Teaching a youngster to wear a rug.

shadowboy

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I've a lovely rising 2 year old. He was a rescue so still a little 'people nervy' but generally fearless. I don't think he's ever work a rug. But yesterday he came in looking like a sweet-itch casualty (despite no rubbing signs previously) so I've gone out and bought some lotions and a sweet itch rug. Because it's crinkly and so lightweight I'm worried it will spook him putting it on. How would you go about it? I was thinking of folding it in a way I can carefully unfold it but by bit over him. Do I do the rear leg steps yet? (might help stop it blowing about but could worry him?) or shall I turn one into a fillet string?
 

Clodagh

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I would just use a towel first, lay a small towel over him and then progress to throwing it on him and pulling it off. Baby steps, it will take a week or so possibly before you can turn him out with a proper rug on.
And I hate leg straps, just go with fillet string. You will need to make sure he is happy having a piece of string under his tail, maybe use baler twine to practice.
 

shadowboy

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I would just use a towel first, lay a small towel over him and then progress to throwing it on him and pulling it off. Baby steps, it will take a week or so possibly before you can turn him out with a proper rug on.
And I hate leg straps, just go with fillet string. You will need to make sure he is happy having a piece of string under his tail, maybe use baler twine to practice.
Towel is a good idea. Not sure I've got a week by the looks of the state of him- unless the creams work their magic and keep midges at bay and smooth the skin. (I have electric taped inside his fence post and rail) but he still has a tree and field shelter to rub on :(
 

PerfectCoffee

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Baby steps - a towel first, then a lightweight rug, perhaps a summer sheet, before progressing to the fly rug. And make sure he gets used to the fly rug in the stable first so he has no room to fly off in a panic.
 

be positive

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Baby steps - a towel first, then a lightweight rug, perhaps a summer sheet, before progressing to the fly rug. And make sure he gets used to the fly rug in the stable first so he has no room to fly off in a panic.
This, better he suffers from the itching for a few days than gets in a panic from wearing the rug and ends up injuring himself, ensure he is confident before letting him go out for the first time otherwise if it slips you may struggle to catch him, some accept rugs with no problem others can really get upset and until you try you really don't know how they will respond.
 

ElleSkywalker

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Putting it on in the BHS way helps with youngsters as well although it's harder with a full neck. Turn rug inside out, then fold in half from to back, place the shoulder of rug against babies shoulder, when he's fine with that carefully flip the opposite side over so rug in correct place covering fromt of horse, when horse happy fold out the back of rug so on totally on correctly. Then do up straps.

Video below to demonstrate

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tgQI7A4jegc
 
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Gloi

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Unfortunately you will probably have to electric fence off the tree and shelter to stop him rubbing on those too.
 

matt_m

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My youngster was really not happy about this and it did take a while (longer than a week, more like several months!) but she was very scared, we started with numnahs and smaller things on the back, slowly getting her used to a gentle throwing action, then proceeded to the rug scrunched up and then slowly opening the rug. As I say it took a while and we had to take it slowly, but even when we finally did get the rug on we had to do so in the field and then let her go and have a good bronk and gallop around before she realized it wasn't going to hurt her!
 

Maesfen

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Once you get rug on (I would just point you to the Manual of Horsemanship; everyone who has horses should have a copy and learn every word in it, it is still totally relevant to every way you handle horses of all types) remember when it comes to taking it off; undo both leg straps and clip them back onto the rug; undo the surcingles (don't let them swing away and bang legs) undo the neck and front straps. Carefully fold the rug back and stand to the side as when you take it back over the rump, ten to one, pony will shoot forward so don't have anyone stand in front.

It will take you some time to be able to throw the rug on like you would with an old stager so always roll the rug up and roll it back on and off for the first few weeks.
 

shadowboy

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Thanks for all the replies. Went up with a towel. No response. Folded rug no response, unfolded rug over bottom, no response, unfolded over the shoulders - again didn't bad an eyelid. Did it up, no problemo. Did up the neck piece. No problem. Left in stable to have a wander and sniff and he just looked bemused. Took it all off and will put it on tomorrow properly in the field with OH (stronger than me to see if he's OK in open spaces) and fingers crossed he's all good. He's a pretty bombproof fella.

