For many years we have regularly wrapped our horses in many layers to keep them warm in the winter. However, the use of base layers for horses is relatively new. Most riders are aware of the use of base layers for themselves to keep warm. This has now started to transition across to their horses too, the use of base layers for horses is now regularly common. The use of a base layer in the colder months will help your horse to regulate its body temperature. A base layer is a layer of fabric which is placed closest to the skin, it is important that this should be close fitting to the body. Base layers are usually made of Merino Wool or a more modern technical fabric which has wicking properties. These fabrics are often found to be microfibre based.
How Do Base Layers Keep You Warm?
A base layer is designed to trap a thin layer of air between the skin and the outer layer. The air layer is warmed by the body heat and acts as insulation, which in turn keeps you warm. A high quality base layer will have moisture wicking properties too, this takes perspiration away from the body. The perspiration should then be dissipated by the outer layer.
What Should I Look Out For?
There are a number of synthetic fibres that are renowned for wicking, these include Gore-tex, Sympatex, Meryl and Sensitive®. We use Sensitive®, a fabric designed and developed in Italy. The Sensitive® fabric we use consists of a mix of 71% Microfibre and 29% Elastane.
Why Is Sensitive Better than Cotton Sheeting?
Traditionally, horses have been wrapped in Cotton sheets under other rugs to keep them warm, however cotton does not dissipate sweat, it collects it. When cotton collects sweat, it makes it wet, which in turn has a cooling effect. The cooling effect will make a horse colder, and not warmer as initially intended.
Which Belvoir Rug Company Product Would You Recommend For This?
We have recently launched the Honsie Max2, probably the most technically advanced lycra horse cover available. The Honsie Max2 is the same price as our usual Honsies, offering great value for winter use.