What is the best fly sheet for my horse?
Just as with coolers, blankets, and all other horse clothing, the options are endless. But you want to find the best bet for your horse, so there’s a lot to consider, before you even get to price.
- Color - Light colors reflect heat away from your horse, keeping him cooler. Light colors also help to camouflage your horse from some bugs and flies, like greenheads, that are attracted to dark moving meals.
It's believed that zebra stripes confuse flies that are attracted by sight. And also this pattern is cute.
- Fabric - Some fly sheets are barely detectable and drape over your horse like a second skin. Obviously these have the shortest life spans. More durable fabric options are rigid and almost float over parts of your horse, and seem to create a bubble of fly sheet protection. There are also tons of options in between. I tend to prefer the stiffer fabrics, for some reason I think of them as “air conditioned” if the fabric doesn’t drape over them so much.
This stiff mesh is light and doesn't drape. I can't prove it, but it seems like more air could flow around. And, the stiffer fabric seems harder to penetrate for the really big horse flies.
- Extras - You can get the stripped down basic edition of a fly sheet, or you can have fancy extras like belly guards and neck pieces and tail covers. I’m a big fan of belly guards to minimize the amount of time your horse spends kicking and stomping. Neck pieces might make your horse warmer (or not), but are great for the super sensitive and wildly itchy horses.
Belly guards rule!
- Special needs - If your horse suffers from sweet itch, look for brands that are specially designed with hoods, extensive belly covers, and wrap around the tops of legs to create a giant impenetrable seal. I suppose you could also use one of these styles for the non-sweet itch horse if you liked.
- Washing Instructions - I’m a fan of the simple things in life, like a quick spin in the washer and then line drying. Many of the thinner types of fly sheets meet the washer and then quickly meet their demise. Often, you can get away with a simple rinse in the wash rack and drying in the wind.
WRONG. I don't care if that was the only size left.
- Fit - What good is it if your horse’s fly sheet doesn’t fit? Start with measuring to find the approximate size, then try them out! A fly sheet that’s too big can get easily destroyed, and a fly sheet that’s too small can cause rubs.
Have fun shopping!