To those who mentioned fencing off the field shelter- I can't - its location and the fact the water trough runs down the side make it impossible. I might be able to do the tree but not electrify it.
 
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I've a lovely rising 2 year old. He was a rescue so still a little 'people nervy' but generally fearless. I don't think he's ever work a rug. But yesterday he came in looking like a sweet-itch casualty (despite no rubbing signs previously) so I've gone out and bought some lotions and a sweet itch rug. Because it's crinkly and so lightweight I'm worried it will spook him putting it on. How would you go about it? I was thinking of folding it in a way I can carefully unfold it but by bit over him. Do I do the rear leg steps yet? (might help stop it blowing about but could worry him?) or shall I turn one into a fillet string?
We always had two or three people , one holding and the other two who folded the rug into 1/4 and gently lay over back then gradually opening it up till it lay correct and walk horse around. Many horses are scared of the noise of the rug including velcro and the tinkle of buckles
 

Micropony

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Thanks for all the replies. Went up with a towel. No response. Folded rug no response, unfolded rug over bottom, no response, unfolded over the shoulders - again didn't bad an eyelid. Did it up, no problemo. Did up the neck piece. No problem. Left in stable to have a wander and sniff and he just looked bemused. Took it all off and will put it on tomorrow properly in the field with OH (stronger than me to see if he's OK in open spaces) and fingers crossed he's all good. He's a pretty bombproof fella.

To those who mentioned fencing off the field shelter- I can't - its location and the fact the water trough runs down the side make it impossible. I might be able to do the tree but not electrify it.
Awesome! What a little dude!
 

shadowboy

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We always had two or three people , one holding and the other two who folded the rug into 1/4 and gently lay over back then gradually opening it up till it lay correct and walk horse around. Many horses are scared of the noise of the rug including velcro and the tinkle of buckles
I think funnily enough having 2/3 people around him that he didn't know well would have worried him more. He was fine with the Velcro, even the boys on his neck. I needn't have worried! He's taken everything in his stride so far.
 

Enfys

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I think funnily enough having 2/3 people around him that he didn't know well would have worried him more. He was fine with the Velcro, even the boys on his neck. I needn't have worried! He's taken everything in his stride so far.
:) Glad to hear there was no drama, he sounds a sensible little chap. We often think trouble up for ourselves and it is a great surprise when there is none. :)


When I blanket my foals, which I do within 24 hours, just because I can, and it's good for them to learn, few days and job done for life.

They always react in one of 3 ways:

they either go "Ok, meh, can I eat this?" and go for a drink,

they go "OMG! It's a monster!" and run around like a loony, calm down and go for a drink,

or they freeze, totally do not move a muscle, then when they have unstuck themselves they go for a drink.

Maesfen speaks wise words, the Manual of Horsemanship is still an excellent book and should be on the required reading list for all who have anything to do with horses :)
 
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Putting it on in the BHS way helps with youngsters as well although it's harder with a full neck. Turn rug inside out, then fold in half from to back, place the shoulder of rug against babies shoulder, when he's fine with that carefully flip the opposite side over so rug in correct place covering fromt of horse, when horse happy fold out the back of rug so on totally on correctly. Then do up straps.

Video below to demonstrate

This is what I was trying to say in my post thanx for the posting this was a BHS way I was at

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tgQI7A4jegc
This is what I was trying to say in my post thanx for the posting this was a BHS way I was at only with some horses you need someone at the head to hold and on person the other side to catch the fold going over hence 3 people I said
 

Crosshill Pacers

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When I rugged my 2yo filly for the first time we spent a good 10 minutes smelling it (she hadn't developed the habit of eating everything in sight at this point), then we rubbed it up and down her neck, over her withers, down her back. Dangled the cross-straps over her back and jiggled them about a bit, then I folded it in half, flung it over her back and voila (as ElleSkywalker described).

To be fair she was already long-reining at that point and used to having harness put on but we went through the process all the same and OH said afterwards he thought I was crazy to begin with, up until the point where it was on and she hadn't moved a muscle (bearing in mind it was a MW stable rug straight out of the wrapper and making a lot of noise!). Last night was the first time I've rugged her in the stable without tying her up, because I was being stupidly lazy after a very long and tiring weekend working away and the only problem I had was when trying to do the neck velcro up and she thought she'd stand with her head between her knees.
 
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