How to protect your horse from flies when riding

Protect Your Horse From Flies When Riding

Riding whenever the flies are out and about can be a nightmare. From early spring right through to the end of September, this nightmare seems to occur every day, doesn’t it? Some horses turn themselves inside out when they try to get away from the flies. So, what can you do to protect your horse from the flies when you’re riding? There are several key products that have been specially developed for this purpose. Read on to find out more…

Ride-on Fly Rug

The Ride-on Fly Rug is a relatively recent addition to the range of fly rugs that are now available. Your horse will be much easier to ride with one of these as most of his body will be protected from the flies. Go up a size if you prefer a more generous fit as they do tend to be a bit snug otherwise.

A firm favourite is the Busse Fringe Exercise Fly Sheet. The fringe on it is a bit "marmite" but very effective. Trimmed with a long fringe, 20-25 centimetres, to add an extra level of defence against biting insects, it also has Velcro loops at the top of the neck to attach it to the bridle, so that it doesn't slip down the neck. Take your pick from a lovely turquoise or navy.

Busse Fringe Exercise Fly Sheet

If you like the look of this rug but would prefer not to have the fringe, a fringe-less version is available with all the other great features. And it's available in beige, turquoise or navy.

Busse Exercise Fly Sheet

Scientists have recently discovered that zebra stripes discourage blood-sucking flies. Dazzled and confused by the array of black and white stripes, flies find it difficult to land on zebras. So if you want your rug to be a proven natural deterrent for all biting insets, the distinctive zebra pattern on the HKM Zebra Exercise Combo Fly Rug is the one for you. A Velcro strap at the top of the neck means that it can be fastened so that it doesn't fall down, while a tail strap keeps it in place on the hind quarters.


Fly Mask

There are a range of ride-on fly masks to choose from. Suitable for riding, the HKM Anti Fly Mask can be used with a bridle and is sculpted for good clearance of the eyes. 



If you have a zebra stripe ride-on fly rug and you want a matching fly mask, the HKM Zebra Print Anti Fly Mask will be provide full coverage in the same way that the rug does. 

  HKM Zebra Print Anti Fly Mask

Fly Fringe

Ride-on fly fringes are an inexpensive way to protect your horse's face from flies when you’re riding. If you only need to protect your horse’s eyes and ears from the flies, the Busse Quick Fit Fly Fringe can be attached quickly and easily to the bridle. It has nice thick tassels, lots of them, and is great value.

Busse Quick Fit Fly Fringe

Fly Repellent

As well as using a fly repellent when you turn out your horse in the field, any of them can be used when you go out riding too. A spray is particularly good as it can be sprayed on a ride-on fly rug, giving you a double whammy of defence against the flies.

NAF have created their unique “tags” that contain fly repellent.The NAF Off Citronella Tag can be attached to a bit of tack to help keep the flies away when riding.  

NAF Off Citronella Tag  

Anything else?

If you found this article helpful, read our other article on how to protect your horse from flies when he's out in his field.


Shop Ride-On Fly Rugs


Kim Horton

Co-Founder of EQUUS and a keen equestrian, when Kim's not at her desk she's with her horse, Waldo.

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