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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec. 21, 2005
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    517

    Default Experience with New Zealand horse rugs (canvas rugs)?

    Anyone have any experience with 'New Zealand rugs'? These are waxed canvas turnout sheets, the heavier ones are lined with wool. The advantages I can see is that they are very breathable, being made from a natural material. I think they would be good for changeable weather and people I know swear by their durability. Being from North America I'm only familiar with synthetic blankets and I'm wondering if I should blanket my horse as the locals do using canvas rugs. There are more options than the standard heavy canvas cover, there are ones made from lighter canvas and lined with cotton.

    I wish there were trial covers like there are for trial saddles!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2003
    Location
    MI USA
    Posts
    7,332

    Default

    The old genuine New Zealand rugs were the original outside blankets in the USA before the synthetics were available. People loved them for their toughness, but hated them for their weight when you took them off! You would sometimes run into "copies" that were not as well made, didn't hold up to use. The canvas lasted for years, worth the price to buy them, easily repaired for longer wear.

    Disadvantages were rubbing if horse was the wrong shape, seemed to fit the TB types better, but this was in the days before Warmblood or Sporthorse types were even visible anyplace.

    Shopping in the modern horse world, I would expect the NZ rugs to have more shapes than just TB available. Perhaps you could try the rug on horse, see how it fits.

    I think the changeover to synthetic fabrics is ease of care, lighter weight, and more options in color and fit. I never heard of a well oiled NZ rug failing to keep the horse inside it dry and warm. If it needed recoating, the canvas could and would, absorb water, need removal from the horse to dry. Drying could take a week or more in cold weather. Weight of soaked rug could literally drag a small person down to the ground upon removal from equine! Lots of folks locally, bought Thompsons Water Seal wood preservative and just painted it on the canvas blankets for water proofing each year after cleaning. Seemed to work, their horses stayed dry with rugs on. I don't ever remember seeing the NZ rug waterproofing oil or wax coating sold anyplace!



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr. 8, 2005
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    4,386

    Default

    I never had an original, but had a couple of knock-offs. They lasted for years and years, and if I had the ambition to fix the surcingle thingies, I could probably still use them. I keep them around in case of an ice storm so I can waterproof a couple more of the outside herd if need be- baler twine works just dandy on the old girls that aren't tough on blankies. Anyway, I liked them well enough, but like everyone else said they are heavy! I never re-waterproofed any of mine, but I never washed them either- I'd just hose off the outside and brush off the inside. Even when the rugs looked wet on the outside, the horse underneath was dry and toasy warm.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb. 23, 2005
    Location
    Spotsylvania, VA
    Posts
    13,220

    Default Once upon a time

    NZ rugs were the only ones available and yes they did keep a horse warm and dry.

    However the better quality modern omes work just as well IMHO and are much easier to handle
    I wasn't always a Smurf
    Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
    "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
    The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2002
    Location
    West Coast of Michigan
    Posts
    36,321

    Default

    Back in the day they were the best option. Now, with the newer technical fabrics, fillers, and design, they are (by comparison) dinosaurs. Heavy, stiff, musty, and impossible to clean.

    I would never own one now, with all the wonderful horse clothing options available.
    Click here before you buy.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep. 1, 2004
    Location
    north of Atlanta GA
    Posts
    3,747

    Default

    They suck! Heavy as heck, impossible to clean and not really waterproof. If you get the thing wet it takes eternity to dry. It would be like buying an 8-track when you have an ipod available.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov. 9, 2005
    Location
    uk
    Posts
    15,268

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by goodhors View Post
    The old genuine New Zealand rugs were the original outside blankets in the USA before the synthetics were available. People loved them for their toughness, but hated them for their weight when you took them off! You would sometimes run into "copies" that were not as well made, didn't hold up to use. The canvas lasted for years, worth the price to buy them, easily repaired for longer wear.

    Disadvantages were rubbing if horse was the wrong shape, seemed to fit the TB types better, but this was in the days before Warmblood or Sporthorse types were even visible anyplace.

    Shopping in the modern horse world, I would expect the NZ rugs to have more shapes than just TB available. Perhaps you could try the rug on horse, see how it fits.

    I think the changeover to synthetic fabrics is ease of care, lighter weight, and more options in color and fit. I never heard of a well oiled NZ rug failing to keep the horse inside it dry and warm. If it needed recoating, the canvas could and would, absorb water, need removal from the horse to dry. Drying could take a week or more in cold weather. Weight of soaked rug could literally drag a small person down to the ground upon removal from equine! Lots of folks locally, bought Thompsons Water Seal wood preservative and just painted it on the canvas blankets for water proofing each year after cleaning. Seemed to work, their horses stayed dry with rugs on. I don't ever remember seeing the NZ rug waterproofing oil or wax coating sold anyplace!
    yeap agree, god i had these rugs when i 1st started out in horses i have one left
    they are now at the cheape end of the rug markets here in uk you can buy them for about 20quid , altho they worked well, if it got wet then it would take yonks to dry so you always needed 2 or three rugs for turnout, as it would take days for one dry out, and yeah agree they were so heavy when wet, the older ones started out with one sur single, which would put a lot of pressure on the withers so owners in uk used to stuff a sponge underneath it, as in unpick the stitching , then later they came with a loop at the top of the withers which

