* Prices may differ from that shown
My new horse arrived at the beginning of January which I was incredibly excited about. However, the previous owner had advised that he would be coming with a full wardrobe i.e. he'd have rugs, tack etc. Unfortunately about two hours before he was due to arrive I was told via text by the previous owner that due to being rushed off her feet she couldn't get all his things together and he'd simply have a spare rug. He turned up on the back of a lovely horsebox looking like he'd been pulled through a hedge backwards. I simply put him in his stable and will temperatures being so low I tried various rugs on him to get an idea of size and fit. Once I'd done that I'd have to go to my local equestrian store and buy what I could!
Because of his size I had no spare rugs and the types of rugs that are on my other horses just didn't suit his build but I knew one brand that would. Horseware Ireland - they are a reputable, global company who make a variety of horsewear and rider wear but they are most famous for their rugs. They have three main brands; Rambo, Rhino and Amigo. In my local store they only stock Amigo which is fine as the rugs although slightly cheaper than the Rambo and Rhino ranges are in my opinion just as good. Due to him having nothing I did have to buy a few and fortunately January is time for the sales and I managed to get a good few bargains especially when the size I needed is not particularly popular - I buy a 7ft3 (measured from shoulder to top of the tail!).
The first rug I spotted was the Horseware Amigo Bravo 12 Plus. It is known as a heavyweight rug and was exactly what I needed for the next few months especially when he is the breed he is and that his coat had been fully clipped. This rug is available in two 2011/2012 colours either black and white or thyme and magenta. The only 7ft3 happened to be in the latter colour which was perfectly fine with me as its just going to end up covered in mud anyway! Sizes in this rug start from 5 ft 6 and go up to 7 ft 3 - Amigo do a pony version in the smaller sizes which is obviously slightly cheaper.
This rug is for turnout use as it is completely waterproof. The outer shell of the rug is made from an incredibly tough 1200 denier polyester - basically higher the denier the tougher the rug and this is one of the toughest on the market currently! Although made from a high denier the rug is still flexible and soft enough to keep the horse comfortable whilst being active outside. The lining of the rug is made from a breathable nylon lining which apart from keep you're your horse comfortable it also helps keep the coat nice and clean. The filling is made from a thermobonded fibrefill and has 400g's of the stuff which makes it an incrediblt warm rug. Based on the principle above the more fibrefill the warmer the rug. At 400g's it is one of the warmest rugs on the market. The whole rug has taped seams keeping it waterproof on the outside enabling it to keep your horse warm and dry.
The design of the rug is somewhat different than other brands as Horseware Ireland own a patented front leg arch which is at the front of the rug and makes the rug slightly deeper at the front ensuring that the rug ends up being 'wrapped' around your horse giving it extra protection and coverage from the elements. Because my horse is tall, I find some brands are not deep enough on him but this rug fits him perfectly, it covers him well and because of the classic original cut and the deep front leg arch it is deep enough on him to be well covered and protected. The rug also features a tail flap at the back of the rug which is a decent size and covers a fair amount of his tail. A tail flap is simply there again to protect from the elements and is made from the same material as the rug itself, it just has no filling.
The 'Plus' version of this is a 'Plus' because it comes complete with the detachable hood. This attaches to the top of the rug near the withers and fits just behind the horse's ears. It has three attachments should you want to remove it, I personally haven't removed it and I won't be as should it be warm enough for the neck to be removed my horse will go into a lighter weight rug. The hood itself is again the same material as the rug and is the same thickness, therefore ensuring that your horse apart from being completely protected is kept warm! The hood does up by two velcro straps which are heavy duty so probably won't come undone when the horse is out in the field. The hood is designed not to move in the wind to the point that it uncovers the horse's neck, ensuring it is kept warm and protected at all times.
To keep the rug secure there are two surcingle type buckles at the front which are not adjustable which is a slight downside if you have a particularly narrow or wide horse but there is velcro to help keep the buckles in place. There are two adjustable surcingles at the one side of the rug which cross under the horse's belly and fasten to the other side. These are fully adjustable so they can be suited to all horse types, just don't have them too loose or too tight as apart from discomfort they can be quite dangerous if left too loose. At the back of the rug instead of leg straps there is just a tail strap which goes from one side of the rug to the other and goes under the tail. This is removable and can be adjusted. It just helps to keep the rug in place too.
My horse has been wearing his rug for just over a month now and so far I am incredibly pleased with it. The fit on him is perfect, despite the neck rug being a bit too large on him in depth, I am not too concerned as it keeps him protected and warm. Despite it being a very heavy and tough rug it isn't particularly heavy to get on the horse as it is nicely padded but certainly doesn't weigh the horse down. My horse has come in to his stable every afternoon nice and cosy and hasn't once had a sweat when wearing it outside. The rug is lovely and deep on him considering his size which is nice as some brands in that size seem to be quite shallow fitting but this rug keeps him well protected all round. Even through heavy downpours and the snow this has kept him warm and dry and best of all it hasn't rubbed his neck or shoulders which are the usual places for an ill-fitting rug to rub but this hasn't rubbed him anywhere.
Overall, I am really impressed with this rug as it has done everything I need it to and more. It fits my horse well, it doesn't rub and it keeps him warm and dry. The fit on him is lovely and deep so I know when he is out in the field he is protected from the elements and for anyone knowing anything about Lincolnshire it is always windy especially when there are no wind breakers/barriers across flat land! I wouldn't hesitate in recommending this rug to any horse owner if looking for a decent, reliable and well made rug. Yes, it is on the slightly pricey side but sometimes certain items are worth the extra especially when you know apart from fitting your horse perfectly, you'll get great value for money as it will last for years. 5 stars from me and my horse!!
~ Useful Info ~
Brand: Amigo by Horseware Ireland
Colours: Black and White or Thyme and Magenta
Sizes: 5ft6 up to 7ft3
Price: From £88 upwards to around £130 depending where you buy
Availability: All Amigo stockists.