Rugging safely, which is better?

Which way do you prefer to rug for safety?

  • Option A) Chest straps first then the hind leg & tummy ones

    Votes: 38 32.2%
  • Option B) Hind leg straps first then the chest & tummy ones

    Votes: 74 62.7%
  • Neither, I prefer a different method (please comment)

    Votes: 6 5.1%

  • Total voters


Well-known Member
I'm with goodie. :eek:

If horse is tied I'll always do chest straps first, legs, then tummy. Same if horse is just in box. Taking off I usually do the same way, but tummy straps (if there) first.

If in paddock, it varies.


if i don't know the horse,

halter, tie up, rug on, leg strap first, then make may way up

my mare, no halter, throw rug on, depends on day.. i do both...

but some ppl i know don't even use leg staps...


Well-known Member
I personally never do up belly straps :p They get cut off they first time the rug is used as they are generally too loose (are our horse meant to be obese?) and unless they are firm on the horse's belly I have seen back legs caught throught them after rolling!
Going to agree with Mirawee here, the belly straps get cut off straight away and the majority of the time mine are yarded or tied up when putting rugs on or off and then its chest first then legs


New Member
I was taught (and I think it makes sense) to do back end first when putting on & last when taking off, then that way if anything goes wrong the rug can slide off backwards (even if it does get a bit tangled in legs) whereas if it's done up at the front still, it can't just fall away and may injure the horse (and destroy the rug) if he treads on it or panics etc etc.

When taking rugs off in the paddock during the day, we don't always have lead ropes and halters handy so always doing it this way ensures safety all round for all.

And yes, tummy straps are a nuisance, although I never cut them off (I just curse a lot when I'm trying to do them in the dark and they just won't fit together/do up as they're supposed to).

But that's just us ......... :))


Well-known Member
I'm slack, don't put halter on (unless I am going to do something else to said horse or not at home obviously) and just chuck rugs on. Legs strap first as a general rule, then chest.

*Lin lines up ready to be shot by Smash* ;)


Well-known Member
Staff member
throw feed in feed bin, throw rug on, chest strap first, leg straps last. I actually tell him to "get over" while I do up the last leg strap and he does every time.:)))



Well-known Member
For me it depends on the fit of the rug on each horse.
One horse has a canvas rug that always ends up sliding off a bit by the morning (with one leg strap tight and the other one loose). I've tried adjusting everything, but that's just the shape of the horse and the cut of the rug. His rug is always legs done up first then chest last because I know that the rug tends to move around.

For most of my others though, the rugs fit so well that they really don't move at all. The legs straps are done up last because I know if the horse took off with only the chest done, then they would stay on the horses body in the right position.

But my favourite method of putting on and taking off rugs, is to get all three kids on to it! One does chest, one does legs, the other does belly and neck!


New Member
Well I just hold onto the hind leg whilst doing up the leg straps first.......stops them from running away....*#)

NAHHHH serioustly......halter on, legs straps first (unless their us a velcro tab at the front then that gets done first), them front straps, then belly, then next.

Reverse procedure for removal......

REGARDLESS. Rugging is dangerous.....and if you have a stunt horse - or a flexi legged thing then they will find a way to do something stupid with them.....
Ive seen mouthy things get their bottom jaws stuck in their chest straps....deerrr.

The only horse I will not secretly hold my breath - pray - hope for the best when they wear a rug is the ones out the front of horse shops.... however even they can get the rug over their heads...Ive seen it - lol *#)
OMG... How you have made me laugh Eoroe.. My little Minx shows her displeasure with rugging, if she thinks she doesn't need one, by threatening a kick and squealing (legs straps first) nibbling my hair (chest straps next) then nipping my (not small) bottom surcingles last... all with halter afixed... Rugging can indeed be dangerous.. :p


Gold Member
haha.....Im glad you got value out of.......I re - read it and had a that conceited? pmsl **)


Gold Member
99% of the time I unrug/rug in the paddock. As a measure of safety, I always undo the leg straps LAST.

So I start with chest, do belly, then legs. & reverse when putting rugs on, do leg straps FIRST...

I do this because, if the horse bolts and you have everything un-done except the chest, what do you think will happen to the rug? it will swing around under its legs hanging from its chest, trip the horse and tear the rug to shreds.
If it bolts and everything but the legs are undone, the rug will slip back over its haunches and the horse can (most of the time) step out of the leg straps. Better chance of the rug and horse coming out without a scratch.



Well-known Member
I do up leg straps first in the paddock, but chest first if they're tied, and I will admit to being slack with the pony and doing chest first in the paddock, but he always has his hay and won't go anywhere. Very little bothers him when he's stuffing his face, typical pony lol

I usually don't rug/unrug horses I don't know, but have unrugged one I didn't know once, and undid chest then legs, not realising the horse had a rug with belly straps on. Very embarrassing but it was the first I'd had to do with horses for a long time, and before then, I'd never really rugged/unrugged before as Mum doesn't like to rug unless she has to to keep the weight on the horse, or if it's clipped/grows a ridiculously long coat otherwise *coughedwardcough*

Same as Mum I also admit to being slack about halters. Our horses are usually really good about standing. I think only once I've had one wander off on me, and I growled at her so she went for a hoon, rearing, bucking you name it. A massive almost vertical rear later and her rugs were on the ground, having slipped off over her rump. Her belly and leg straps were all still done up. No damage done, she stepped out of her rugs and was calm and happy.

Nevertheless I always put a halter on if I have one with me (which I don't always, sometimes I'm asked to rug/unrug as I'm taking the pony back and I only have his halter which is WAY too small for the big horses), it's much safer and the horses both ground tie so I don't need to hold them.


New Member
I am similar to some of the lazy ones. Pour feed in bin, let horse in yard, lock yard, approach horse with rug and chuck rug on while its got its dinner, none of my horses were gonna abandon that in a hurry.

Leg straps first, Chest then belly. (I used to work at a place that cut the leg straps off and left the belly straps on - madness! Constantly had horses with wonky and wet arsed paddock rugs). Rugs removed chest first in morning before turnout. My own horses rarely wore rugs in the day time unless it was real crappy ice rain or enough flies/sun to warrant a sheet. I'd use rugs even less now cos I haven't been to a comp in 3 years. Feral furry is fine.
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