“ Manufacturer: Weatherbeeta / Type: Equestrian - Rug „
I've worked for a saddlery for most of the last 10 years, and I've always had Weatherbeeta Rugs.
The Landa Freestyle is one of my favourites. At one point it was available in three weights: no fill, 100g and 220g, but I believe that the 100g rug is discontinued and we won't be seeing it again.
I have had my current Landa medium for 3 years (only got this one because my horse gained muscle and the old one was a bit tight!) and had it washed about once a year. So far, it hasn't needed to be reproofed which is great when my friends are all paying £12 a pop to get their rugs washed and mine works out at a fiver!
My welsh cob is only 14.2hh but he takes a 6'6" rug - chunky lad with a bit front end and he's very deep. Typical cob I guess. I like the Freestyle rugs because although they aren't overly huge in the neck opening, they are roomy around the chest and shoulders. The placement of the shoulder darts help this.
You can buy the rug either without a neck (but with 3 d rings to attach one) or in a full neck version known as a Landa Freestyle Combo. Weatherbeeta used to make a high neck version which you can still pick up second hand on places like eBay. The only thing I would say is that if you want a neck cover to match your rug, you might be disappointed. In autumn/winter 2011, Weatherbeeta seemed to make hardly any neck covers and they were sold out by Christmas. I think they believe that we all want no neck cover or a fixed neck cover - that isn't the case at all!
The good news is that Saxon and Masta neck covers can attach to this rug as long as they have clips or straps for 3 D rings. Mark Todd, JHL and Amigo neck covers aren't compatible unfortunately, but if you get desperate and can't find a Weatherbeeta one, at least you have options.
The other great feature of a Freestyle rug is the tail flap; it is a lot larger than on a "standard" rug and offers more protection from the elements. I've heard a few people say that it can blow up but never had that problem myself. You can also take the leg straps off if you want, whether to replace them or use a fillet string instead.
Other things.. no issue with the rug slipping at all, fastenings are still easy to do even in winter when you're cold, wet and muddy and your hands don't want to work! The chest is satin lined to help reduce rubbing (not a problem I've ever had) and there's a fleece wither pad too for comfort.
Having three horses means that I have what seems like hundreds of rugs for all different uses. I'm definitely obsessed when it comes to rugs and this is known by all the people who keep horses on my yard. I like my horses to be kept warm and dry both inside and outside the stable. It doesn't help that my one horse suffers with a few issues and needs to be kept comfortable as much as possible which means due to our varied weather he has a rug on most of the year.
As most horse owners will know not all brands of rug will suit every horse, some are too big in the shoulder, some too narrow etc. So when you find that brand whose rugs fit your horse perfectly you don't tend to buy anything else as rugs are expensive and you buy what you know will fit. The brand that seems to fit all of mine really well is Weatherbeeta. The company is a world leader in rugs but despite this wonderful title their rugs are bank friendly and won't leave you owing your bank manager as some rugs can.
I generally have the same rugs for all my horses (my one with issues is the exception as his wardrobe is larger than most!) and it is the Weatherbeeta Landa Freestyle Standard medium turnout rug. It is a rug which is suitable for all horses and ponies and is generally used for the colder nights as they come creeping in if your horse lives out and for those that are out during the day (like mine) the rug is ideal for milder winter days. I generally start using this rug on all of mine around October time.
The Weatherbeeta Landa Freestyle is different from the normal Landa rug and it shouldn't be confused. The Land Freestyle has freestyle gussets at the shoulder which are to allow for extra leg movement and not to restrict it when the horse is outside and moving around. The rug also has a wrap around tail flap which is incredibly large giving the horse a bit more protection from the elements. It has adjustable low cross surcingles which are the straps which basically hold the rug in place and on the horse! They are attached on one side of the rug and cross under the horses belly to be fastened on the other side of the rug. The surcingles shouldn't be too loose but shouldn't be too tight either. The rug comes completely with colour co-ordinating leg straps which again are fully adjustable (they are also removable should you want a fillet string instead). The leg straps are at the back of the rug and are crossed in between the horses back legs. Again these straps help the rug stay in place. At the front of the rug are two adjustable buckles which for me have always been rust free despite the amount of rain we have. The straps are incredibly tough and are strongly stitched into the front of the rug.
So what makes this rug a "medium weight" rug? This rug has 220g of polyfill and basically higher the amount (in grammes) then the wamer the horse will be. The Landa Freestyle rug is nicely padded and has an anti-rub nylon lining which does actually work, no more furless shoulders for my horses! The rugs outer, waterproof shell is made of a strong but soft fabric which is incredibly light and easy to handle, especially if you have a tall horse. All attachments to the rug are colour co-ordinated with the main colour of the rug and most are detachable and adjustable.
The Landa Freestyle is a turnout rug and is waterproof with taped seams (these are seams made to prevent water leaking through). The rug has a 600 denier diamond weave outer fabric which basically means that the higher the denier the tougher the fabric, making it a bit more resilient to tears or rips. The rug also features "repel shell" technology where Weatherbeeta have used a protective covering which repels dirt and water which maintains the quality of the fabric. Unfortunately it is only a matter of time when the rugs do become covered in mud!
I have been using the Landa Freestyle rugs on my horses for about 5 years now and I've never had any complaints with the rugs. My horses can move freely in them, they are pretty hard to actually tear due to the rugs having "ripstop" technology which is wear the warp of the fabric has been modified so it becomes a lot tougher. The stronger weft gives these rugs a checker like effect which in case a tear does happen it can be contained a lot easier instead of ripping a long the whole rug. My horses don't rip rugs anyway and there have only ever been a few tiny nicks in the fabric and they have never leaked. What I also like about this rug is that it is breathable, allowing the horse (should they get too hot) to let sweat and moisture pass through to the outside without making the horse uncomfortable.
Weatherbeeta seem to slightly upgrade this rug year after year tweaking its manufacturing process but I still have a rug from 5 years ago which is still going strong! The rug is available from 5'0 and goes all the way to 7'3. Currently for 2010 the Landa Freestyle comes in navy/silver, grey/ pink checkers (as pictured) and grey 2 tone. Not all colours are available in all sizes. The rugs are packaged in a Weatherbeeta holdall which tend to be clear but some are fabric with the Weatherbeeta logo emblazoned on.
Weatherbeeta rugs are stocked nationwide and for me I find the best deals on the internet and it is worth searching around for a good deal, as long as you don't mind what colour the rug comes in (but they all end up covered in mud anyway!!). You can buy the Weatherbeeta Landa Freestyle for around £55 - £62 depending where you buy from. The rug can also have a detachable neck cover, which has to be bought separately and can be easily attached to the D rings which are already on the rug which are just by the neck of the rug.
These rugs fit my horses incredibly well and because they get so much use out of them I have them washed professionally once a year and re-proofed to ensure they are looked after properly. However, if you don't use it all that often it will should stay completely waterproof for a good few years. I would stress that a rug needs to fit the horse properly, without being too long or too short as the horse will be uncomfortable and could leave to injury. Once finished with their rugs they should be properly stored and ensure they are fully dry before returning to storage.