Fly Rugs Buying Guide
There are so many fly rugs for horses out there! So many brands with different options and extras in each, it can all be a bit confusing. Also, the way they’re described makes all of these products sound amazing and just the right rug to protect your horse. So how do you do decide what you need? Read our buying guide to find out more…
What is the purpose of a fly rug?
A Fly Rug or a Fly Sheet as it is also known, is a lightweight fine mesh rug. Its purpose is simply to protect your horse from midges and biting flies. Take a look at our range of Fly and Sweet Itch Rugs.
Does my horse need a fly rug?
If you’re wondering if your horse needs a fly rug, he will if he’s bothered by flies and midges or gets bitten. Plus, just like us, horses need protection from ultraviolet rays. Fly rugs and fly masks act like sunscreen. This helps decrease coat bleaching in dark horses and protects from sunburn and skin cancers in light-coloured horses and those with areas of pink skin.
What are fly rugs made of?
The fabric used to make fly rugs tend to fall into two varieties —” soft” and ”hard.”
The soft fly rugs are usually made of cotton or a polyester woven soft mesh. They are lightweight and airy, tending to fit closer to the body. Whilst these tend to be kinder to a horse’s coat and skin, they also can get snagged and tear more easily.
The hard fly rugs are made of stiff PVC-coated fabric. This is tougher and longer lasting than the soft equivalent. Some fit closer to the body, like a softer material, while others seem to sit farther away from the horse, creating a stiff-shaped barrier.
What different types of fly rugs are there?
Fly rugs fall in to three categories:
- For turn out
- For riding
- For transport.
Within the turn out category, the following are available:
Waterproof: Some fly rugs are waterproof. It should say in the product description whether a rug is waterproof or not. A waterproof fly rug has a waterproof panel along the top and usually mesh along the bottom.
Waterproof fly rugs work best in spring and autumn. Whilst anything waterproof might be breathable, it will never be breathable enough on a hot day.
UV Protection: As well as providing protection from flies, some fly rugs also offer UV protection from the sun’s harmful rays. Fly rugs with UV protection prevent sunburn of areas of sensitive skin and from bleaching darker coloured coats.
Zebra: Scientific experiment showed that the stripes on a zebra fly rug effectively reduced flies from landing on the horse as they either just flew past them or bumped into them and bounced off! This means that a zebra-print fly rug is one of the best fly rugs for horses that you can get!
Fun patterned: The demand for patterned turn out rugs grows each year and now this has extended to include fly rugs as well. All patterned rugs are popular and exceedingly useful if your horse is in a big field with lots of other horses.
Features of fly rugs
Like other rugs, fly rugs come with a multitude of features:
- Shoulder gusset
- attached or detachable necks
- leg straps, both the fixed or detachable ones
- single or double surcingles
- belly flap
- extra-long tail flap
- every type of front closure you can imagine!
What time of year do I need to put a fly rug on my horse?
It is not necessarily the time, or rather month, of year that determines when you need to put on a fly rug, it’s when the midges first start to appear. This can be as early as February. From this point onwards right through to autumn, temperatures permitting, you need to put on a fly rug.
Will a fly rug keep my horse cool?
Made with lightweight mesh, fly rugs are breathable and allow air flow. They can actually make a dark horse cooler, since they are generally made with light, UV ray reflecting colours.
Can I leave a fly rug on my horse when it rains?
Yes, you can leave a fly rug on when it rains as long as the temperature is +15 degrees and it’s not prolonged, torrential rain. The rug will dry out.
Can I travel my horse in a fly rug?
Yes, you can travel a horse in a fly rug. A Standard Neck Fly Rug is the most popular for travelling as it means that the horse won’t get to hot.
Can I leave a fly rug on overnight?
Yes, you can leave a well-fitting fly rug on overnight as, just like a turnout rug, they do no harm. The rug needs to be taken off regularly and the horse checked for injuries, again just as you would a turn out rug.