Last Updated on March 5, 2022
Warmer weather brings biting insects out in force, meaning it’s time to research horse fly sheets with a belly band to find one that best suits your horse. Advances in fabric technology have led to numerous fly sheets hitting the market. Today’s options far outstrip fly sheets of the past.
Benefits Of A Horse Fly Sheet
Insects have a negative effect on your horse’s overall well-being. Even the most relaxed, thick-skinned horse can get upset with flies biting them. Fly sheets come in different designs, including those with full neck coverage, extra-small holes, and belly bands.
What Horses Benefit From Wearing A Fly Sheet
Every horse can benefit from wearing a flysheet, but some develop more extreme issues from insect bites. Some horses have particularly sensitive skin that breaks out in hives when bitten. Other horses may not get hives, but still have sensitive skin, and biting insects can drive them nuts.
This can cause horses to run around more than you’d want and even lead to them injuring themselves. Full neck, small holed, and fly sheets with a belly band are necessary for horses that suffer from sweet itch. Unfortunately, these horses get a severe allergic reaction to bites from midges and mosquitoes.
Sweet itch is not curable and extremely uncomfortable for the horse. Using a flysheet is one of the best ways to manage these horses, so they can still enjoy time outside. A horse with a sweet itch should wear a specially designed fly sheet from March to November.
Horses with dark coat colors, especially black, can bleach when out in the sun. In addition to preventing insect bites, a fly sheet will help reduce coat bleaching. The best option for avoiding a bleached coat is to use a full-coverage flysheet.
How To Choose The Right Fly Sheet For Your Horse
Choosing the right fly sheet for your horse is admittedly a frustrating task when you see how much choice is available. However, if you do some thinking in advance about what purpose you want it to achieve, it makes picking one easier.
Ask yourself a few questions before beginning your search. How sensitive is your horse to flies? Do they break out in hives from insect bites? Do you want to prevent coat bleaching?
Does your horse have a sweet itch? Is your horse rough on blankets? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can filter down your options.
How To Fit A Horse Fly Sheet
Fitting a horse fly sheet works the same as finding the right size for a blanket. To do this, use a soft measuring tape and enlist a helper. Put the end of the measuring tape at the center of the horse’s chest and have your assistant hold it there.
Move the tape over the point of the should and around to the side of the horse. Keeping the tape against the side of the horse, measure all the way down to the tail. This number will give you the size.
For example, if you measure 6-feet, 3-inches, this equals 76-inches. In the US most horse blankets are sized in inches, so in this case, you would need a 76-inch blanket or flysheet.
Horse Fly Sheet Fabric Options
Gone are the days of fly sheets coming in only one type of fabric. We will cover a few of these different options here. Fine window mesh is the smallest hole option.
This fabric will keep out gnats and other small insects. For a horse with a sweet itch or one that is particularly sensitive to bug bites, this type of fabric is your best option. Open weave vinyl mesh is the strong material you’ll find for fly sheets.
If you have a horse that is rough on blankets or has pasture mates that like to play, then this is the fabric you want to concentrate on. The soft, flexible, tight weave is probably the most traditional material. This fabric provides good UV protection.
Horse Fly Sheets With Belly Band
Here we will focus on some excellent options of horse fly sheets with a belly band. Belly bands give nearly full coverage of the horse’s underside, an area that can be extra sensitive to bug bites. Here are some of our favorites for you to check out.
HORZE is a reputable equestrian gear brand that makes reasonably priced equipment. The Freja Combo flysheet is lightweight and has some great features, particularly for sensitive horses. This fly sheet is made from poly mesh fabric.
- Full coverage flysheet with a detachable neck.
- Belly band with three surcingles, to ensure it stays put
- Lightweight, soft material
- UV protection
- A long piece of fabric that extends halfway down the tail.
- Good for use in hot weather
- The belly section is large and may not fit narrow-bodied horses well
WeatherBeeta is one of the most recognizable horse blanket brands. It is known for making good quality products, and their Comfitec Essential Mesh II Combo Next Sheet doesn’t disappoint. This horse flysheet with a belly band is made from breathable Softmesh and provides full coverage.
- Large tail flap
- Nylon lined shoulders to prevent rubbing
- Blocks 65% of UV rays
- Attached neck
- Removable web leg straps
- Good breathability
- Only two belly strap surcingles
Horseware is arguably the most famous horse blanket maker in the world. The company has a reputation for innovation and high-quality products. The Horseware Amigo Aussie Barrier Fly Sheet provides the best possible coverage you can get in one piece.
This fly sheet extends up the neck and has ear holes to secure the top over the horse’s head. The durable mesh fabric is water-resistant, helps keep the horse cool, and helps repel dirt. If you have a horse with sweet itch or one that is very sensitive to insect bites, this is an excellent option.
- Ultimate body coverage
- 100% UV coverage
- Extra-large tail flap
- Shoulder, tail, and mane lining to prevent rubbing
- Three belly surcingles
- None that we can find
The Loveson flysheet is a reasonably priced option for those looking for a belly band flysheet. It comes in one piece with a neck cover. This fly sheet has a snug-fitting belly band to prevent insects from getting under it, as well as shoulder gussets to increase freedom of movement.
