Everything You Need to Know About Horse Fly Sheets

Our Fly Sheets 101 guide is a comprehensive resource center that lays out everything you need to know about getting the best fly sheet for your horse. From important terminology and measuring your horse correctly to achieve a proper fit to choosing the right type of fly sheet fabric for the season or environment and selecting other fly sheet features for specific types of horses. Explore our Fly Sheets guide to make an informed buying decision.

Table of Contents:

Why Should You Use a Horse Fly Sheet?

Horses need fly sheets to protect them from biting insects and harmful UV rays, but not every environment or horse is the same. Since horses come in different shapes and sizes and live in different climates, fly sheets from Schneiders come in a variety of fits and materials to address specific problems so you can find the best fly sheet for your horse.

Problem: Bothersome Insects

Insects can transmit diseases, cause discomfort, allergic reactions, and irritate horses to a point of stomping their feet or running frantically out in the field. A fly sheet can solve these irritations by preventing flies from landing on and bothering your horse. With any fly sheet, your horse will benefit from some level of insect protection, but not all sheets cover a large range of insects. Learn about the different types of fabrics we offer in horse fly sheets to find the material that will best handle the bugs that bother your horse.

Problem: Dangerous Ultraviolet Radiation

Problem: dangerous ultraviolet radiation. For some horses, sun exposure can cause a multitude of problems. Horses that are dark bay and black can suffer in the sun from bleaching or a dulling of their coat. This is unsightly but can also cause damage to their coat that is difficult to reverse. Light-colored horses or horses with large white markings can suffer from sunburns that blister, causing irritation and scabs that attract flies. Some fly sheets offer UV protection to protect horses from bleaching out, sunburns, and blisters. Find the fly sheet that offers the best UV protection for a vulnerable horse.

Are you not using a fly sheet because you’re worried about your horse overheating?

Problem: overheating. In hotter climates, fly sheets can be difficult to use. Fly sheets that are too heavy can cause overheating and excessive sweating. While these conditions may not seem serious, they can lead to dehydration. However, there are a lot of fly sheets available that offer amazing airflow. Schneiders offers lightweight, breathable fly sheets made in airy, open-weave mesh that keeps your horse’s body cool in the heat.

Are you not using a fly sheet because of how your horse plays?

Problem: rough play. We all know horses that are so rough inside they practically need a suit of armor when they go outside. Some play rough with their pasture mates with no consequence. Others have bite marks or punctures that can be harmful. The best horse fly sheet for this type of horse is made to endure rough play. Our Dura-Mesh fly sheets feature a vinyl-coated 1000 denier material engineered to stand up to your lively horse.

Are fly sheets good for horses?

Yes: If you live in an area where flies are bothersome, fly sheets are a great product to keep on your horse. And fly sheets offer a variety of benefits beyond fly protection, including keeping your horse calm while protecting them from harmful UV rays.

Is your horse extremely bothered by flies and other insects? Are they agitated outside during turnout, with copious amounts of tail-swishing, maybe pacing or running, kicking, weaving, and otherwise unsettled? Or, is your horse rather unphased by anything outside, seemingly oblivious to flying insects or paying little attention to anything but the grass at their lips? Read on to learn whether a fly sheet is right for your horse:

Fly Sheets for the Agitated Horse

The Agitated Horse

Another horseman’s term for this type of horse is “thin-skinned.” These horses are very sensitive and seem to notice every fly landing on them, with little patience for them. For these types of horses, turnout can become a time of extreme stress and anxiety, sending them into flight to escape. Often a fly sheet will transform hours of torment into hours of contentment for this type of horse. When a fly sheet reduces stress and anxiety, it is a very good thing indeed.

Fly Sheets for the Unphased Horse

The Unphased Horse

Horses that seemingly go out to turnout without a care in the world still might benefit from a fly sheet. Even if you have not noticed this horse bolting around the pasture to rid themselves of flies, this type of horse might still be thankful to wear a fly sheet and use their tail less, and they’ll benefit from the coat and skin protection the fly sheet’s UV performance tech fabric offers.

Fly Sheets for the Sensitive to Bites Horse

The Sensitive-to-Insect-Bites Horse

Some horses react more to insect bites, just like people. These horses come in from turnout with welts and bumps galore. You may notice while grooming these horses they lean into your brush strokes, enjoying the scratch you are providing. A fly sheet can help offer relief to these horses just by preventing the sheer volume of insect bites.