    aliminatied the pressure a couple years on then they came out with the new style which it is of today with x overstraps at the belly so the belly straps are on the sides of the rug, afew other companies did ones where they was seemless and no belly straps, just leg straps and if you measured the horse properly they wouldnt move, as the sides of the rug were long, previous canvas rugs were short in comparison whereby you could often see the horse belly below the rug,
    later companies improved the design whereby you had one strap that link all the legs and belly and did it up at the front really weird but worked well

    then today in the modern world the synephetic rugs have also improved tremendaously where by they have plenty of colours different weights and linnings also the
    better ones have high neck lines and pleated or darted withers so it moves with the horse this again takes out the pressure sores that used to be apparent with the old new zealand rugs, for exsample the old nz rugs were low cut neck lines so had huge neck and often slipped back or the pony.horse fell out of the front, to compensate that happening owners like myself in them days used to dart the front by folding it down with a wool x stitch so when it rain it wet down the rug and not inside the rug and often people would glue in bin liners to prevents rug rubs at the front end

    would i buy another canvas rug urm no to much work and often causes a lot of pressure sores on the horse at the withers and front end plus the leg straps are made of cow hide and although they had a buckle and the strap had holes in them or it was hook to clip into a hole on the rug a agian the stiff leather often casued sore on the the legs and othen even with crossing them or looping them inside each other the horse would get rubs to a degree of hair missing just above the hook, people in uk use to make sleeves for the rugs to stop this happening to,

    today as i said the out door rugs have improved they now all have x over sursingles at the sides of the rug as not like this I I but like this X so it crosses un the belly which eleaviates the pressure from the top of the withers or the back, they also have front adjustable straps and adjustable leg straps and also have a fillet string which often people cant be arse to use but in all honesty they should as this closes the rug at the back end under the tail so it doesnt flip up, they also now incorporate a tial flap which the old canvas ones did not , and denium used is different weights , you have neck cover incorporated in the rug or as a serperate,

    to be honest the old canvas rugs like i siad are the cheaper end of the market
    i can get them trade for a tenner would i buy another no

    reasons - they are heavy, they take ages to dry, and even if you mesured your horse properly they give as in when dry they slack so horsey can walk out of his rug when they wet they the most dirty things to handle , and your best leaving the rug on the horse to dry rahter than take it off/on/off on as long as it dry underneath, they are not warm for the horse at all, and onten one would have to put underbalnket or polywarm on underneath to keep warm, they also incorperate many rug sores which prevent you from riding until the sores are healed especially at the withers as this where your saddle goes and when you sit on top of your saddle then that sore will spread along the back and can cause perminant back damage, and also if the rug is single sursingle again it will cuase perssure sores along the back just down from the withers which would be in paralled to the end of the pomel , hence why people used to unpick that area to form a loop to stuff a sponge in and hence why they tried to improve the design by having a looped signle sursingle but it was to no avail so they then improved the rug by adding x of straps which crossed un der the belly of the horse , often these rug have huge amount of straps so when adjusted they are still to long

    so no i wouldnt buy one with the amount of outdoor rugs that on offer today
    by better standards of having pleated or darted schoulders and high neck lines
    as the modern rug have really thought about how to eliminate and prevent sores when wearing rugs in the winter

    to have properly fitted rug you measure from wither to tail chest to tail and then wither to elbow

    and to add any rugs that are on ofer wherby the sursongle is like this I I on the rug as in straight and goes around the horse is going to have pressure points up on the top of his back
    think - do it up tight and it pulls down onto the horse so building up pressure on his back this then would create in time a bad back

    sooften people dont look at there quipement used on the horse when it shows signs of discomfort when ridden like buckign spooking rearing etc
    most people look at the normal things for a behaviour like teeth tack which includes the bridle and bit and back
    but they fial to look at the rugs being used which can create the same problems



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec. 21, 2005
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    517

    Default

    Thanks everyone! You've pretty much talked me out of canvas rugs, I didn't realize they were so '1970'. I can see using them for a thicker skinned draft cross but my mare is pretty thin skinned. I guess I better start looking at the synthetics available here, or perhaps Dover ships to NZ?



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun. 26, 2004
    Posts
    2,334

    Default

    Horrible, heavy, not waterproof. When it gets wet, it is like lead. The "technical" fabrics are great.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov. 9, 2005
    Location
    uk
    Posts
    15,268

    Default

    op you want something liek this design

    http://www.shiresequestrian.co.uk/sh.../9398Cd-01.jpg

    as you can see the neck cover is incorperated in the rug which saves having a huge gap between the withers and the base of the neck when the head is bent down eating , as an whne the weather is warmer you can fold it back either on top or underneath the rug itself
    i use to also have rug whereby you added the neck cover now i buy them with the neck included as better



  11. #11
    Join Date
    May. 4, 2003
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    14,311

    Default

    Yeah - blankets have come a long way, baby. Unwashable, cardboard when dry, heavy when wet - ghastly old things.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep. 1, 2008
    Location
    Concord GA
    Posts
    425

    Default

    I just had two of these given to me. It allowed the one horse I had that did not have a turn out rug to have one (she has a stall too). I created a thread a few days ago about re-water proofing. I found something at Cabelas called Canvac. It is used to water seal the old army type tents.

