With fall on its way, now is the perfect time to choose a Quarter Sheet (also called an “exercise rug”) for your equine partner. If you live in a cool climate, or your horse is clipped, a quarter sheet can prevent chilling during work or while walking to and from the arena. They’re also handy for senior horses who tend to get stiff and need long, slow warm ups. Quarter sheets come in a wide variety of styles, fabrics, weights, colors and prices, so it’s important to choose one that will be suit your needs (and budget).
3 Main Styles
Lies Under the Saddle Pad – This style makes it easy to adjust front-to-back, which is helpful if you ride multiple horses. If you find the sides hang too low, and interfere with your leg aids, you can fold it under the girth. For your horses’ comfort, always check for wrinkles and bunches under the saddle.
Attaches to Your Billets – Lying just outside your saddle pad, these are often contoured for a precise fit. As an added bonus, many brand have quick release buckles that make it easy to remove during your ride. My personal favorite!
Attaches to the Pommel – These sheets usually fasten with Velcro, but can be more difficult to remove while riding since it goes under the leg flaps. If it hangs too low, the sides can be tucked under the billets.
Fabrics & Types
Fleece – Strong, warm, and quick drying it’s the top choice for a quarter sheet, and generally preferred over wool.
Waterproof – In cool, rainy climates this is a must! Usually made of polyester or nylon, they should also be lightweight and breathable to avoid overheating your horse.
Fly Protection – Keep mosquitoes, horseflies and other bugs off your sensitive horse with a mesh fly sheet.
Not Riding? – Try a Lunging Sheet that stays securely in place while lunging or hand walking.
– Be sure you have a proper fit. A too-long or too-big sheet can cause a spook.
-Test your horses’s reaction to the sheet before mounting, especially if they are green or don’t regularly wear a blanket.
– When out hacking, avoid low branches, brush or gates that could get caught in the fabric.