Picking the right fly sheet for your horse


Fly sheets serve multiple purposes for horses, but mainly reduce the irritation your horse feels.  They also help protect against UV rays and form a light barrier to dirt.  


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There are endless options for fly sheets


  • Color – Light colors reflect heat away from your horse, keeping him cooler. Light colors also help to camouflage your horse from some bugs and flies, like greenheads, that are attracted to dark-moving meals.


zebra print fly sheet on a horse

It’s believed that zebra stripes confuse flies that are attracted by sight. And also this pattern is cute.


  • Fabric – Some fly sheets are barely detectable and drape over your horse like a second skin. Obviously, these have the shortest life spans. More durable fabric options are rigid and almost float over parts of your horse, and seem to create a bubble of fly sheet protection. There are also tons of options in between. I tend to prefer the stiffer fabrics, for some reason I think of them as “air-conditioned” if the fabric doesn’t drape over them so much.


stiff and sheer fly sheet

This stiff mesh is light and doesn’t drape. I can’t prove it, but it seems like more air could flow around. And, the stiffer fabric seems harder to penetrate for the really big horse flies.


  • Extras – You can get the basic edition of a fly sheet or fancy extras like belly guards, neck pieces, and tail covers. I’m a big fan of belly guards to minimize the amount of time your horse spends kicking and stomping. Neckpieces might make your horse warmer (or not), but are great for super sensitive and wildly itchy horses.



horse in brown fly sheet grazing on brown dry grass

Belly guards are helpful


  • Special needs – If your horse suffers from sweet itch, look for brands that are specially designed with hoods, extensive belly covers, and wrap around the tops of legs to create a giant impenetrable seal. I suppose you could also use one of these styles for the non-sweet itch horse if you liked.


  • When will your horse be wearing his fly gear? I have a special set of fly gear for use when riding. It’s a front neck and shoulder piece and another piece behind the saddle. It can make a huge difference when we are out riding.


horse wearing fly sheet on neck

We ride in fly gear – designed to be used with tack.


  • Washing Instructions – I’m a fan of the simple things in life, like a quick spin in the washer and then line drying. Many of the thinner types of fly sheets meet the washer and then quickly meet their demise. Often, you can get away with a simple rinse in the wash rack and drying in the wind.



horse wearing a fly sheet that's falling off

WRONG. I don’t care if that was the only size left.


  • Fit – What good is it if your horse’s fly sheet doesn’t fit? Start with measuring to find the approximate size, then try them out! A fly sheet that’s too big can get easily destroyed, and a fly sheet that’s too small can cause rubs.


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Use these links to do some shopping for fly control stuff. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. There is no extra cost to you, and I thank you for your support.  You can also visit my Amazon storefront here:  PEG storefront.

Fly Whisk

For *mostly* bug free riding

04/08/2024 08:43 pm GMT
Farnam Equi-Spot, Horse Fly and Tick Control, 12-Week Supply for One Horse
$27.49 $23.99

This spot-on product kills and repels ticks and helps with mosquito control.

05/20/2024 02:27 pm GMT
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05/13/2024 01:17 am GMT
Cashel Quiet Ride Horse Fly Mask with Long Nose and Ears

This style is great for riding!

05/11/2024 02:43 am GMT
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05/20/2024 08:28 pm GMT
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Thank you!