DIY: Rump Rug
I already had a couple rump rugs, but I wanted one in bright orange to use during hunting season. Rump rugs are useful when horses are working hard in cold weather to help keep the large hindquarter muscles warm and prevent cramping.
I bought some fleece and used other miscellaneous supplies that I already had (buttons, elastic, D rings, washers). Total cost = $6. I used another rump rug as a general pattern, though I made this one larger to account for the combination of my saddle being so short and my horse’s long back. My Cashel rump rug just isn’t quite long enough.
I folded the fleece in half and cut it in a large D shape, with the fold being the flat side that faces the front. I sewed the rounded sides together. Then I cut a slight U shape into the middle of the folded front flat side, corresponding with the back of my saddle. I turned it inside out through that hole. I added a large metal washer to each corner on the inside between fleece layers along the bottom to act as weights to help keep the rump rug in place on windy days. I sewed both sides of fleece to each other through the center of each washer to keep them in place.
Then I sewed the cut area by the cantle together. On both sides where the curved cantle cut out meets the folded straight edge (which corresponds with my saddle’s D rings), I added a loop of elastic, small D rings attached to short nylon straps, and extra large buttons on top. I layered it so the elastic loop was under the fleece, facing backwards. The nylon strap with D ring and button were on the top side of the fleece. I used tiny carabiners to attach the D rings to my saddle. You could also use cord, which would make it more adjustable to different saddles.
I also added a tail loop to really secure it for extra windy days. I sewed a rectangular piece of fleece in half long ways. Then I folded it inside out to make a fleece tube. I sewed small pieces of velcro to the ends of the tube and to the bottom of the rump rug. It helps to try it on the horse to mark where you want to tail loop to attach.
This shows it pulled up out of the way once the horse is warmed up. It is secured by the elastic loops going under the fleece and around to attach over the button on top. It is really easy to pull up or let out while mounted.
Here is the velcro tail strap. It can be removed while mounted (just pull, though you may want to practice that unmounted first if your horse isn’t used to a crupper, etc). I can’t reattach it while mounted though; I do have to get off or get a friend to help to do that if needed.
I plan to make another one in my normal colors and incorporate a waterproof layer in the middle for those cold rainy days. I salvaged a large piece of a waterproof turnout sheet that was mostly destroyed by an overzealous horse. I plan to sew that in between the fleece layers on the next rump rug. It will look the same from the outside, but will have a waterproof breathable layer inside. Until then, I make do on rainy days with my too small Cashel rump rug, which I thoroughly sprayed with waterproofing tent spray.
If you don’t have access to a sewing machine, this idea could be also made like a fleece tie blanket.