Fly sheet pros and cons? - The Horse Forum
  • 2 Post By horselovinguy
  • 1 Post By Kalraii
  • 2 Post By Jolly101
  • 1 Post By AnitaAnne
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post #1 of 5 Old 03-24-2020, 08:48 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: CenTex
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Fly sheet pros and cons?

We didn't have much of a winter this year, and the flies are already terrible I was thinking about getting fly sheets. None of my guys seem overly bothered by the flies when they are out grazing, it's just when I bring them in that they really seem bothered. They don't have overly sensitive skin and don't react to the bites. But maybe it would help them feel a little better? And maybe it would keep Pony black longer this summer. Oh, and selfishly, I was thinking it would keep them from getting muddy when they rolled.

Should I buy fly sheets? What are some other pros and cons? If you put your horses in fly sheets, do you occasionally take them off just to give them a break from them?

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post #2 of 5 Old 03-24-2020, 09:11 PM
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Fly sheets need removed so skin can breathe, hair/coat lofted and allowed to dry from sweat or rain or you will get rain rot or worse.
Although fly sheets offer protection from flies there are many different weaves to achieve UVA/UVB protection and protection from different biting pests...
I have more problems with no-see-ums irritating my horses and mosquitos at night than anything during the day. My guys are in/out 24/7 but when the boys come home evenings for feed they when the bugs are bad dressed for the evening and heavily fly-sprayed for protection best I can do.
Fly sheets have their own set of issues and maintenance needing done, they are not put it on and forget it.
You can also buy cheap or quality sheets and various style and drape factor...many choices available.
They are not made to withstand constant rolling abuse nor keep a horse from getting muddy..
This is a horse as a individual decision based on need to me...some horses will shred them and some will not too.
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post #3 of 5 Old 03-24-2020, 10:08 PM
Join Date: Jul 2015
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Depends on the field IMO. The last yard I was at there was the DIY livery field where NO ONE poo picked their part. It was DISGUSTING. And in summer you could barely see the horses head. Frankly I thought it abuse. Some DIY people refused to turn their horse out in that field because of it. One or two just fly rugged to heaven and back. The horses were MISERABLE. I'm not talking a few flies. I'm talking so many as if they were walking corpses. I even bought a fly mask and put it on one of the old girls I felt so sorry for her. I once grabbed Katie's mane and buried my head into her side as she trotted up the hill, dragging me along to the gate. I couldn't open my eyes! They were in my nose and in my mouth! Bearing in mind these were normal flies wanting to take a sip of eye juice never mind the bities as well! They all waited by the gate to come in. I was livery and when they separated fields Katie was then kept in a clean field poo picked daily by staff. The difference was HUGE and yet it was only the other side of the property... Personally they should have charged the DIY more and poo picked that field rather than rely on some lazy owners or others getting resentful.

If you have a field like above and have no choice but to share that field then 100000000% fly mask and rug to the teeth AND fly spray. But... in an extra large or well kept field? Fly mask and deosect as recommended by my vet. You sponge it on and let it soak as per instructions (once a month/fortnight depends if it rains basically). With an unclipped coat all is good in my experience. I use a serious solution on mine (deosect) and then put some in a spray bottle. It's practically paint stripper but it gives my girl IMMEDIATE relief. I even use it on myself on my clothes when we go out.

There are some horses around here that are turned out 24/7 and the rug might only come off a few times a week. I would personally want the rug off for a few hours overnight/early morning or at the very least off once a day and a good groom. Basically whenever the worst hours are over. Second to that I would probably alternate that the rug is off three evenings/overnights/days etc a week to allow them to air (not including those with allergies ofc).

CONS: they get REALLY hot and ultimately that is what put me off. Really... if the fly situation is OK, if they are unclipped, then fly spray each day (or apply a solution each week etc) and a fly mask is all good. I remember being all anxious and posting on here too xD There are some poor sensitive horses though that I think really benefit from extreme fly protection but your post suggests that none of yours are like that.
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post #4 of 5 Old 03-25-2020, 01:13 AM
Join Date: Jul 2018
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I normally don't use fly sheets on my horses; however, a few years ago, one of them developed hives I think because of the 'moose flies', so I did invest in a fly sheet immediately. The hives went away after the sheet was used. One thing I'll note is that I haven't found one I love yet and am still looking around for one. I bought and sold two. They both didn't fit well, The first one was also hot and while the second one did breathe, it had an even worse fit than the first.

Recommendations/ Pros:

some have UVA/UVB protection and of course keeps the pesky flies away!

Detachable necks! I've had the fly sheets with attached necks and do not like them. It's a nice option to be able to remove the neck on hot days and attach it on other days.

Belly bands offer more protection


Many can be hot in the summer

Fit - this could be said about many blankets, but I do find that the belly band and neck extension (if there is one) on a fly sheet can be more difficult to fit.

They don't offer total protection from the flies. My horse has had flies fly under and up and drive him crazy.

Need to be removed every so often

I have left the fly sheet on 24/7 as I board and the BO does not do blanket removal. I also did not want to risk my horse developing hives again by leaving it off. My horse was fine with it, but I did try and remove it when I could. Personally, I do like having a fly sheet available for when it is needed. The biggest thing would be to find a fly sheet that fits properly and checks all your boxes.
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post #5 of 5 Old 03-25-2020, 10:24 AM
Join Date: Oct 2010
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I've used fly sheets for years, even in our hot, humid climate.

The only brand I will buy is the Kensington. One gets what they pay for, and these are the only ones that hold up year after year to my horses, even Chivas who is super hard on everything!

On dark horses especially, IME, they stay cooler with the fly sheet than without. They also stay cleaner. There was a time, when I was showing, that my horses lived in some sort of sheet/blanket 24/7 nearly all year without any issues.

I have the typical fencing in the area, barbed wire, which is hard on sheets and blankets when horses are reaching over the fence for the pretty green grass on the other side

Since there are cows down the road from me, even with a feed-thru-fly control I still get flies so also hang fly traps and spray if no sheets are on. Lacy will most likely need a fly sheet as her skin has issues I haven't been able to resolve yet

Kensington makes two styles of the fly sheets, a European style which has longer sides and is more squarish, and the American style which is longer backed and shorter sides for QH type builds.

They do feel super stiff at first, but on a horse in the warm quickly conform to their shape. Some rain gets in, but not as much as one would think.
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