Frequently Asked Questions about DeMeulenkamp or Pagony Sweet itch Rugs
Yes, they do. They can really help prevent sweet itch, and while nothing can cure it, they stop most of the midges biting, so your horse doesn't get as itchy and can live outside in comfort.
Yes, use fly repellent anywhere not covered by the rug (we recommend Nettex Stop-Itch, especially for geldings' dangly bits)
No, the rug is all in one. You put it on over the horse's head.
We've never yet had a horse that refused to have the rug put on. It's almost as if they know it will help. Take your time and be patient and your horse should accept it happily. Click here for a guide to putting the rug on.
The neck cover is an integral part of the rug, which comes to just behind the horse's ears and is held there by elastic and the cut of the rug. The belly part is also an integral part of the rug.
No, hoods/masks are available separately. They fit under the neck cover providing around 10 inches of overlap, and cover the face and ears.
The horse needs to wear the rug whenever he might be bitten by midges (of course you can take it off to ride, just use lots of fly repellent). But PLEASE take the rug off at least once every 24 hours, give your horse a groom and make sure he's comfortable, and shake loose hair/dirt out of the rug and hood.
We find that actually, providing the horse is protected by his rug and repellents, he's usually better kept outside as he won't get so bored (and rub from boredom) and he won't have such nice things to rub on. It's wise to protect outside fences/field shelters etc with electric fencing to reduce opportunities for rubbing - the more you scratch midge bites, the more they itch.
The design is very similar, and the material of the DeMeulenkamp is the same as 2005 or earlier Boetts according to the manufacturer. We prefer this material to the newer "improved" material of the later Boetts as there are less problems with static and weight.
On all but the smallest rugs there are 3 straps on the belly piece for improved fit. The belly piece is permanently joined onto the rug (with a wide, soft piece of material that passes between the front legs) rather than having straps to rub or come unfastened. The rugs have gusseted shoulders for ease of movement, excellent quality clips and elastic that won't go saggy after two washes, along with webbing rather than elastic on the belly piece so it stays well-fitting.
Yes, it is completely breatheable so it can be used on a damp horse, and left on in the rain.
Yes, machine washable at 30 degrees - you can even tumble dry it, though it dries really quickly on its own.
It won't stand up to barbed wire (but then no itchy horse should be anywhere near barbed wire in the first place) and very enthusiastic horseplay may tear it, but tears won't run, and it's easy to mend the rug by hand or with a home sewing machine. If your horse rubs a lot on post and rail fencing or the stable then again, he may damage the rug, even with his own back hoof if he's very itchy. Try to get the rug on early in the season, and line any fences with electric fencing to prevent rubbing as far as possible. We've even lined our field shelter with a strand of electric wire and it works perfectly. The horses don't rub, and not only are their rugs protected, but so is the field shelter! If you put a rug onto a horse which is already itching severely, bath the horse thoroughly first and cover all itchy places with a soothing cream such as Sudocrem, and ensure there is nothing for your horse to rub on.
The rug comes in a useful bag which can be used for patching if necessary. We sell a bag of spares (material, clips, elastic, webbing) for £20
Your horse can wear a DeMeulenkamp rug under his normal turnout rug.
The rug comes in practical dark brown with black fittings (it's very dark, but does not make the horse hotter in the sunshine as it acts like an umbrella). In some photos the rug may appear black - it isn't, it's dark brown. They also come in light olive green (see photo left) which is even cooler than the dark brown. Sometimes, the rugs (especially the brown ones) may fade in continuous bright sunlight, but that does not affect the efficiency of the rug.
We don't make a huge profit on each rug - we just sell lots of rugs, and keep lots of horses and their owners happy.
It depends on your horse. We prefer the DeMeulenkamp for all but the mildest sweet itch sufferers as it's tougher, and we tend to use Pagony rugs as spares, and on our milder sufferers. However, for horses with really huge crests, there is slightly more room in the neck of the Pagony. Also, you can remove the belly piece so you can put a saddle on top and ride with the rug still on in really midgy weather, and it's good for mares with foals at foot. The Pagony is slightly thinner, and slightly less hard-wearing. We can't get spare material for the Pagony so patches won't match. Bags of spares are available for the DeMeulenkamp and can of course also be used for the Pagony.
Solva Sweet Itch Solutions is a limited company set up in 2006 by Mic Rushen and Maria Wright of Solva Icelandic Horses, Pembrokeshire, West Wales. We had been using DeMeulenkamp sweet itch rugs for years as at the time we had 11 Icelandics with sweet itch and lived in a very midgy area. The only place we could get the rugs was in Holland. We tried Boett, but couldn't afford their prices, then the owner of DeMeulenkamp asked if we would like to be the British supplier for his rugs. Of course we jumped at the chance! Now we are one of the largest sweet itch rug suppliers in the UK. We do not supply shops or mail order catalogues - you buy direct from us, so our prices stay low, the service is good, and the quality is great. We do hope you and your horse like our products!