Do horses really want to wear rugs?


Research in Norway did a trial on 23 horses where they taught them to point to symbols to indicate whether they wanted their rugs on or off.  It took two weeks to train the horses how to use the symbols.  The results were astounding.  Not only did it take just two weeks to train the horses to use the symbols,  but the horses clearly asked for the rugs to be taken off in warmer weather and on in cooler weather.  Each horse preference varied, of course, as some didn’t want a rug at all and each had different thresholds for when they felt the need for a rug.

It was clear, however, that as the weather warmed up, horses wanted their rugs off.

A summary of the research can be seen in this SBS news article.

The full article can be read in the Applied Behaviour Science Journal.  It is interesting to note that no horse wanted a rug on if it was over 15C and sunny.

So let’s  not over rug our horses!!