Fly Sheets for the Dark Coat Horse

The Dark Coat Horse

Bay, dark bay, and black horses sometimes turn orangey or “bleached out” in the sun, and their coats can become rough. Sometimes dark-coated horses seem to run hotter as well. A fly sheet with UV protection can help keep your horse’s dark coat darker by reducing the number of UV rays able to reach their coats—some sheets by as much as 80%.

Fly Sheets for the Light Coat Horse

The Light Coat Horse

Horses with white coats, pink skin, and light coats can be at risk for sunburns and skin damage from the sun. A UV fly sheet can reduce the amount of damaging UV rays able to reach your horse’s skin, leaving them better protected during turnout.

How To Measure a Horse for a Fly Sheet

Fly Sheets for the Light Coat Horse

The most accurate and easiest way to determine your horse’s fly sheet size or blanket size is to measure along the side of their body, from chest to tail. First, stand the horse squarely on a flat surface. Measure from the center of the chest, straight back to the very edge of the tail. Make sure to measure along the widest part of their shoulder and hindquarters. The number of inches measured in this way is your horse’s size. Every Schneiders horse blanket or fly sheet product page includes a handy size chart link to help you determine the correct size for your horse.

Fly Sheet Material Guide

Dura-Mesh II Fly Sheets

Dura-Mesh II

The fly sheet with the BEST DURABILITY that’s constructed from a 1000D heavy polyvinyl-coated mesh withstands the rigors of turnout, perfect for those horses that play rough in the pasture.

  • The most durable fly sheet for horses that play hard in the field
  • Constructed with 1000D heavy poly/vinyl coated mesh
  • Innovative SilverTek™ technology with antibacterial properties on chest, shoulders, and tail lining
  • Provides the best insect protection against medium to large-sized insects
  • 70% UV protection rating
  • Better airflow for horses that live in warm to hot climates
  • Hard play durability
  • Available in VTEK® and V-Free® Wither Relief designs with original Adjusta-Fit system
  • Backed by a 3-year warranty

Mosquito Mesh II Fly Sheets

Mosquito Mesh II

The best fly sheet for insect protection and airflow, constructed from an extra fine "window screen" 350D nylon mesh material that prevents even the tiniest gnats.

  • Best fly sheet for dual insect protection and airflow for horses
  • Constructed from 350D extra fine "window screen" nylon mesh
  • Innovative SilverTek™ technology with antibacterial properties on chest, shoulders, and tail flap lining
  • Reflective stripes for added safety in low light or night turnout
  • The best insect protection against small to medium-sized insects
  • 40% UV protection rating
  • Best airflow for horses that live in moderate to hot climates
  • Available in five comfortable fits with our original Adjusta-Fit system

RipGuard Fly Sheets

RipGuard

A fly sheet that is best at self-repairing. Constructed from a diamond interwoven 350D ripstop mesh x 600D soft-interlocking mesh that you rub together to repair small snags that could turn into tears.

  • Best at protecting against small to medium-sized insects, such as gnats, midges, stable flies, deer flies, and other medium-sized biting insects.
  • Playful durability
  • Good airflow for horses that have shelter and live in a moderate climate
  • 70% UV protection rating
  • Available Fits: VTEK® Wither Relief, V-Free® Wither Relief, and Senior VTEK® Wither Relief
  • Available Sizes: Horse
  • Warranty: 3 years

Soft Interlock Mesh II Fly Sheet

Soft-Interlock Mesh II

The fly sheet with the best UV protection rating. They are made from a soft and comfortable 300D polyester interlock mesh material offering an impressive 80% UV protection level.

  • A fly sheet that provides the best UV protection for horses, ponies, and minis
  • Constructed with a 300D soft and comfortable polyester mesh material
  • Innovative SilverTek™ technology with antibacterial properties on the chest, shoulder, and tail flap lining
  • Reflective stripes for added safety in low light or night turnout
  • The best insect protection against small to medium-sized insects
  • 80% UV protection rating
  • Better airflow for horses that live in moderate weather
  • Available in our Euro and Attached Neck Euro fit that conforms to all breeds

Ripstop Nylon Mesh II

Ripstop Nylon Mesh II

The most breathable fly sheet with the best airflow. It's constructed from a 300D textured, shiny, reflective nylon mesh that allows for the greatest amount of airflow.

