if you have a dark horse. Look for sheets with reflective strips on for added visibility.
Does My horse Need To Use An exercise Sheet?
There are a few factors to consider when deciding whether to use an exercise sheet.
Temperature - Is the horse cold when not wearing an exercise sheet ?
Weather - Is it very wet or very wet and cold which could lead to chills ?
Is the horse in slightly poor condition and may benefit from the extra warmth ?
Is your horse working hard in which case he may get too warm wearing a sheet causing him to sweat excessively or is he just hacking around the lanes and could do with the extra warmth ?
Does your horse suffer from tying up , also known as Azoturia ? If so a fleece sheet can help keep the muscles warm and prevent spasms that may lead to tying up.