In the spring and summer months, mosquitoes, flies, and other biting insects can be more than a nuisance. In addition to their painful bites, they can carry potentially harmful diseases such as West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).
One of the best kept secrets of fly protection and summertime comfort are fly sheets. These lightweight, breathable sheets allow your horse to enjoy spending time in the pasture without needing to worry about the bugs. In addition to providing protection from flies and other biting insects, the versatile fly sheet does a whole lot more! Keep reading to learn how your horse can benefit from wearing a fly sheet.
A fly sheet is a physical barrier between your horse and the bugs. This prevents flies from biting your horse, since it is difficult for them to bite through the fabric. Furthermore, the movement of the fly sheet deters insects from landing on your horse in the first place.
Some fly sheets also have additional repellent systems built directly into them. For instance, the Horseware Rambo Fly Buster Vamoose with No-Fly Zone is infused with an insect repelling technology.
Other sheets utilize a different form of defense. The Bucas Buzz Off Zebra Fly Turnout is printed with the iconic markings of a zebra, which provides a natural fly repellent action. Flies do not like to land on the contrasting stripes, which means that they try to stay far away from your horse!
For horses that are sensitive to fly sprays, try spraying the sheet and allowing it to dry before you place it on your horse. This allows your horse to benefit from fly repellent while reducing the possibility of skin irritation.
Fun in the Sun
Say goodbye to unsightly sunbleached coats and painful sunburns. Many fly sheets, like the WeatherBeeta ComFiTec Essential Mesh Combo Neck, are manufactured from fabrics which offer UPF protection. By reflecting sunlight, these fabrics combat against sun-bleached coats in dark horses and help keep your horse show ring ready during the competition season.
Sunbleaching may not be as apparent in light coated horses, but they are still being subjected to the harmful rays of the sun. A fly sheet can help to safeguard against sunburns and skin cancer. Horses with pink skin are particularly susceptible to painful sunburns and equine melanoma.
If you are utilizing a fly sheet for the UV-protection, consider purchasing a sheet that extends up the horse’s neck for maximum coverage.
Comfortable in your Skin
Summertime can wreak havoc on your horse’s skin. Throw in some pesky flies, and you have a recipe for disaster. If your horse has large reactions to bug bites, including large welts or oozing sores, it may actually attract additional insects to these areas. Wearing a fly sheet protects irritated skin and allows it to heal naturally, without bugs laying eggs or otherwise disturbing the affected area.
Some horses battle bug bites under the stomach, and, in the case of geldings and stallions, around the sheath area. Bites in these areas often become infected and may last for the duration of fly season. For these horses, look for sheets that have wide belly bands that cover the delicate stomach tissues, such as the Bucas Buzz Off Classic Fly Turnout.
For horses that experience wounds and abrasions during the summer months, a fly sheet allows the lesion to heal. If the wound is located on the head or legs, fly masks and fly leg wraps provide coverage in these sensitive areas.
On the Go
You don’t have to ditch the benefits of your horse’s fly sheet when you head out on your next ride. There are a number of fly sheets that have been designed specifically for use while you are in the saddle. Perfect for trail riding and hacking your horse, these sheets allow you to focus more on your ride and less on the bugs.
These clever sheets, such as the Cashel Quiet Ride Bug Armor, do not inhibit your horse’s movement in any way and still allow for clear communication between rider and horse.
In order for a fly sheet to optimally protect your horse, it must fit properly. A sheet that is too large will put excess pressure on your horse’s neck and chest, and it may slip into a dangerous position. If your sheet is rubbing the hair from your horse (particularly in the shoulder area), is compressing the withers, or is leaving a section of the hindquarters exposed, it is likely too small.
Learn how to measure for a fly sheet on our blog. If you have any additional questions about sizing or would like assistance in making your selection, we invite you to reach out to a member of our friendly and experienced sales staff.
This summer, utilize fly sheets to protect your horse from every angle. Keep the bugs at bay and allow your horse to enjoy his time in the pasture. With the ability to protect against bugs, the sun, and irritation, fly sheets are a simple solution to difficult problems for many equestrians.