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Fly Sheets for Horses - an Essential Investment

Flying insects represent a serious hazard for horses and for a variety of reasons. Horse flies, deer flies, stable flies, gnats, bot flies and even houseflies can prove problematic and so it makes sense to provide the best possible protection for your horse. This protection comes in various forms such as fly sheets for horses, fly repellent products, fly masks and even fly traps are available.

Horse Flies

When Horse flies bite to feed on blood they literally rip open the skin and this is very painful as you will know if you have ever been bitten yourself. The pain is one thing but the flies can also be carrying diseases including equine infectious anaemia, anthrax, contagious conjunctivitis and eyeworms. Bites can lead to various other unfortunate conditions such as dermatitis, skin eruptions, lesions, abrasions, scabbing, fungal diseases and hair loss.


Botflies use horses as a valuable support of their lifecycle by laying their eggs in areas such as the horse’s shoulders and legs. These areas of the body are easily reached by the horses’ mouths and so they can then ingest the larvae. These will then attach to the stomach wall. After around nine months they will be passed via the horse’s manure to begin the flies’ life cycle again.


Blood sucking gnats may also bite horses and these bites can cause horses to toss their heads and to bite or to rub the affected areas. Gnats secrete a toxin which can lead to respiratory depression and cardiac arrest. Scabs or blisters may also form.


Some non-biting species like houseflies and bot flies can be unpleasant irritants for horses. They feed on eye, nose and mouth secretions which is not good for horses’ health as these creatures are carriers of disease.

Foot Trouble

Horses can stomp excessively when being attacked by flies and this can loosen the nails that hold their shoes in place. When horses stomp they can also accidentally strike their own feet causing injuries. Particularly irritating flies, such as crab flies mainly form the New Forest, can also cause horses to kick out and potentially catch other horses or even people or equipment.

The crab flies were so irritating they caused a hoof hole in the stable wall!

Sweet Itch

Sweet Itch is a skin disease where horses are allergic to the saliva from midges. This causes the skin to become itchy and the reaction is to rub themselves, often around the mane and tail areas, becoming very sore and more at risk of skin infections. There are sweet itch fly sheets for horses designed with belly covers and neck extensions for greater coverage.

Why Fly Sheets?

So, you can see that it is vital that your horse is protected from flies. There are a number of measures that you can take including good husbandry and the use of fly repellents. However, one of the easiest ways to offer fly protection is to provide fly rugs or fly sheets for horses. These are designed to be comfortable for your horse and to allow freedom of movement but to prevent flies from biting and laying their eggs. A good fly sheetwill also provide protection from the sun’s UV rays into the bargain. Some styles are impregnated with repellent for additional protection.

Fly sheets for horses require a modest investment that could save your equine friend from big trouble further down the line. They will serve your horse well (especially if they hate fly sprays) and are cost effective in the long run as they will reduce the chances of requiring veterinary treatment for a variety of conditions.


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