Buying horse rugs for my boy is an absolute nightmare! At a huge 17'3, with a short and compact back, a stocky build and a deep chest, rug fitting can be a challenge.
A problem I often found would be the rubbing on his shoulders and chest due to rugs slipping back. After looking at the design of my current rugs I figured a different shaped cut might help.
This I found in the Masta Regal range. My first purchase was the heavyweight in a plum colour, I fell in love with it and it fitted so much better!
The lightweight was an obvious choice or my next purchase, and again it fitted well.
The darts are in a good place to allow for roomy shoulder movement, the cut of the neck helps stop the rug from slipping back and rubbing. All of that whilst still looking stylish, being fairly hardy and at an affordable price.
Since acquiring a new horse, Petra, I haven't really had to buy her anything other than feed and a few new brushes (you shouldn't use the same brushes on every horse) but one thing she did need was a stable rug for the warmer months as all of hers were either too heavy or they had an attached neck which would be far too warm for her. So not wanting to pay a lot for something she would wear for a short time the search was on.
After visiting various websites and my local tack shops I ended up buying a rug off the internet which I had seen in store, they just hadn't had the size I needed (Petra is a big girl and requires a 7'3 rug!). The rug I purchased was the Masta Regal Standard Lightweight Stable Rug. I don't normally buy Masta rugs but they seem to fit her well and as I got it at such a good price I couldn't turn it down.
Masta are a major manufacturer when it comes to horse rugs as well as other equestrian equipment in the UK. They are an incredibly reputable brand and produce well made items. The Regal stable rug comes in several weights not just a lightweight but also a heavyweight. Basically the weight of a rug is determined by the amount of polyfill it has. I opted for the lightweight as it's suitable for the warmer months of spring/ summer so ideal for this time of year.
The Regal stable rug is made from polyester and the outer shell of the rug is 420 denier which basically means that higher the denier then tougher the rug. Due to being a stable rug the outer shell of the rug is soft and smooth and not toughened therefore it won't withstand rips or tears so you do have to be careful when storing the rug that it isn't placed anywhere near nails etc. The rug is twin channel quilted which gives a nice effect to the rug; it also makes it look very similar to a sleeping bag!
The rug has a lightweight fill of 170g of polyfill so therefore incredibly light and even though I have such a large rug it is still light and easy to put on her or carry around. The rug is lined with soft polyester which helps keep the coat soft and clean and there is also an anti-rub satin lining in the chest area of the rug which although says anti-rub it will still rub slightly especially if you have an ill-fitting rug. As you can see from the picture the rug features a slightly extended neck which helps reduce wither pressure and increase warmth ideal for Petra as she is currently going out her winter clip and therefore her coat is shorter compared to other horses. Inside the extended neck there is a fleece wither pad which apart from providing comfort to the horse it also helps reduce rubbing to the mane and withers.
The rug has an extra deep pattern and will therefore be deeper on a horse than most stable rugs but this helps keep in the warmth whilst the horse is in the stable. Ideal as they spend a lot of time standing still and not moving around. The rug features two large shoulder gussets at the front of the rug, despite not moving around much in the stable the gussets will allow the horse to move freely without restriction should they choose to move around. The rug also features a tail flap which can be unusual for a stable rug as the tail flap is generally meant to protect the horse from the harsh elements but inside the stable a horse is protected but Masta have put one on the Regal rug which is perfectly fine by me and it is exactly the same material/ thickness as the rug itself.
Most rugs have standard fastenings and this is no different. There are two front buckles at the front which are adjustable. For wide or deep chested horses you can get a buckle expander which is a separate item which can be used when the normal buckles are not adjustable enough. There are two adjustable surcingles at the one of the rug which cross under the horse's belly and fasten to the rug on the other side. The surcingles help keep the rug in place and secure on the horse. There is a fillet string at the back of the rug which fastens at the back of the rug and goes loosely under the horse's tail - this can be removed should you not want to use it. The fillet string helps to keep the rug in place although I don't use them as on such big rugs they have no real effect.
Masta rugs don't normally fit my other horses too well for one reason or another but on Petra they do the job just fine. The Regal stable rug is lovely and deep on her which is great as because she is so big (17.2hh) rugs don't normally come very deep on her but the Regal is deep enough to keep her warm. She has a 7ft3 rug and it fits her nicely although because of the extended neck it does gape slightly and is a bit too loose but this is because she doesn't have a lot of muscle in her neck at the moment.
All the fastenings are easily adjusted and are nicely colour coded with the rug. I opted for the shade 'aubergine' and it is a past season colour hence the price I paid but that's perfectly fine with me. The rug keeps her warm and come the morning she is nice and toasty without being too hot or sweaty which is ideal as although she has an indoor stable there is a draft and it is nice to have her warm.
I really can't complain about this stable rug as it does exactly what I want it to do. She is warm, dry and comfortable so I can't moan! Definitely something worth looking at if you require a lightweight stable rug for this time of year. Even better if you find it in a past season colour as they are sometimes cheaper!
Availability: Online or in store - Masta stockists
Sizes: 4ft6 to 7ft3
Colours: red/navy and graphite (spring/summer 11 colours)
Price: RRP £60.99 (I paid £29.99 for mine)