While longer, warmer days bring the opportunity for more riding and time at the barn in the sunshine, fly season has its own set of challenges. There are lots of ways to manage these irritating insects though so your horse can stay happy and comfortable. We’ll be sharing advice about choosing the right fly sheet for your horse, as well as some of the new innovative technology at Horseware Ireland.
Why Use a Fly Sheet on Your Horse?
There are several reasons why a fly sheet could be beneficial for your horse:
- Prevents flies from landing on or biting your horse.
- Helps horses to stay calm and content when they may otherwise be irritated or upset by flies.
- Some fly sheets offer UV protection to minimize the risk of sunburn and bleaching.
- Helps to manage skin sensitivities or reactions, such as sweet itch.
How to Choose the Right Fly Sheet for Your Horse
With so many different fly sheets available, it can be difficult to know which one is right for your horse. It is important to not only consider the features of each fly sheet but your horse’s individual needs.
Where your barn is located can influence the type of flies and insects that may bother your horse, as well as the weather and UV levels. If your horse is out in the paddock 24/7, they may also require more management to protect them against flies than a horse that is stabled during the day.
Some horses are more sensitive to flies and insects than others. Pay attention to what your horse is like when turned out. Are they unbothered by flies and merely swish their tall a bit? Or are they visibly upset and unsettled?
It’s not just behavioral sensitivities to be aware of but skin ones too. Some horses can react to insect bites; for example, sweet itch is caused by a reaction to the saliva of midges. Signs of sweet itch include rubbing or itching, broken skin, and hair loss/bald patches. Prevention is better than cure so it’s vital to manage this early with the use of fly protection products.
Once you’ve considered what your horse needs from a fly sheet, you can then assess the different options available. Unlike turnout and stable blankets that vary by weight, fly sheets have no fill as they are designed for use in warmer weather. Instead, you’ll want to compare different fly sheets by the type of fabric and fit.
Fly Sheet Fabric Technology
Horseware Ireland is constantly innovating when it comes to fly sheets. This season you might want to check out some of the new fabrics for the latest protection against flies.
Did you know that research suggests a zebra’s stripes are a natural fly deterrent? The stripes confuse flies when they try to land on the zebra.
Horseware Ireland’s CamoFly technology is inspired by this and the monochromatic pattern is designed to camouflage horses from bugs and flies. By creating an optical illusion, CamoFly makes it difficult for flies to determine where to land on the horse.
No-Fly Zone™ Technology
Fly sheets with No-Fly Zone™ Technology are treated with an all-natural, powerful insect repellent. Unlike the CamoFly Pattern, it does not stop flies from landing on the horse initially but they won’t stay long enough to bite and are unlikely to return.
While No-Fly Zone™ Technology has proven to be effective against flies, ticks, and fleas, it is gentle on the horse’s skin. The treatment is also durable and lasts on the fly sheet for up to 25 washes so you can rely on it season after season.
Self-Repairing Rambo® Protector
If you’re looking for a durable fly sheet then the Rambo® Protector is a great choice. The unique mesh fabric is self-repairing – sounds like magic, right? It re-forms back into its original structure if damaged from rubbing or wear.
It offers maximum protection from flies while also being able to withstand your horse rubbing against surfaces, making it a popular option for horses with sweet itch.
The AmECO line is expanding from turnout blankets to include fly sheets too. The Amigo® AmECO Bug Buster Fly Sheet is created from 149 recycled plastic bottles, and 114 plastic bottles are recycled to make each Amigo® AmECO Bug Rug Fly Sheet.
This process uses less water and chemicals, plus it produces 65% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than the production of virgin polyester yarns. So, if you’re looking to reduce your carbon hoofprint then check out these environmentally conscious fly sheets.
Waterproof Fly Sheets
Rain showers in spring or summer can make it tricky to know whether to put a lite weight turnout blanket on or a fly sheet. Solve your predicament with a hybrid fly sheet like the Amigo® 3-in-1 CamoFly Fly Sheet. This combines a waterproof top and sides with mesh panels for breathability.
A hybrid fly sheet is particularly useful between seasons when the weather can be unpredictable. With this style of fly sheet, you can rest assured that your horse will be protected from both the rain and flies without overheating.
Fly Accessories for Your Horse
While Horseware Ireland’s fly sheets do offer excellent coverage and protection of your horse’s body against irritating insects, the head and legs are left uncovered. There are a number of fly accessories, such as masks and boots, that can help provide protection. Fly sprays are also a good way to protect those hard-to-reach places or offer protection when your horse isn’t wearing a fly sheet.
Fly masks not only prevent flies from landing on the horse’s face and eyes but offer good UV protection too. The Amigo® Fly Mask is a bestseller thanks to its soft fleece padding and contoured fit. For optimum eye protection and comfort, the Rambo® Plus Fly Mask has been designed to stand well clear of the horse’s eyes. This not only protects against flies but sunlight too.
For full fly coverage complete the look with a set of fly boots. These are made from breathable fabric to maintain good airflow while still offering fly and UV protection.
As annoying as flies are they don’t need to get in the way of your spring or summer plans. With the right management and fly protection products, your horse will be safe and happy all season long.