When the rain is lashing down and it is freezing cold, everyone yearns for the summer months and the warmer weather. However, with the longer, hotter days come the insects – flies, midges and other winged pests that can make this time of year miserable if a horse is sensitive.

Some equine can get very agitated and distressed when they are exposed to biting insects, and for some these small creatures can cause allergic reactions.

A lightweight fly rug is designed to create a protective barrier to stop flies biting a horse. If can help to keep them more relaxed and prevent nasty bumps, rashes or other skin irritations caused by biting insects. Some rugs also offer UV protection, while others are showerproof.

There is a huge selection of fly rugs available so before you buy consider what kind of protection you are seeking from such a product.

Therefore what do you need to know to make the best choice?

Pick a rug to suit your needs

The aim of any fly rug is to provide full body protection from flying pests. Many will include other features that offer further protection, such as a neck cover, belly flap and a generous tail flap.

There are a number of different types of rugs available that deal with specific issues — sweet itch rugs, for example, are especially designed to keep midges away from as much of the horse’s body as possible.

Choosing the material 

Fly rugs can be made from either soft or hard fabric. Soft fly rugs usually comprise a cotton or a polyester woven mesh. They are lightweight and mould well to the horse’s body shape. The softer material is less likely to rub, but it may not be as robust, meaning that itcould rip more easily.

The hard material is a stiffer PVC-coated fabric which makes it much tougher, but this type of fabric may not fit as closely to a horse’s skin. Some, however, do mould to the horse’s body shape over time.

As a rule, the finer the mesh the better as this will help to prevent midge bites, too.

Keeping cool

Fly rugs are usually breathable and allow good air flow. Many are made from light coloured materials that reflect the sun’s rays, and this helps to keep the horse cool, especially if they have a dark coat.

UV protection

Sunshine bleaches a horse’s coat, but there are fly rugs on the market that offer varying levels of UV protection to help protect the coat and to keep it looking great. Some rugs are made from materials that reflects the sun’s rays.

Added protection

The fabric of some fly rugs is treated with an insect repellent to give even greater protection from flying pests.

Pattern and colour

Research shows that certain colours and patterns repel insects more than others. Zebra print, for example, is a fly deterrent, while using a combination of bright colours can alsohelp to keep pests at arm’s length.

Rain protection

Some rugs will also keep a horse dry and comfortable if he is caught out in a rain shower. The top half of these rug is made from a waterproof material, while the lower portion isconstructed from a fine mesh.

What’s on the market?

Dominick Fly Rug

Dominick Fly Rug

RRP £95

Colour: White

Sizes: XS (5ft 9in), S (6ft), M (6ft 3in), L (6ft 6in), XL (6ft 9in), XXL (7ft)


A comfortable and breathable rug, the Dominick Fly Rug features a long neck to keep the horse covered even when they have their head down while grazing.

Dominick rugs feature an exclusive ‘Liberty System’ which shapes the rug to the contours of the horse’s body to keep it straight and prevent it slipping backwards.

Weatherbeeta Comfitec Airflow II Combo Neck

Weatherbeeta Comfitec Airflow II Combo Neck

RRP £99.99

Colours: White/ violet/ blue, grey/ white/ grey

Sizes: 4ft – 7ft 3in


This fly rug is made to protect a horse against flies and UV rays. It features a breathable, soft and durable polyester mesh outer and provides insect protection with a 75%+ UV block.

It has an elastic insert at the wither for additional comfort when grazing, an ultra belly wrap for extra protection and a two-piece design full wrap tail flap that wraps around the horse’s quarters.

The Ezi-Clip front closure with touch tape is simple to use, while a traditional side gusset allows good freedom of movement.

HY Equestrian DefenceX System Guardian Fly Rug & Fly Mask

HY Equestrian DefenceX System Guardian Fly Rug & Fly Mask

RRP £64.99

Colour: White

Sizes: 4ft 6in – 7ft 3in


This rug is designed using a polyester silver close weave mesh that protects from insects and reflects UV rays to help prevent sun bleaching. The neck fits over the ears to prevent it from slipping down, while the rug comes complete with a fly mask.

The DefenceX System Guardian boasts elasticated touch tape neck fastenings, plus a protective belly flap with elasticated straps. Deep shoulder gussets allow freedom of movement, while a tail flap and anti-rub lining on the mane, tail and shoulder area give maximum coverage.

Le Mieux Arika Shower-Tek Fly Rug

Le Mieux Arika Shower-Tek Fly Rug

RRP £99.95

Colour: Navy/ silver

Sizes: 5ft 6in – 7ft


This rug will protect a horse from showers and the sun thanks to a durable waterproof topline section. This is made from a lightweight micro mesh that provides a barrier against flies and bugs and promotes airflow.

The extended shaped belly flap maximises coverage and features a three-strap closure with a detachable central strap that helps to self-right the rug. The angled front fastening system distributes pressure to prevent rubbing on the point of the shoulder and across the chest. A two-part patented lower skirt system relieves tension, allowing for more movement.

StormX Original All Rounder Combi Fly Rug Thelwell Collection

StormX Original All Rounder Combi Fly Rug Thelwell Collection

RRP £54.99

Colour: Thelwell All Rounder print

Sizes: 4ft – 7ft 3in


This protective fly rug is not only designed to keep flies and bugs at bay, but it also features a bold and bright Thelwell All Rounder print. The soft mesh material promotes airflow and keeps the horse comfortable.

Other features include shoulder gussets for freedom of movement, a neck cover, twin buckle chest closures and adjustable cross surcingles.

Felix Bühler rPet Full Neck Fly Rug with Neck Piece Life Cycle

Felix Bühler rPet Full Neck Fly Rug with Neck Piece Life Cycle

RRP £109

Colours: Milkshake, sage

Sizes: 5ft 6in – 7ft


This rug is designed to protect a horse from annoying flies while helping the environment at the same time. It provides perfect all-round protection thanks to the extra long cut on the forehand and hindquarters.

The main material, as well as the coat-friendly lining in the shoulder, mane and tail areas, are made of recycled polyester (rPet).

The generous belly bib can be quickly, securely and individually adjusted and closed by three elastic straps with T-closures.

JHL Ultra Fly Relief Combo Rug

JHL Ultra Fly Relief Combo Rug

RRP £59.98

Colour: White & sky

Sizes: 5ft 6in – 7ft


Made with a lightweight, breathable and sturdy mesh outer, this rug features a high stretch shoulder stress relief design for freedom of movement.

It also has adjustable double front buckles, three hook and loop fastening strips on the belly band and adjustable and removable leg straps.

Bucas Buzz Off Zebra Full Neck

Bucas Buzz Off Full Neck Zebra

RRP from €115

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

Weatherbeeta Sweet Itch Shield Combo Neck

RRP £81.99

Colour: White/blue

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

Stormx Original Bee Combo Fly Rug

RRP £51.99

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.

Swish Fly Turnout Combination Rug

Swish Fly Turnout Combination Rug

RRP £89.99

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

Equilibrium Products Field Relief Fly Rug

RRP £95

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.

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