  • TThe best fly sheet for airflow and breathability for comfort on hot days
  • Constructed from a 300D textured, shiny, reflective nylon that stays cool in hot weather
  • Designed with a contoured back with no side seams for better fit and durability
  • Innovative SilverTek™ technology with antibacterial properties on chest, shoulder, tail flap lining, and the attached neck styles
  • Reflective stripes for added safety in low light or night turnout
  • The best insect protection against small to medium-sized flies
  • 40% UV protection rating
  • BEST airflow, perfect for hot climates
  • Available in the Euro and Attached Neck Euro fits that conforms to most horses

Mosquito Mesh Hybrid II

  • Light play durability
  • Better airflow for hoIIrses with access to shelter and live in moderate to warmer climates
  • The fly sheet offers the best dual protection from insects and harmful UV rays. It's designed with an extra fine Mosquito Mesh on the chest and back and a Soft Interlock Mesh on the sides.

  • Available Sizes: Horse
  • Best horse fly sheet for both insect and UV protection
  • Combines 350D Mosquito Mesh fabric (chest and back) and 450D Soft Interlocking Mesh (sides)
  • Innovative SilverTek™ technology with antibacterial properties on chest, shoulders, and tail flap lining
  • Reflective stripes for added safety in low light or night turnout
  • The best insect protection against small to medium-sized bugs
  • 60% average UV protection rating
  • Best airflow for horses with access to shelter and live in moderate to hot climates
  • Available in three wither relief designs with our original Adjusta-Fit system
  • Fly Sheet Fit Guide

    VTEK® Wither Relief

    VTEK Wither Relief Fly Sheet Fit

    The VTEK® Wither Relief style fly sheets are designed to prevent rubbing and relieve pressure on moderate to high-withered horses. They’re an excellent choice for Thoroughbreds, Warmbloods, and Appendix-type horses. It features an extended drop to cover a deeper heart girth shaped with darts at the hips to give a more contoured fit around the rump. The v-shaped wither construction gives a unique upward lift that allows space between the blanket and the point of the withers, extending 6 to 8 inches onto the mane with fleece padding where the mane meets the fly sheet. The additional benefit of the Adjusta-Fit® hook and loop closure to adjust the neck and shoulder area for your horse’s specific build. Available in senior and attached neck fits.

    Attached Neck VTEK® Wither Relief

    Attached Neck VTEK Wither Relief Fly Sheet Fit

    The Attached Neck VTEK® Wither Relief provides the same great fit as our standard VTEK® fit but with an attached neck cover. It’s designed to relieve pressure on moderate to high-withered horses, such as Thoroughbreds, Warmbloods, and Appendix horses with upright shoulder conformation. The neck cover, attached with lycra, offers your horse full protection from ears to tail.

    V-Free® Wither Relief

    VFREE Wither Relief Fly Sheet Fit

    The V-Free® Wither Relief fly sheet is designed to prevent rubbing and relieve pressure on low to moderate-withered horses. It’s perfect for Quarter Horses, Stock Horse breeds, and Arabians. It features an extended drop to cover a deeper heart girth shaped with darts at the hips to give a more contoured fit around the rump. The v-shaped wither construction gives a unique upward lift that allows space between the sheet and the point of the withers. The sheet begins where the mane ends with a large neck opening, sloped neckline, and fleece padding where the mane meets the sheet. Available in attached neck fits.

    Attached Neck V-Free® Wither Relief

    Attached Neck VFREE Wither Relief Fly Sheet Fit

    The Attached Neck V-Free® Wither Relief provides the same great fit as our standard V-Free® fit but with an attached neck cover. It’s designed to relieve pressure on low to moderate-withered horses, such as Quarter Horse, Stock Breed, and Arabian horses with sloped shoulder conformation. The neck cover, attached with lycra, offers your horse full protection from ears to tail.

    Cutback Wither

    Cutback Wither Fly Sheet Fit

    The Cutback Wither style is designed to cut away at the withers, leaving the mane and withers completely uncovered and pressure-free. It’s perfect for Friesians, Saddlebreds, Tennessee Walkers, and some Arabians. It features an extended drop to cover a deeper heart girth shaped with darts at the hips to give a more contoured fit around the rump, a larger neck opening, a sloped neck line, and a cut back to leave an opening for the withers.

