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What Is The Best Fly Sheet For Horses On The Market?

Flies are the bane of the summer. Even if you have a horse that is not particularly bothered by them, they can still be very irritating. If you have a horse that is bothered by them, it can really put a downer on your enjoyment of the summer months. When your usually placid horse has turned into a twitching, stomping nightmare and fly sprays don’t have any effect, it may be time to look into a physical barrier to keep the flies away – this is where fly sheets come in.

Best Fly Sheet For Horses Reviews

There is a vast amount of choice out there when you are looking for what is the best fly sheet for horses, so we have made it easier for you, and have found a selection of three of the best:

  1. Kensington Platinum SureFit Protective Sheet
  2. Shires Performance Fly Sheet And Neck Set
  3. Tuffrider Comfy Mesh Sheet

1. Kensington Platinum SureFit Protective Sheet Review

Kensington Platinum Protective Fly Sheet-Surefit, Blue Ice, Size 78

This is a luxury fly sheet, which not only keeps the flies off but also looks great! Kensington products are made with Textilene, which retains its colour really well, so if you want your horse to stand out at the yard for all the right reasons then this one is for you. It’s a great fly sheet for year-round protection, meaning that you can use it in the summer or the winter, if flies are a problem all the year round.

Pros

  • Great fly protection around the entire torso – This sheet covers the whole of the horse from the neck down, including the sensitive groin and belly areas.
  • Breathable and cool in the hot weather – The woven fabric is 78% air permeable and non heat-transferring, meaning your horse will stay cool even when it’s hot.
  • Protects against UV rays – The Kensington sheet offers protection against the sun as well as the flies, offering a reduction of 73% of the harshest of the sun’s rays.
  • Adjustable for a good fit – The adjustable belly straps make this a good choice – especially if your horse has a tendency to expand in the summer with the good grass!

Cons

  • Not as sturdy as it could be – If your horse has field buddies that like to pull at rugs, the Kensington may not be the best choice.

Recommendation

An all round great fly sheet, with good protection from the flies as well as the harshest sun’s rays, the Kensington SureFit is perfect for horses that are prone to burning as well as those which are troubled by flies. Plus, the gorgeous colours make it a great hit! You can choose from a range of colours to go with the rest of your horse’s clothing, at the same time as keeping them safe from the irritating bites of flying insects.

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2. Shires Performance Fit Sheet And Neck Set Review

Shires Sweet-Itch Combo Fly Sheet - White - Size 78 This is a fantastic sheet for the horse that is especially troubled by flies and needs more protection than just a body sheet. If you have a horse with sweet itch, or one that is allergic to fly bites, you may be lamenting the lack of mane that comes with the fly season. The Shires Performance Fit Sheet, with its added neck covering, may be just what you are looking for!

Pros

  • Strong and durable – Made from strong Ripstop fabric, this sheet can stand up the rigours of the field.
  • Great for preventing sunburn – Blocking an impressive 90% of the sun’s UV rays, this sheet is perfect for the pale-skinned horse that is prone to burning.
  • Excellent at preventing rubbing – The anti-rub lining on the chest, neck and shoulders will stop any irritation from the sheet.
  • Allows comfortable grazing – The fabric has enough give to allow the horse plenty of room to stretch his head down and graze comfortably.

Cons

  • Can be hot – Because this sheet covers the majority of the horse’s body, it can get a little too warm for a really hot summer.

Recommendation

This is a really good sheet for those that are particularly troubled with flies, and can be a lifesaver for those with sweet itch. If you want to save the mane and tail and prevent an unhappy horse due to all the biting midges, then this is the sheet to go for. It is adjustable so you can stretch it out for the fatties, or rein it in (no pun intended) for the slimmer ones of the field.

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3. TuffRider Comfy Mesh Fly Sheet Review

TuffRider COMFY MESH FLY SHEET

This is a great lightweight sheet that can prove invaluable in the summer months when the flies abound. Covering the torso and the sensitive areas, this sheet is perfect for keeping off the worst of the flies. It’s available in multiple sizes, making it suitable for a Shire or a Shetland.

Pros

  • Great value for not too much money – This is a fly sheet that is easy on the pocket, while still doing its job.
  • Lightweight and breathable for hot weather – Even when the temperature is soaring, your horse will stay cool in this thin fly sheet.
  • Highly durable – even with a bit of rough treatment, this sheet will still be in one piece by the end of the week.
  • Great for sun protection – Preventing around half of the sun’s most harmful rays, this sheet is good for a horse that might have a patch of hair missing which needs sun-free time to grow back.

Cons

  • May rub – It has been suggested that this sheet can cause a bit of rubbing in the haunch area. Sewing in a small patch should remove this problem.

Recommendation

For an inexpensive fly sheet, this one is really fantastic. It does the job it’s meant to do – ie keeping flies off – without breaking the bank. If you have a horse that is good at removing his clothing, or is hard on rugs, then this one is a great option as you can replace it inexpensively.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Aren’t fly sheets too hot in warm weather?

