As you find that pesky insects are coming back out, you’ll realize that it’s time to offer your horse a different layer of protection. Black flies, horse flies, deer flies, mosquitoes, and gnats are attracted to the fluids and warmth naturally produced by your horse. As a result, they often torment horses out in the pasture, leading many owners and riders with the decision to purchase various forms of fly gear. While fly masks and fly sheets are commonly used to protect a horse’s face and body, fly boots also provide protection with loads of additional benefits. Read on to learn about all the features and benefits of fly boots, so you can determine how they may help your horse this season.

Fly Boots

What are Horse Fly Boots?

Fly boots for horses are lightweight, mesh boots that protect your horse’s legs from biting insects, such as flies, mosquitoes, and gnats. This layer of protection also shields your horse’s legs from harmful UV rays and blocks out burrs, dirt, or other hazards that may irritate their skin. Applying enough insect repellent on your horse’s legs can be difficult, so fly boots are a more convenient option in providing a physical barrier that keeps flies out. Horses typically wear fly boots on all four legs during turnout during the summer months, when bugs are out the most. Some horses wear fly boots year-round if they have an injury or skin condition that needs to be protected.

Features of Good Fly Boots

  1. Secure fit- fly boots should fit snugly to your horse’s legs, so they do not easily rub or slide off, but should not be too tight.

  2. Full coverage- fly boots vary in coverage from going slightly over the knee to falling under your horse’s knees or hock joints, with the bottom stopping about 1-.5 inches to the ground.

  3. Breathable- every set of fly boots should grant plenty of airflow so your horse does not overheat in the harsh sun.

  4. Durable- since most horses are turned out wearing fly boots, find a set that will withstand your horse’s play routine, including if they enjoy rolling in the dirt or itching their legs.

  5. Easy to clean- you will be much more motivated to wash your horse’s fly boots if you can easily throw them in cold water with equine-safe detergent.

  6. Comfortable- horses are likely to scratch and rip off their fly boots if they feel that the material is too tight, itchy, or impedes their movement.

Overall, a good set of fly boots should offer coverage, a secure and comfortable fit, and hold up to daily turnout.

Fly Boots

Benefits of Using Fly Boots

There are many advantages to outfitting your horse in fly boots. They not only protect your horse from irritating bugs, but they also shield your horse from the sun, prevent the loss of shoes, reduce daily stress, and keep their legs clean.

Protection from flies and other insects

Since fly boots are generally designed with a breathable mesh material, they keep flies and other pesky insects from biting your horse’s legs, decreasing the risk of skin irritation and the spread of disease. Also, this can help keep your horse from stomping to get flies off their legs, which we will talk about later.

Protection from harmful UV rays

Just like us, horses need protection from the sun to prevent cancer and skin damage. Unfortunately, it is not as easy for them to cover up. With the use of fly boots, though, our horse’s legs are blocked from the sun’s damaging rays while they are turned out for the day. If your horse has pink skin, they are more susceptible to painful sunburns, so they will not want to leave the barn without a protective set of fly boots.

Reduced stomping that causes leg stress and lost shoes

Without flies constantly landing on your horse’s legs, your horse is less prone to stomping into the ground. Consequently, your horse will experience less stress on their legs, less hoof chipping, and fewer lost shoes that would lead to potential injuries.

Reduced stress levels for horses

Biting insects can easily bother your horse, adding pain and stress to their daily life. If you send them out to the pasture in fly boots, your horse is less likely to feel tormented by flies and other pests.

Keeping legs clean before shows

If you have a show coming up, fly boots can be worn to keep your horse’s legs clean since other forms of leg protection may not be safe for turnout or be too hot and cause sweating.

Choosing the Right Fly Boots for Your Horse

When looking for fly boots, consider your horse’s individual needs and preferences. Depending on your climate, certain materials are better suited for your horse’s needs, but you always want to ensure that they are comfortable and provide the protection your horses need.