    Euro

    Euro Fly Sheet Fit

    Our Euro-fit fly sheets are designed to drape comfortably and adapt to most conformations and breeds. The straight fit from withers to back, and the sheet comes up 4-6 inches onto the mane, fully covering the shoulders and withers.

    Attached Neck Euro Fly Sheets

    Attached Neck Euro Fly Sheet Fit

    The Attached Neck Euro Fit provides the same great fit as our standard Euro fit but with an attached neck cover. It’s designed to drape comfortably and adapt to most conformations and breeds. The neck cover, attached with lycra, offers your horse full protection from ears to tail.

    High Neck Euro Fly Sheets

    High Neck Euro Fly Sheet Fit

    The High Neck Euro Fit provides the same great fit as our standard Euro fit but it’s designed to provide additional coverage from mid-neck to tail. It’s designed to drape comfortably and adapt to most conformations and breeds.

    Description of Fly Sheet Features

    Parts of a Horse Fly Sheet

    Parts of Horse Fly Sheets

    1. Neck Cover: Add extra protection from insects and the sun with a detachable fly neck cover. Our fly sheet neck covers attach with 2 carabiner clips and one elastic strap.
    2. Front Closure: Closed Front fly sheets slip over the horse’s head, Open Front fly sheets are more adjustable and come in two types: Double Buckle fly sheets have two simple buckles, and Double Snap have buckled adjustments with easy on-off snaps.
    3. D-Rings: The D-rings around the neck of our fly sheets are made to attach the sheet’s matching neck cover.
    4. Shoulder Gusset: Allows for greater freedom of movement in the horse’s shoulder to prevent the fly sheet from rubbing.
    5. Adjusta-Fit®: Customize the neck opening of your fly sheet to fit any width horse.
    6. Drop: The drops of our fly sheets are graded to the size sheet, but our fly sheet fits also offer different drop lengths to accommodate your horse’s shape.
    7. Belly Closure: Our Bellyband closure offers additional coverage, and our Surcingle closure keeps the fly sheet in place more securely.
    8. Tail Cover: The tail covers on our fly sheets add rear protection from insects and UV rays.

    How To Safely Put On and Take Off a Fly Sheet

    How to put on a fly sheet

    If your horse were to break loose or spook while you are dressing him, a half-fastened fly sheet is less likely to cause harm if its front is fastened, simply because horses generally bolt forward, and the front closure will keep the fly sheet from flapping up and gathering in front of the horse’s hind legs, further scaring the horse by acting like a bucking strap. Therefore, when putting on a horse fly sheet, it is always safest to fasten closures from front to back. For the same reason, when removing a horse fly sheet, work from back to front, unfastening the leg and belly straps before the chest closure.

    Fly Sheet Front Closures

    Fly sheets are available with either a closed front or an open front. Closed front fly sheets are sewn together at the chest so the front of the fly sheet lays flat. With closed front fly sheets, the neck hole must be slipped over the horse’s head when dressing, so they are perfect for calm horses who are not too tall. Open front fly sheets have a set of buckles or clips at the chest which open for dressing. These fly sheets are easier to use for tall horses or for those who require more adjustment in the chest area to deal with unusual width.

    Fly Sheet Belly Closures

    Schneiders fly sheets are also available with either bellyband closures for additional coverage, or surcingle straps to keep the fly sheet from turning when the horse rolls or plays in turnout. Bellyband closure fly sheets also have hardware positioned to avoid poking the horse while he’s laying down.

    Fly Sheet Leg Straps

    Most fly sheets also include leg straps to keep the fly sheet from flapping up on windy days and to help keep the fly sheet in place while the horse is playing or rolling. Leg straps should be hooked around each leg but linked through each other between the back legs and adjusted so that they are not hanging where the horse could catch a leg through the strap.

    Additional Insect Protection for Your Horse

    In the Spring and Summer months, when fly season is in full force, you can keep bugs from biting your horse with fly protection products, including fly boots, fly masks, fly spray and curtains, and stall fan holders. Using the right combination of these products keeps biting insects from irritating your horse.