    I'll give it a try. It is heavy, but it really fits my App mare beautifully. I like the belly band(surcingle) too.

    I don't know that I would go out and buy one, but free blankets that fit and are in good shape are a wonderful thing!

    I bought a bunch of blankets last year as they were going on sale. My favorite as far as quality is the Professionals Choice Wrangler brand. I think it is 1800D. It fits beautifully and just feels good. Other than that my next favorites are the Schneider's Dura Tech brand, they were the least expensive, but they are definitely a good value for the money. When you have to blanket multiple horses you have to look for deals.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar. 7, 2003
    Location
    Mudville, GA ;-)
    Posts
    9,194

    Default

    I guess I don't have to type a long response now. Everything I would have saidhas already been said! Don't bother with a NZ rug
    Y'all ain't right!



  14. #14

    Default

    Perhaps I don't remember very well...but I wish I still had mine!

    I loved mine...mind you my mare at the time would last all of 15 mins outside in a bad storm...so it lasted eons and it didn't get wet often!

    The new materials really don't hold up as far as I'm concerned! Though they are easier to handle/clean.
    Celtic Rose Stables
    Breeders of Elite Equine Athletes for Race & Sport

    www.celticrosestables.ca



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun. 22, 2009
    Posts
    45

    Default

    Had a couple (including a 'sheet' w/o the fleece) and LOVED them. We put scotchguard on them every fall and they stayed pretty waterproof during the winter...wish I still had one. They just held up longer...even if the horses chewed on each other,or they got caught on the fence; the blanket held up.(unlike my new ones).

    They were heavy and hard to dry if they got wet, but I'm in central CA and it just doesn't rain that much. My farrier has one on his horse now and really likes it.

    shelley



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan. 31, 2003
    Posts
    18,472

    Default

    I had one come with a boarders horse. Stiff, heavy, plasticy thing. Put it on him and in about fifteen minutes he had shoulder rubs. Took it off. I think after that mice nested in it and it went to the dump where it belonged and I bought him a nice blanket.
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    ---
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul. 7, 2009
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    48

    Default

    I think the usefulness of them depends on the type of pasture you have. If you're lucky enough to be somewhere where there's nothing but grass (and hopefully a run-in shed), then I'd definitely go with a synthetic.

    However, growing up our horses were at our house and the pasture cut through an old, overgrown Christmas tree farm for part of it. We had nice, straight aisles of trees that the horses would occasionally take off through. I body-clipped my horse one year and had to blanket during the day when they were out. We got a NZ rug and it held up great. I can't imagine anything synthetic holding up to 1200 lbs of horse running through twiggy branches. My dad did most of the blanket swapping as he usually fed, but I could do it myself at 5'1" 115lbs on a 16.2h thoroughbred before and after rides. Was it graceful? No, but the horse didn't seem to care.

    That said, the horses also had an overhang to go under in addition to the trees if it started raining and none of them were stupid enough to stand around getting wet when they didn't have to. So I never really dealt with it getting wet.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    May. 8, 2004
    Posts
    4,296

    Default

    Mine are ancient and I still use them on occasion. They are durable and they stay in place.

    They are more bulky and heavy than today's lighter turnout combinations, but they are a simple design that works really well.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov. 10, 2005
    Location
    Va
    Posts
    3,601

    Default

    I used to work at a barn and in the day they were "it" for turnouts. Hated them. They were heavy as the devil, and didn't fit many horses very well, hence causing rubs. They did last pretty well.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan. 7, 2009
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    210

    Default

    Interesting - I think that NZ rugs outside of NZ are a different product, the only similarity being that they are made of canvas!

    I live in NZ and have canvas covers for various times of the years. For winter I have 18 oz unlined 'sheets'. I have white 12 0z sheets which are great for summer. The brand I favour has liners of various weight, and fabrics, which I put on according to the weather. It has shaped shoulders, and is cut so that it doesn't move on the horse. No belly straps. I have never had wither rub. They are long wearing too.
    The main thing is that they are the right size for the horse - NZ measurements are taken from the front of the wither to the top of the tail head, and the shoulder opening can be adjusted at the front buckle.
    I agree with the weight issue - especially if made of the 24 oz canvas, and also the drying times, but if the covers are reproofed before each winter they are no problem. I use a wax canvas waterproofer.
    Having said that, I have Shires Stormcheater synthetics for the worst winter weather. They are quite heavy, but very warm, and snug in storms. When the sun comes out they are too warm and the horses sweat so are only used for short periods at a time.



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