I have a problem. I turn my horse out at 7am and often don’t get back to bring him in until after 6pm. The weather is very fickle – a lovely crisp sunny dawn brings the promise of a warm autumn day, yet by lunchtime it is cold, wet and blustery. Conversely a downpour first thing may lead to a warm sunny afternoon. I have to make a rug decision at 7am and stick to it. I am sick of sitting at work wondering whether my horse has melted away in his own personal sauna during a warm spell, or is shivering under a tree in the equine equivalent of T-shirt and shorts in torrential rain. Damn it, I thought, there has to be an answer.
And so there was (to be fair it would have been a pretty pointless tale if there wasn’t!). Out came the Rambo Supreme Varilayer Middleweight. Although it is not a thick rug (200g) and feels light to pick up and put on the horse, the fact that there are no gaps for the chill to get in and that it is snug round the neck, where the neck-cover attaches, and that the tail-flap is deep means that it keeps the horse just as warm as a thicker but gappy rug. It has three surcingles, no leg-straps (fantastic as I always remove them from rugs anyway – I hate them) – just a plastic coated wipe-clean tail strap. The inside of the tail-flap has a snazzy little strap to thread the tail through which prevents it from blowing up on windy days and leaving your horse with a cold derriere. The front of the rug has the usual Rambo V-front closure. I love the two clips – no buckles! – but I sometimes wonder whether the two velcro closures are necessary as well. It never moves, despite the fancy acrobatic tricks my horse can pull in the field.
When I got this rug back out the other week I was concerned that my horse would be too hot in it. It was still (just) summer all! However somehow he was just fine. When it gets a bit colder I will add the neck cover (which attaches with long velcro strips so you don’t get the gaps you get with other rugs when the horse puts its head down to graze). When it gets colder still I will chuck a stable rug on underneath. I’m sure Rambo would love it if you bought the HW version too for real winter, but I managed very well last winter by just layering another rug under this one on the worst days, and most of us don’t have the budget for endless varieties of rug.
I’m struggling to find anything to criticise to be honest. Perhaps the colour is a bit dull, maybe I don’t see the point of two velcro closures plus clips at the chest fastening, but really, that’s it. I’m embarrassed to say that I have never spent more than £100 on a rug before. However this rug fufills so many purposes and is so tough that I suspect I may stick to Rambo from now on. A fantastic bit of kit. Best of all now I don’t sit at work worrying about having got the weather forecast catastrophically wrong. I’ll have to find something else to worry about, otherwise I may have to do some actual work!