Fly Sheets 101

Simple steps to get the best fly sheet for your horse!

Why use a fly sheet?

With any fly sheet, you’ll have some level of insect protection. But not all sheets cover a large range of insects.
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 both unsightly but can also cause damage to their coat that is difficult to reverse.
In hotter climates fly sheets can be difficult to use. Fly sheets that are too heavy can cause overheating and excessive sweating. While these don’t seem serious they can lead to dehydration.
We all know horses that are so rough enough in 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.

How to Measure a Horse for a Blanket

What size blanket does your horse need?

The most accurate and easiest way to determine your horse’s blanket size is to measure along the side of their body, from chest to tail. First, stand the horse square 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. Look on the size chart for any Schneiders blanket for this number of inches to order your horse’s perfect size.

Types of Fabrics

Fly Sheet Fit Guide

The Extra Coverage fly sheets are designed for ultimate coverage. These fit straight from the withers down the back with no seam in the Euro version, but are also available in VTEK® and V-Free® styles. The high and full attached neck designs offer more protection against insects and the sun. The full attached neck varieties come up to behind the ears. The Euro fit is straight from the withers to back providing a comfortable fit for average conformations. While our new specialty fit Extra Coverage Fly Sheets are meant for high and low withered horses.
The VTEK® Wither Relief style fly sheetss are an excellent choice for Thoroughbreds, Warmbloods, and Appendix type horses. With a similar neck opening to the our Euro Fit fly Sheets, the VTEK® also has a raised, shaped, pressure-free wither area, with the additional benefit of the Adjusta-Fit® hook and loop closure to adjust the neck and shoulder area for your horse’s specific build. This style fly sheet is great for horses with a more prominent wither, to eliminate pressure points or rubbing.
The Fitted V-Free® is great for Quarter Horses, Stock Horse breeds, and Arabians. With a large neck opening and a sloped neck line, these fly sheets cover the shoulders and withers up to the start of the mane while leaving the mane uncovered. A raised, shaped, pressure-free wither design offers a comfortable fit.
The Cutback style is designed for Friesians, Saddlebreds, Tennessee Walkers, and some Arabians. Offering a large neck opening and sloped neck line, the cutback area along the withers gives horses with a more upright head carriage, the freedom they need in the wither area to prevent pressure points, sore spots, or rubbing the delicate hair in that area.
Our Euro fly sheets have a shaped collar for a snugger fit around the neck. This shaped design comes up 4-6 inches onto the mane, with a smaller neck opening, fully covering the shoulders and withers. The Euro fly sheets also have no back seam. The fly sheet fit is straight from the withers to back providing a comfortable fit for average conformations.

Description of Fly Sheet Features

Parts of a Horse Fly Sheet

  1. Neck Cover: Add extra protection from insects and the sun with a detachable 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 have two simple buckles or 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: Allow for greater freedom of movement for the shoulder to prevent 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 or 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.

Definitions of all the different parts of a standard fly sheet

How to safely put on and take off a fly sheet?

How to put a fly sheet on your horse!

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.

Closed Front vs Open Front Fly Sheets

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.

Bellyband vs Surcingles Fly Sheets

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.

Proper use of elastic leg straps on horse blankets

Most fly sheeyss 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 Protection