Not all fly sheets are created equal. While all fly sheets protect against bugs to one degree or another, each material has its own strengths and weaknesses. Some material is perfect for all-around fly protection, while other materials are better for defense against damaging UV rays. On the other hand, fly sheets that are durable might not be the most comfortable due to the limited airflow.
With any fly sheet, you’ll have some level of insect protection. But not all sheets protect against a large range of insects. If your horse is hypersensitive to bug bites, look for an extra-fine ‘window screen’ nylon mesh. For example, the Mosquito Mesh Fly Sheets protect against insects as small as gnats and as large as horse flies.
We all know horses that are rough in turnout. They practically need a suit of armor when they go outside. Some play rough with their pasture mates with no consequence. Others have bite marks or punctures that can be harmful. If this is your horse, look for material made of a thick poly vinyl coated 1000 denier mesh material, like the Dura-Mesh Fly Sheets. This material will stand up to even the roughest of play. Your horse won’t come in looking like he’s been in a battle.
For some horses, sun exposure can cause a multitude of problems. Horses that are dark bay or black can suffer in the sun from bleaching or a dulling of their coat. Both are unsightly, but can also cause damage to their coat that is difficult to reverse. If you’re concerned about sun-bleaching, or your horse getting sunburned, then look for material that offers at least 80% UV protection. You’ll know you have found the right material when the sun reflects off the fly sheet. Take a look at the Soft Interlock Mesh Fly Sheets for maximum UV protection.
In hotter climates, fly sheets can be difficult to use. Fly sheets that are too heavy can cause overheating and excessive sweating, which can lead to dehydration. If keeping your horse as cool as possible is your goal, you’ll be best off with a material with a loose weave that will allow as much airflow as possible; like the Ripstop Nylon Mesh.
Sometimes a fly sheet just isn’t enough. For more protection, you may need to look at neck covers, fly masks, or fly boots. Luckily, most fly sheets have matching accessories available. Fly masks are available with and without ears, with an extended nose, or with funny face designs.
There are even options for while you are riding. For trail riding during the summer, a fly mask will help protect against sun exposure and bugs. Horses that show with clipped ears may benefit from a fly veil. Fly veils keep bugs out of a horses ears and can help reduce noise distractions. If only your horses’ nose needs extra protection during riding, a nose net can be attached to the noseband.
Choosing the best fly sheet for your horse can be daunting. Knowing which features are most important for your horse will make choosing the best fly sheet easy. Consider your climate, environment, and horse’s temperament when picking the most important features for your horse.
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