A good fly sheet won’t cause your horse to overheat because these handy items are made of breathable mesh materials. Furthermore, fly sheets are usually light colored, so they reflect the heat of the sun and keep dark horses cooler.

2. Do horses like fly sheets?

Some horses might resist at first, but be patient. Once your horse understands that the sheet will not hurt him and does help him feel more comfortable, he will welcome it.

3. How does a fly sheet help keep your horse calm?

Flies can drive a horse, donkey or mule crazy. When flies pester a horse, the result may be pacing, running and other anxious behavior that can cause nervousness, weight loss and even injury. A fly sheet provides a physical barrier between your equine and flies. A horse wearing a fly sheet can relax, graze and feel calm and comfortable.

4. What are the benefits of a fly sheet with UV Ray Protection?

Fly sheets that protect against the ultraviolet rays of the sun provide many benefits. A good fly sheet can keep a dark colored horse’s coat from bleaching out. It can also protect a light colored horse against sunburn and skin cancer.

5. How does a fly sheet protect your horse’s health?

Horses and other equines may experience a wide variety of skin irritations as a result of bug bites, and many bugs carry potentially dangerous diseases. A fly sheet gives your horse an added layer of protection against allergic reactions, welts, rashes and serious diseases such as Equine encephalitis.

6. Should you use fly spray with a fly sheet?

Yes, go ahead and use fly spray as usual (paying special attention to legs, head and face) and use a fly sheet. The combination of the two will ensure your horse is completely protected against flies. If it rains, the fly sheet will continue to protect your horse even if his fly spray is washed off. Some types of fly sheets also have fly repellent embedded in the material.

7. What color fly sheet is best?

Lighter colors are cooler and will help reflect the heat away from your horse’s body. Lighter colors are also less attractive to flies and bugs. A zebra striped fly sheet is said to be especially effective as the stripes confuse bugs and flies.

8. What kind of fabric is best?

Fly sheets come in a wide range of fabric weights. There are some that are made of a very light weight mesh material that drapes over the horse’s body. These are easy to tear and many people think they are not very effective.

The heaviest duty fly sheets are made of a stiff mesh material that surrounds your horse like a custom-fitted, personal shelter. These are the most durable, and many people feel they are the most effective and the most comfortable for horses.

There are also many different fabric weights between these two extremes. You may need to experiment a bit to determine which weight will work best for you and your horse.

9. Does a fly sheet cover the whole horse?

The basic fly sheet just covers the horse’s topline, rump, chest and sides, but you can purchase extras to cover more. For example, a belly guard is a good thing to have so that your horse doesn’t have to kick and stomp at flies on his underside. You can also get a neck piece and a fly mask with ears and mesh leg wraps for even more coverage.

10. Can a fly sheet help with sweet itch (aka: summer itch)?

Sweet itch (a fly bite allergy) usually affects legs, belly and face, so the extras will do more to protect against it than the actual fly sheet. Complete coverage will provide greater insurance against this problem. This can be especially helpful with donkey jacks as they tend to get severe sweet itch in the summertime.

11. Should you use a fly sheet every day in summer?

You may just want to use a fly sheet on very hot days and/or on days when the bugs are especially challenging. Even if you use it very seldom, it’s always smart to have a fly sheet on hand.

12. How do you wash a fly sheet?

Very light weight fly sheets can be tossed in your home washing machine and line dried. For heavier ones, you may need to go to a Laundromat to use a large machine. Alternately, you can hang the sheet over a fence or washing rack to rinse with the hose and then line dry.

13. Are fly sheets comfortable for horses?

A well-designed, properly fitted fly sheet should be made of a comfortable material with secure fasteners that keep the sheet in place while allowing your horse to move about freely. Most horses are comfortable in them after a brief breaking-in period.

14. How can you be sure of getting a good fit?

Shop online for fly sheets and determine what measurements are necessary for the brand(s) you choose. Take your horse’s measurements carefully using a dressmaker’s measuring tape. Write them down (or otherwise record them). If your horse ends up being between sizes, go for the smaller size. Good fasteners will make it possible to adjust the fit larger, but if the sheet is too big for your horse, you may not be able to adjust it small enough for a secure fit.


Conclusion

For the horse that is excessively troubled by flies on whom fly sprays don’t work, a fly sheet is the best solution. A physical barrier against flies is a fantastic option for keeping off biting irritants, and a fly sheet can really help those with sweet itch or fly allergies. Keeping the mane and tail where they are supposed to be and preventing your horse from turning into a stomping nightmare is priceless, so if yours is sensitive to flies then a fly sheet is a really good option.

For a good quality, high performance fly sheet that comes in fantastic colors, try the Kensington Platinum SureFit Protective Sheet. If you have a horse that needs that bit more protection and would benefit from having more of their body covered, the Shires Performance Fit Sheet and Neck Set is your answer. If you are looking for a cheap, good quality fly sheet then opt for the TuffRider Comfy Mesh Sheet.

Sam Ellis
Sam is a founder and editor of Horses & Foals. In personal life he is a proud father of a boy and twin girls. He believes it is more important than ever before to encourage children to experience the joy of horse riding. Horses make as much sense as the sunshine in our world.


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