Tackle the annoying problem of flies and midges this summer with a well-fitting fly rug. Here’s all the advice you need to buy wisely.
Primarily used in summer, a fly rug will protect your horse from annoying and biting flies and insects while he is turned out or in his stable.
These lightweight rugs are usually made from a close-knitted mesh material that creates a protective barrier to prevent flies from being able to bite your horse. Some horses can get very agitated and distressed when they are bothered by flies and midges, making the summer months a miserable time. It’s in this situation that a fly rug could make his life much more relaxed.
Also, bites from insects can cause allergic reactions in some horses. Putting on a fly rug can help to prevent nasty bumps, rashes or other skin irritations caused by biting flies and midges.
Before you rush out and buy the first fly rug you see, it’s worth considering what you need from it. A large selection of fly rugs is available, so doing your homework before you buy will ensure you get the one that’s best suited to your horse’s needs.
Pick a rug to suit your needs
The aim of any fly rug is to provide full body protection from flying pests. There are also other rugs that offer additional protection. If your horse needs this opt for a rug with a neck cover, belly flap and a generous tail flap to give better coverage and help to keep the bugs at bay.
That’s not all you need to consider, there are a number of different types of rug available that deal with specific issues.
Choosing the material — The fabric used tends to fall into one of two types: soft and hard.
Soft fly rugs are usually made of cotton or a polyester woven soft mesh. They are lightweight and mould well to your horse’s body shape. This softer material is less likely to rub but it may not be very robust, meaning it tears more easily.
The hard material is a much stiffer PVC-coated fabric. It is much tougher, but may not fit as closely to your horse’s skin. However, some do mould to the body shape over time.
As a rule, the finer the mesh the better, as this will help prevent midge bites too.
Added protection — The fabric of some fly rugs is treated with an insect repellent, providing an even greater level of protection against flies.
UV protection — Sunlight can cause bleaching of your horse’s coat. Fly rugs offer varying levels of UV protection to protect from this, and to keep his coat looking great. Some are made from material that reflects the sun’s rays.
Keep him cool — Made with lightweight mesh, fly rugs are usually breathable and allow good air flow. Many are made from light-coloured materials that reflect the sun’s rays, helping to keep your horse cool — especially dark horses.
Pattern and colour — A recent innovation is the use of different colours and patterns, which confuse insects and help to deter them. These patterns include zebra print and using a combination of bright colours.
Rain protection — These rugs offer some protection from showers. The top half of the rug is made from a waterproof material and the lower portion is a fine mesh.
Products and prices
Bucas Buzz Off Full Neck Zebra
Sizes: 5ft 6in-7ft 2in
This full neck rug provides protection for your horse from the top of his neck to his tail.
The neck cover has an elasticated browband to help keep it in place as your horse grazes.
The belly pad ensures that the rug is kept in place and protects your horse’s belly, while the large tail flap provides further protection.
The specially developed lightweight fine mesh fabric blocks even the smallest of insects, preventing them from annoying your horse. The zebra print material is used as research has found that flies are confused by zebra stripes, and so keep away.
Weatherbeeta Sweet Itch Shield Combo Neck
Sizes: 4ft-7ft 3in
This rug offers 90%+ UV block, and protects from sun bleaching, parasites and insects, avoiding irritation and skin allergies.
It is made from a breathable 600-denier ripstop outer with lined shoulders to help prevent rubbing and stretching.
It also has an elasticated and adjustable belly wrap and full-wrap tail flap. An ear hood ensures the neck cover stays in place.
Other features include wither relief for comfort and, to reduce rubbing, a side gusset for natural movement, and Ezi-clip front closure with touch tape.
Stormx Original Bee Combo Fly Rug
Sizes: 4ft-7ft 3in
This protective fly rug is not only designed to keep flies and bugs away, but also features a bold and bright bee print that is sure to be a popular choice this summer.
The quality soft mesh material promotes airflow while keeping your horse comfortable and fly-free.
This fly rug has a shoulder gusset to allow for freedom of movement, and has a full neck cover.
Yaris Core Fly Sheet
Sizes: 5ft-6ft 9in
Part of the Yaris Core range, this fly sheet is made from tight-mesh polyester for comfort and to provide protection from biting insects and sunlight.
It’s a great choice for summer turnout but can also help your horse to stay cool at shows and when travelling.
Fastened at the front with a side-squeeze clasp and a belly strap, this rug is easy to put on and take off.
Swish Fly Turnout Combination Rug
Colours: Green, purple, orange, pink, peppermint or navy
Sizes: 4ft 3in-7ft 6in
This rug protects your horse from insects while also keeping him dry on showery, cooler summer days.
The turnout section is a ripstop 1200-denier fabric; the lower section is lightweight and breathable nylon offering air flow, and sun and fly protection.
The detachable neck cover is cut longer to ensure maximum coverage even when your horse is grazing, and it is lined to prevent any rubbing.
Equilibrium Products Field Relief Fly Rug
Colour: Yellow with orange/ black binding
Sizes: 5ft 6in-7ft
A unique fly rug offering UV protection and coverage from ears to tail with a yellow mesh that research has shown to repel flies.
For a great fit this rug features a stretch hood over the ears with a forelock hole. There’s anti-rub lining on the neck, withers and chest for enhanced comfort.
The neck straps are adjustable, and a belly panel covers the stomach area for further protection.
The long tail flap has a plastic-covered fillet string for easy cleaning.