“ Brand: Weatherbeeta / Type: Equestrian - Rug „
When it comes to winter my one horse can over heat a lot. He seems to get very uncomfortable very easily and unlike my other two who seem to require plenty of layers Hugo on the other hand requires very little to keep him warm. However, he has his fur coat clipped right at the start of the winter due to being ridden so often and that he lives in a stable during the night and when he is out in the field during the day he does require a rug which keeps him suitably warm but not too warm so he overheats. Over the years it has been a bit hit or miss with rugs in trying to keep him comfortable as horses really do not cope well with being uncomfortable.
A few years ago I decided that when the cold weather sets in (but not the freezing weather!) he cannot cope with wearing a rug which has an attached neck (covering him up to the ears) as he seems to sweat immediately. I therefore purchased a heavy weight rug (its too cold for anything less than a heavy weight rug) which had a slightly extended neck but allowed the rest of his neck to be open to the elements but by having a rug which only partially covered his neck it was far more breathable allowing him to keep warm but not over heat.
The rug in question is the Weatherbeeta Taka Contour Freestyle High Neck Rug. I had stopped myself purchasing this rug in the past because of its expensive price tag (the Taka range was incredibly expensive) but I managed to get a brand new one on EBay for a reduced price which I was happy to pay.
As I said above this is a heavy weight rug and has a whopping 400g of extra warm polyfill, basically higher the polyfill the warmer the rug. This rug is one of Weatherbeeta's heaviest rugs. Despite the large amount of polyfill the rug is still quite easy to carry especially when taking it to and from the stable to rug up the horse. The 100% waterproof outer shell of the rug has an extra strong 1260 denier polyester and nylon outer - again higher the denier stronger it is. The outer shell of this rug is lovely and smooth but incredibly tough and durable. I've had this rug for about 4 years now and it hasn't been ripped or torn once apart from the odd little marks it has proved very durable. The rug also has taped seams which helps keep the rug waterproof.
On the inside of the rug there is a moisture wicking lining which is incredibly smooth. This is ideal for Hugo who sweats easily, the lining is also anti-rub so there won't be any bald patches on the usual areas such as the shoulder. The lining I find also helps keep the horse's coat soft and shiny. The high neck of the rug is also lined so apart from giving extra protection from the elements it won't rub the horse's mane or withers. The tail flap on this rug is incredibly large and known as a wrap around tail flap. This again helps protect the horse from the elements. I find that even on Hugo who is a very large horse the tail flap is incredibly deep and hangs just above his hocks on his back legs. Again the tail flap is nylon lined which prevents rubbing to the top of the tail.
The rug features the freedom gusset which is at the shoulder. This gives the horse greater freedom of movement when out in the field. The rug is fastened at the front by clip and D ring front closures. I like the style of these clips but they are not as adjustable as buckles and the springs in the clips can fail after a while and have to be replaced but they are incredibly easy to do up when the rug is on the horse. My favourite feature of the rug is the belly flap which covers nearly all of my horse's belly (again protection from the elements). The belly flap is exactly the same material as the main body of the rug and is fastened by low adjustable surcingles with keyhole fittings. At the back of the rug there are adjustable and removable leg straps which cross through the horses back legs. These help keep the rug in position on the horse and they making it a bit more secure. There is the usual Weatherbeeta ID badge on the inside of the rug and on the outside the Weatherbeeta badge is reflective.
I can understand why this rug is so expensive as it has so many high quality features. For me, this rug suits Hugo for this time of year as he doesn't overheat in it but it provides him with the protection he needs as he simply cannot go without a rug or a lighter rug when the colder weather starts to set in. I've owned this rug for 4 years and even though every year I have had it professionally washed and re-waterproofed the padding to this rug certainly still feels the same and it has always come up as good as new even when it has been caked in mud from many rolls in the field! The rug has never leaked but I do suspect that, that is because I have it re-waterproofed every year as leaving a rug for years without re-waterproofing it will lead to a rug leaking. The outer-shell of the rug is incredibly tough but despite this it is incredibly soft. I find the rug incredibly easy to fasten once on the horse and none of the fittings have gone rusty and are still in near perfect condition - I have however had to replace a clip at the front due to the spring going in it.
The original RRP for this rug was around £100.00 which fortunately I managed to get a good discounted price. Weatherbeeta unfortunately do not sell the Taka Contour range anymore, they do however have the Taka range which is slightly similar but they do not do the high neck version of the heavy weight rug which I think is a real shame as I would definitely have invested. This rug is available at some select online Weatherbeeta retailers but sizes are limited I have found it on one website and it currently costs £55.00 which is a bargain especially if you find it in the size you want! Colours available are smoke/silver, black/slate and plum.
If you can get this rug in your horse's size then I would definitely recommend that you buy it. Not just suitable for horses who sweat in combo rugs but also ideal for cob types and hardy ponies who need the warmth but don't need to be too covered up. I wouldn't be without mine and I would definitely buy it again if I could find it in my horse's size!