- Neck cover
- Snug-fitting belly
- Reasonably priced
- Lightweight and breathable mesh
- Should gussets
- UV protection
- Three belly straps
- Horses in very hot climates may get too hot wearing it.
Shires have been making equestrian equipment for the past fifty years. The brand is based in the United Kingdom with its products popular around the world. This particular Shires flysheet is made from extra light fabric, making it suitable for very hot days.
The light fabric allows moisture to quickly escape, helping your horse stay cool. A lining is found in the shoulder area to prevent rubbing. It has a three surcingle belly band and a detachable neck.
- Very light fabric
- Three belly surcingles
- Detachable neck
- Shoulder gussets
- Shoulder lining
- Large tail flap
- Adjustment straps near the withers
- Leg straps
- The extra light fabric could have durability issues
While the TuffRider Comfy Mesh fly doesn’t have a belly band, we thought we’d include it due to its popularity as a budget-friendly option. This is a standard flysheet without neck or belly coverage and is made from a soft polyester mesh.
- Soft fabric
- 50% UV protection
- Comes in pony and horse sizes
- Good durability, despite the low price
- No neck or belly coverage
- No tail flap
While we love all of these horse fly sheets with a belly band, but our clear favorite is the Horseware Amigo Aussie Barrier Fly Sheet 75. Compared to the other products on our list, we believe this fly sheet has the most versatile fabric.
The strong, durable fabric of the Horseware flysheet is bound to hold up to heavy use. It also has small holes to prevent even the smallest insects from biting your horse. We love the full coverage right up to the ears and extra-large tail flap.
The Horseware flysheet will suit a variety of horses, from those who need basic insect protection, to those with the most sensitive skin.
To conclude with an extra tip, why not consider a fly mask to complete your horse’s insect protection. Flies, in particular, can irritate a horse’s eyes and sensitive facial areas. If you’re looking into investing in a fly sheet a mask will provide the final touch.
Fly masks come in partial and full-face coverage. If you have a horse with a pink nose that burns in the sun, a full-face fly mask will help prevent this.
We hope you like our taster of what horse fly sheets with belly band are available. If you have a favorite fly sheet let us know in the comments below.
Can you ride with a fly sheet on?
In general is not recommended to ride a horse with the fly sheet on as it can restrict horse’s movement or get caught in the stirrups and be pulled off by the horse’s hooves. Fly sheets are very important as they protect the horse from the insect bites, but you should respect the manufacturer’s recommendations on it’s use to avoid unnecessary problems.
However, some fly sheets are specifically made to ride in it. One example is the Cashel Quiet Ride Bug Armor Flysheet. It is made from a light-weight, soft mesh designed to shield your horse from flying irritants on the trail or in the practice pen. It is cleverly constructed and adjustable, and it easily connects to the bridle and saddle to provide full coverage without inhibiting the rider or effecting the horse’s natural movements.
Do fly sheets help with horse flies?
Horses have a strong aversion to flies, and will do everything in their power to avoid getting bitten. If your horse is wearing a fly sheet, they will usually not be able to bite your horse. The fly sheet is a barrier between your horse and the flies, so they are not able to land on your horse. This deters flies from landing on your horse, so they are less likely to bite your horse.
Fly sheets can be purchased from most tack stores or online. They are usually made out of durable material such as rip-stop nylon. When purchasing a fly sheet, make sure it is large enough for your horse, and that it will fit on your horse comfortably. Fly sheets come in a variety of sizes, so you will have to measure your horse to see what size will work best for them. If you are using a fly sheet on a daily basis, you should make sure the material is clean and dry.
Can you leave a fly sheet on in the rain?
If the fly sheet is waterproof, there is no reason why not leave it on your horse when raining. It will protect your horse from the rain and will help keep your horse dry. However, not all fly sheets are waterproof or water-resistant. In that case there is no point in leaving it on when it rains as the water will go right through it. As it gets wet it will start to stick to your horse’s body and may make him feel uncomfortable.
Whereas it’s not a big deal if your fly sheet gets wet, it’s important to clean them regularly because they trap lots of dust and lint that can build up on the surface and become a source of irritation and infections.
Do fly sheets make horses hot?
A quality fly sheet shouldn’t make your horse sweat. Fly sheets are normally made of lightweight mesh material that allows air flow and keep a horse cool and comfortable. For a horse with dark colored coat, a fly sheet can actually offer some relief from the hot summer sun as they most often come in light, UV ray reflecting colors.
Michael Dehaan is a passionate horse owner, horse rider, and lover of all things equine. He has been around horses since he was a child, and has grown to become an expert in the field. He has owned and ridden a variety of horses of different breeds, and has trained many to compete in shows and competitions. He is an experienced horseman, having worked with and competed many horses, including his own. He is an active member of the equestrian community, participating in events and teaching riding lessons.