Buying Horse Rugs online can be a little daunting if it's your first time. We have put together this comprehensive guide to help make it easy to get the correct size horse rug and help get a better understanding of the appropriate horse rug sizes when purchasing a from our website. This horse rug fitting guide can be used to understand the way in which Caribu horse rugs are measured in relation to your horse and your existing rug brands. The size of each horse changes
Comparing our Rug Sizes to other brands.
We are often asked if Caribu rug sizing are considered to be a generous fit or a smaller fit. Unfortunately, the answer depends on the brand, the country and the size of the rug you are comparing it to.
A mismatched rug size to your horse will cause rubbing, along with a series of other potential risks. Our Rug Fitting Guide will provide you with information and images of how a horse rug should sit on your horse.
Caribu rugs are always true to size and based on standard Australian sizing. If a rug is advertised as a 6'3", it will measure 6'3" (190.5cm) along the lower section of the rug, measured from the binding in between the chest buckles, rearwards along the length of the rug, to the rear edge of the rug. We also use a standard neckline, not high cut like some brands or with deep curved necklines like others.
2 ways to find the best size rug for your horse:
Option 1: Measure Your Horse
This is the most accurate way to get the correct rug size. Measure in a straight line from the center of the horse's chest (where the top chest buckle would sit), around the shoulder, along the side of the belly to the furthest rear point of the rump, or where you expect the rug to finish. Make sure not to measure around to the tail as this will add a few extra inches. It's a good idea to measure both sides more than once! This measurement can be used as a guide for your rug size.
An easy way to measure your horse is to use a tape measure that has imperial measurements on it (i.e.: feet and inches). Measure your horse in the same way as mentioned above. As you get to the horse's rump you can get an idea of where each size horse rug size will finish. Using the tape as a guide, check where you would expect the horse rug to finish and see how it relates to imperial sizing. For example, a 6'0 rug will measure 6'0, so considering the 3-inch intervals in sizing that horse rugs follow, and you can get an idea where a 5'9 or even a 6'3 will finish. Some people find this an easier method for measuring because it will help you understand where each horse rug size will finish.
Option 2 : Measure an existing rug that fits;
If you can we would recommend that you measure both your horse and an existing rug that fits. Having two measurements to compare will help confirm your sizing.
When you are measuring an existing rug, try not to use a waterproof turnout, but simple normal cotton or mesh paddock rug or similar. Turnouts horse rugs tend to be slightly longer to cater for chest overlap, and this will complicate the way you need to measure your existing horse rug.
Don't rely on the sizing label on your existing rug, older rugs usually have stretched or shrunk or the way a manufacturer has listed may not be true to size. Keep in mind that Turnout rugs follow a slightly different fit/sizing (see horse rug size chart below). To measure an existing rug, measure from the front edge of the rug, between the two chest straps, along the length of the rug, with the gusset closed, to the rear edge of the rug.
|Metric Size||AUS Size||NZ Size|
|99cm||Size 3'3||Size 2'|
|107cm||Size 3'6||Size 2'3|
|115cm||Size 3'9||Size 2'6|
|123cm||Size 4'0||Size 2'9|
|130cm||Size 4'3||Size 3'|
|137cm||Size 4'6||Size 3'3|
|145cm||Size 4'9||Size 3'6|
|152cm||Size 5'0||Size 3'9|
|160cm||Size 5'3||Size 4'|
|168cm||Size 5'6||Size 4'3|
|175cm||Size 5'9||Size 4'6|
|183cm||Size 6'0||Size 4'9|
|191cm||Size 6'3||Size 5'|
|198cm||Size 6'6||Size 5'3|
|206cm||Size 6'9||Size 5'6|
|213cm||Size 7'0||Size 5'9|
The next step - Check the fit of your horse rug
Put the rug on the horse, it should sit forward and in front of the wither. The top chest buckle should be fastened to the tightest or second to last hole. If you are using the third hole or more, it may suggest the horse may need a larger rug size. The rug should sit firmly around the neckline and chest.
Leg straps should be loose enough to prevent chafing - but not hanging down low. Surcingles should be adjusted so that they allow a hand's width between straps and belly.
Rugs that are too big for a horse tend to create more problems from rubbing and chaffing than rugs that are too small. If a rug is too big in the neck area, the rugs slip back over the wither and put pressure on the chest. This will cause more fabric to hang over the rear end of the horse and you will have issues with slippage and horses getting caught in surcingles and stepping on their rugs when getting up or rolling.
The seam where the tail flap attaches to the rug should sit on top of the tail. If it sits beyond the tail, the rug is too big, if it sits up in front of the tail, the rug is too small.
Check out our Rug Fitting Guide on this link - to see information and images of how a horse rug should sit on your horse.
