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When my new horse arrived at the beginning of January I was well aware that he wouldn't be able to be left unrugged due to the weather and cold temperatures. I was assured by the previous owner that his rug collection would come with him but I was half expecting her not too bother and in a way I am quite pleased as she clearly had not taken much care in his rugs and it gave me a huge excuse to go shopping for a new wardrobe for him. Although he is just as big as two of my other horse's I didn't have any spare stable rugs but I did manage to find out what type suit him and what size he needs.
Knowing what size and what brand suit him is far easier than going in blind and all horses fit rugs differently. My new horse is no bigger than any of the others I own yet comes up shorter than one horse who is the same height so it is vital when purchasing rugs that you do know what size you need! Amigo rugs for me seem to fit bigger horses better than other brands. Amigo is a brand owned by Horseware Ireland along with Rambo and Rhino. Amigo is known as the cheaper of the three relatives but in my opinion they offer very good quality rugs, just as good as Rambo's and Rhino's at slightly cheaper prices.
The stable rug I purchased for the newbie is one that only appeared last year and is known as the Insulator Plus Heavy. It is solely designed for indoor use as it is not waterproof and should therefore be only used indoors. I know plenty of people who do use stable rugs as under rugs for when their horses are turned out but should they get wet it just makes the horse or pony quite uncomfortable. The Insulator Plus Heavy comes with the attached neck hence the word 'plus' in the product title. It is however sold without the neck too so just make sure you purchase the correct rug but for this review I will be reviewing the rug with the attached neck.
The rug has the famous Horseware 'Classic Cut' which ensures the rugs are nice and deep on the horse which is especially vital when you have horses like me all over 16.3hh! The rug to look at just looks like an extra thick sleeping bag as it is channel quilted and to feel it is incredibly light which is surprising as it is classed as a heavyweight rug. The outer shell of the rug is made from a hi-tech nylon material which not only makes the rug soft but it is also breathable and lightweight - the lining is also made from the same super soft nylon which ensures the horse's coat is clean, shiny and more importantly the horse is comfortable.
When it comes to horse rugs to determine the weight of the rug depends on the amount of filling and what type of filling it is. Amigo use a unique thermobonded fibre fill and at 300g it is quite a heavy stable rug. The thermobonded fibre fill is designed to help keep the original structure and thickness of the rug after your horse has laid down or rolled. I have always found with stable rugs that after a while they can loose their shape and the thickness of the fill disappears so this is one aspect of the rug that really appealed to me as some stable rugs I have had to replace a bit too quickly which does become a bit expensive after a while!
The rug fastens at the front by two surcingle type buckles which are further held in place by Velcro. The only downside to these fastenings is that they cannot be adjusted so if your horse has a particularly wide chest you may need to purchase a Horseware chest expander at an extra cost - although I haven't seen one for this particular rug but I do know they do make them so it may be worth checking this out before you buy. The rug is further secured by two adjustable surcingle straps which attach to one side of the rug and cross under the horse's belly and attach to the other side. At the back there is a colour matching fillet string which goes loosely under the horse's tail, this is supposed to help keep the rug in place as well as the surcingle straps but I do find on a rug this size it doesn't really do much!
The neck is attached to the rug by three straps evenly placed around the neck area of the rug. The neck can be removed should you want to. The neck part of the rug is made from the same material as the rug itself although it doesn't have quite as much filling which is a shame. It is done up by two Velcro straps which are not adjustable. What I have found is the neck when done up is absolutely huge, so ideal for horse's with thick set necks but for my warmblood who doesn't have a particularly big neck, the neck attachment is rather big and baggy on him! Hardly a downside to the rug but it does look a bit odd! The neck attachment is easy to remove and put back on should you want to. Personally, I won't be removing the neck but it is nice to have that option.
I've had my rug for nearly 2 months now and apart from where my horse has been laying the rug is still in great condition. As said above the thermobonded fibre is meant to hold its position when a horse has laid down and I can positively say that my rug still looks as thick and padded as it did the day it came out of its packaging. Now I know 2 months isn't a long time but considering it is on the horse from 4pm to 7.30am 7 days a week that's actually pretty impressive. Never once has my horse sweated underneath this rug so I can only assume that it is heavy enough to keep him warm yet breathable which is comforting to know as horses cannot stand to be overheated and especially when over rugging can cause dehydration you do anything you can to keep your horse comfortable!
All the fittings and fastenings on the rug are use to do up and to alter and the lining has managed to keep my horse's coat smooth and clean and has not rubbed in any area (notably shoulders and mane) which is even better. Apart from the bagginess of the attached neck I really can't complain about this rug whatsoever. Considering it is a heavyweight rug it is light to put on and hopefully incredibly light on the horse's back. I would without doubt recommend this rug to any horse owner as a great winter stable rug.
~ Useful Info ~
Brand: Amigo by Horseware
Sizes: 5'6 to 7'3
Colour: Gun metal and aqua
Price: £60.00 upwards