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When it comes to competing my horses they end up getting incredibly sweaty and in the winter I need to keep them dry but warm as I cannot afford to let them get too cold as they can get chills. As winter has come and looks like it is staying for the foreseeable future evening competitions have set in which are great as apart from not being too busy it gives me time to get my horses out and back in the swing of things.
As I take a lot of equipment with me taking loads of rugs to keep them warm is just ridiculous. I needed a produce which when they have competed would wick off the sweat, keep them cool but warm - if that makes sense! This sort of rug is needed especially if I am doing more than one test (I compete in dressage) so my horse can be dried off but warm and protected somewhat from the cold weather.
The rug I bought at the beginning of winter in anticipation for winter competing is the Weatherbeeta Wick-Dri Combo Neck Cooler. In essence it is a fleece rug with a mesh overlay which goes from the base of the ears to the top of the tail. Just what I was looking for and saved me using a standard fleece rug which although kept the horse warm it struggled to wick the moisture from the sweat away.
As you can see from the picture the rug looks like it is panelled. The rug comes in navy and the lighter areas of the rug, basically the whole of the neck, shoulder panels and over the back of the rug is the fleece which acts as a lining. This fleece is very breathable which allows the moisture to wick away and will leave the horse dry. The darker area of the rug is the mesh overlay which also goes over the fleece. This helps trap heat in keeping the horse cool and comfortable. The whole rug has a light blue striped lining which really suits the rug.
The combo fleece is fastened at the front by two adjustable buckles, this means that a wide variety of horses can wear these rugs as they tend to suit most sized horses although chest expanders can be bought for those horses with very deep, wide chests. The neck portion of the rug has two touch tape closures made of velcro which help keep the neck in place. The touch tape closures can be adjusted slightly as horses all have different sized necks. To keep the rug secure there is a hidden surcingle which goes under the horse's belly (you can see it in the photo just about). The surcingle is dark blue which is in keeping of the rug, this is adjustable but not removable. At the back of the rug there is a fillet string which goes under the horse's tail, this helps keep the rug in place but it is removable should you not want to use it. The rug has nylon lined shoulders which helps to reduce any rubbing which can cause the coat to rub out.
Even though my horses are all around the same size they are different shapes and are not always in the same size rug and some brands of rug don't suit them all but Weatherbeeta seems to suit all of them and this rug seems to fit them just fine. Albeit I do find the neck of the rug is a little slim fitting and for my one lad it can be a little tight on his neck but as the velcro fastenings can be loosened then there is no problem but I think for someone who has a horse with a large neck this may not be suitable as it can be quite tight. The front of the chest gives enough room for the horse to move freely.
I tend to use this rug when my horses are competing and I use it to let them cool down and dry off either before going back home or before doing another test. It allows my horses to cool down and dry off easily and quickly ensuring they are kept comfortable. I couldn't ask for more really. Because of its ultra lightweight fleece and mesh material it is easy to store as it can be folded away. It is also machine washable which is a god send as mine are in the wash regularly. You simply put it on a cool wash and leave to dry naturally. It dries quickly and stays soft and supple.
The Weatherbeeta Wick-Dri Combo Neck Cooler is available at Weatherbeeta stockists both in store and online. Not all stores stock this rug so enquire before hand as they may have to order one in for you. However, they are readily available on line and I bought mine this way. The rug is priced at around £42.00 and sizes start from 5'0 and go up to 7'0.
I would definitely recommend this to any horse owner as it can be used as a basic fleece cooler, a stable rug liner or what I use it for. It can be used for a variety of uses making it very versatile. It won't break the bank and will last for years.