Differences Between the different Styles of Caribu Rugs
We use a similar design cut across our entire range of Caribu horse rugs. We have used the same style on our rugs for nearly 10 years and with thousands of rugs produced each year. However, every horse is different and it's important to get the size right for your horse. Sometimes your horse just has features that need a more specialised cut (i.e. very high wither or a very broad chest etc). Across the different styles of our rugs, you will get variations is drops etc depending on the style of rug, but the necklines will be very similar. Different fabrics will also sit differently. For example, a flag combo will sit a little differently to a ripstop combo.
The only exception to our consistent design, is our Synthetic denier waterproof turnout rugs and combos.
Different sizing is used on waterproof synthetic turnout rugs. Typically, synthetic turnout horse rugs, such as lined winter rugs and rain sheets, follow a slightly different sizing rule. This is due to the way waterproofing is applied and is to help avoid pressure points when layering rugs underneath in the cooler weather. Turnout rugs allow extra length in the chest area to allow the front edges of the rug to overlap behind the chest buckles, providing extra insulation and waterproofing. As such our Turnouts, as do most leading brands, will generally measure approx 4cm longer, along the lower length of the rug to cater for chest overlap. This also makes the rugs a little roomier in the chest if needed.
You will also often see sizing for items such as hoods, boots, bridles etc are referred to Pony / Cob or Full sizing. As a guide, the following is usually considered the industry standard:
|Rug Size||Hood Size|
|Size 2' to Size 3'||Mini/XS Pony|
|Size 3'3 to Size 3'6||XS Pony|
|Size 3'9 to Size 4'||Pony|
|Size 4'3 to Size 5'||Cob|
|Size 4'9 to Size 5'6||Full|
|Size 5'6 to Size 5'9||XL Full|
In some of our styles, 6'0 is available with either a Cob or Full-sized hood attached. Generally, we only recommend a COB size hood with a 6'0 rug which fits 90% of horses. A Full size hood is a large hood and generally only used on larger Thoroughbred's and Warmbloods.
In some of our styles, 6'3 is available with either a Full or Cob size hood attached. Generally, we only recommend a Full size hood with a 6'3 rug which fits 90% of horses. Sometimes the shorter, broader horses, need the bigger rug size, but the smaller hood size (i.e Quarter Horse builds etc).
Below are our approx hood size measurements:
1 - is the measurement from point of the poll rearwards back along the crest of the hood to the rear hem of the hood.
2 - is the measurement from point of poll down the center of the face to the bottom edge of the hood.
3 - is the total of 1 & 2, measured along the top seam of the hood from nose point to rear binding edge
*please note the location of the point of the poll will vary from horse to horse, so please use as an approximation only. No 3 will also vary slightly depending on how tight you pull the fabric. We have a detailed guide on using and adjusting hoods and masks here. Also keep in mind that you will get a little variation in fit from one hood to the next, and one fabric to the next. While they are made from the same design template, they are all hand cut and hand sewn, which will create small variations in each hood.
Comparing Caribu Sizes to Other Rugs:
When it comes to comparing sizing, we used to see many brands made especially for the Australian market and sizing. However in recent years, many manufacturers (including more than a few big name brands) have switched to manufacturing one rug size for distribution in all markets - Europe, UK, US and Australia, and the rugs are usually based on European sizing. Each region measures their rugs differently. Europe measures their rugs along the top of the rug, from wither to tail and refers to this size in centimetres i.e.: 155cm, 165cm etc.
The European method of sizing can vary a rug size significantly, depending if the neckline is high cut or low cut. Hence their sizing doesn't always slot in neatly with Australian sizing when a manufacturer comes to label these designs for the Australian market. It's not unusual for such a rug to be out by half a sizing or more, depending on if the rug has been labelled up or down to find the closest equivalent sizing. i.e.: a rug can be labelled as a 6'0, but when you measure them as described below, they can be closer to 5'9 or even 6'3.
If you have another brand of rug that currently fits your horse - don't rely on its sizing tag. Measure the rug - that way you can never go wrong.
Common Sizing Issues
Common mistakes that affect sizing:
- Don't rely on your existing brand's size label - measure the rug to find its true size as many manufacturers rugs are not true to size.
- Some necklines on certain brands are often very deep cut (or poorly designed!) and this has the effect of making the rug a much bigger fit compared to better fitting brands in the same size.
- Winter or lined/padded rugs are often a tighter fit when compared to summer ripstop rugs or sheets. This is due to the fact that the padding takes up additional space. Also keep in mind, that if you use a summer sheet, wool, fleece or similar rug under your winter rug to create layers - this adds more padding again and has the potential to create a tighter fit again. If your horse is normally borderline between sizes in a normal summer rug, this may mean the difference between going up or down a size.
- Young horses often have underdeveloped chests, which can make them a challenge to a rug. Often a dart in the shoulder line can take up the slack and be taken out when the horse fills out.
We hope this information is useful and helps you purchase your horse rugs online with confidence.