    Fly Masks

    Fly Masks

    Sometimes a fly sheet just isn’t enough. Schneiders offers fly masks and veils to protect your horse against insects and UV Rays to complete your fly prevention method. Some models even come with a fly mask with no ears or an extended nose fly mask. Learn Everything You Need to Know About Fly Masks.

    Fly Boots

    Fly Boots

    Fly boots protect your horse's legs against mosquitos, flies, and even the tiniest bugs, like gnats. Eliminate stomping and allow your horse to be comfortable with fly boots available in various materials. Learn Everything You Need to Know About Fly Boots.

    Fly Sprays

    Fly Sprays and Curtains

    From basic horse fly spray and repellents to ointments and traps, we have a way to stop pests. We carry repellents from top brands that are trusted by horse owners everywhere, as well as curtains for your aisles, stall doors, and more.

     Box Fan Holders

    Stall Fan Holders

    Easily mount a fan in the stable with a stall fan holder from Schneiders. These fan holders easily hang on the wall or ceiling, keeping your horse cool and maximizing airflow to stave off bugs and control moisture.

    Fly Sheet FAQs

    How hot is too hot for a fly sheet?

    When deciding whether it is too hot for a fly sheet, first determine the amount of shade your horse has access to. Access is key. Although most turnout buddies are harmonious, if there are issues in the herd and there is only one small bit of shade, lack of access can become a problem. Shade trees not only provide excellent shade but also allow airflow in all directions. Turning out a horse dressed in a fly sheet in hot weather should not be a problem if that horse has access to shade trees. It is always advisable to check on your horses frequently in extremely hot weather or a high heat index, whether they’re wearing a fly sheet or not.

    If your turnout does not have adequate shade trees, you may have a run-in shed, which can provide shade if they’re deep enough. But without sufficient airflow, a run-in shed can become very stuffy. In addition, if the shed is not dry and clean, it may also become very buggy. If you have only a run-in shed for shade, be sure it provides enough airflow and is not a bug trap. Even if your horse is wearing a breathable fly sheet, there might not be enough airflow with this type of shade to keep them as comfortable as possible. In addition, a confined space full of bugs will be a challenge for any fly sheet to meet completely. Check on your horse often during hot weather / high heat index days to be sure your horse is comfortable.

    In hotter climates, it is common to see structures made for shade. These typically consist of tilted roofs on poles with open sides, allowing the maximum amount of shade and airflow. Typically, a horse wearing a breathable mesh fly sheet is very comfortable under this type of shade structure. As always, during hot weather / high heat index days, it is advisable to check on your horse’s comfort level, whether they’re wearing a fly sheet or not.

    At what temperature should I put a fly sheet on my horse?

    Assessing what temperature is right for your horse to wear a fly sheet depends on the amount of shade available, your horse’s breed and color, and the humidity level. Many horse owners are comfortable putting a fly sheet on their horse at anything under a 90-degree heat index. If the horse can access a cool environment, such as fans, they can sometimes wear a fly sheet above those temperatures. It’s crucial to monitor your horse’s body, making sure they’re not overheating or sweating.

    What is the coolest fly sheet for horses?

    The coolest fly sheets for horses in the summer are those made with a larger mesh fabric specifically designed for breathability. A great choice would be a fly sheet made with Ripstop Nylon Mesh, as they are lightweight and feature a looser weave that allows for better airflow.

    Can you leave fly sheets on in the rain?

    You can leave a fly sheet on your horse in the rain, but it’s important to realize that fly sheets are not waterproof. The breathable mesh fly sheets allow for rain to pass through the sheet. If your horse is out in the rain or a passing shower, the horse sheet will become wet while continuing to keep biting insects at bay.

    Do fly sheets protect from mosquitos?

    Yes, some fly sheets protect your horse from mosquitos. Many fly sheets on the market come in various materials, and a mosquito mesh fly sheet is the perfect solution to protecting your horse from mosquitos. When you’re browsing fly sheets that protect a horse from the smallest of insects, look closely at the type of mesh material the fly sheet is made from.

    Do fly sheets rub the mane?

    A properly fitting fly sheet should not rub your horse’s mane. Pay close attention when you’re shopping to find the correct fit for the withers of your horse. This is one of the points of contact from which the sheet falls and can influence how the sheet hangs and fits on the shoulders and point of the hip.

    Learn more about our fly sheet warranties.