Arming your horse with one of the best fly rugs is a great first step to protecting him against irritating flies and insect bites during the summer months. Combine it with the best fly mask, fly spray or fly gel and you will provide the ultimate protection. If you’re worried about your horse getting caught in summer showers, you could always consider the best waterproof fly rugs, too.
When choosing the best fly rug for your horse, in many ways you should be looking for similar qualities of any good lightweight turnout rug – including a good fit, quality material and secure fastenings. The more of your horse’s body that is covered by the rug, the more protection he will have, but to avoid overheating the fabric should be very lightweight, breathable and have some reflective and/or cooling properties. Other useful features include detachable leg straps, large tail flaps and anti-rub linings or seamless necks. You’ll notice that the fastenings under the belly of a fly rug are less likely to be designed to cross – like a traditional turnout rug – as passing straight across provides a greater coverage and protection.
Here are some of the best fly rugs on the market right now…
Bucas Buzz-Off X fly rug
Colours: | Sizes: 5–7ft | RRP: £105
The Buzz-Off X fly rug is made from a lightweight mesh fabric that helps block out flies and protect against sun bleaching. The extra-deep sides helps to keep flies away as well as circulate air around your horse’s legs. The rug wraps around the belly, offering extra protection, and is secured with three surcingles.
View at bucas.com
DefenceX System Guardian fly rug
Colours: White | Sizes: 4ft6in – 7ft3in | UV protection: Yes | RRP: £64.99
Described as offering full protection from biting insects, thus rug is made of a silver polyester close-weave mesh that reflects the UV rays, helping to prevent sunburn and bleaching. The neck fits over the ears to prevent it from slipping down and comes complete with a fly mask to protect the face, eyes and ears. The rug has fully adjustable and elasticated touch tape neck fastenings, plus a protective belly flap with adjustable elasticated straps.
Derby House Elite Fly Stopper rug
Colours: Silver/purple | Sizes: 5–7ft | RRP: From £49.99
Made from 300D inter-locking polyester mesh, this rug is lightweight yet durable and has a full seamless neck to prevent any rubbing. It has a nylon-lined crest, shoulders and tail flap, large belly flap with touch-tape fastenings and elasticated leg straps. The rug also has extra material at front and rear of belly flap that allows the rug to stretch with your horse.
View at derbyhousestore.com
Equilibrium Field Relief fly rug
Colours: Yellow | Sizes: 5ft6in – 7ft | UV protection: 80%+ | RRP: £95
The yellow colouring of this rug has been chosen to repel flies. It offers full coverage with stretch hood over the ears and has an anti-rub lining on the neck, withers and chest. The rug also features adjustable neck straps, buckle fastenings at the chest and elasticated belly straps, plus a long tail flap with plastic-covered fillet string for easy cleaning.
Eskadron Pro Cover Dura fly sheet
Colours: Anthracite, black or navy | Sizes: 5ft 9in – 7ft | RRP: £69.95
This smart and durable fly rug is made from a thick polyester mesh with a skin-friendly cotton waffle back section. It’s highly breathable and wicking, and is generously cut with deep sides. The rug also has rotational hook closures, detachable cross surcingles and a tail flap.
Fouganza fly sheet
Colours: Beige | Sizes: 115–155cm | RRP: £39.99
This airy mesh rug has three chest straps as well as three or four neck fastenings, depending on the size of the rug. It features belly and tail flaps in addition to a long neck cover for maximum coverage.
View at decathlon.co.uk
Horseware Rambo Hoody
Colours: Grey/beige, baby blue or navy | Sizes: 2ft9in – 7ft6in | UV protection: 90% | RRP: From £99.95
This rug is described as a full-body barrier to summer skin irritations. It’s made from a durable close woven 1000D polyester and offers full body coverage from ears to tail. It also features an integrated neck cover to, V-front closure, Surefit neck design, extended belly protection and large tail flap. The silky shoulder and mane lining prevents rubbing, and a compatible waterproof lining can be purchased separately. There are a very wide range of sizes, and some sizes include a fly mask.
Mackey Equisential fly rug
Colours: Silver/navy | Sizes: 5–7ft | RRP: £65.95
This rug is designed with a double-buckled chest, generous shoulder gussets, detachable leg straps and double cross surcingles. It also has a large tail flap and a generous removable neck.
View at theequinewarehouse.ie
Ponyo Horsewear fly rug
Colours: Ocean pals, happy pineapple, pastel paradise or dinky dinos | Sizes: 3ft – 7ft3in | RRP: From £49
Available in a range of fun patterns, this fly rug has a generous neck with fly mask attachment loop. It has a silky lining at the chest and neck to reduce rubbing and the mesh offers UV protection. It features a Velcro closure and double D-ring chest fastening, as well as stretchy, detachable leg straps and highly adjustable surcingles to accommodate all shapes and sizes.
QHP fly sheet with neck and hood
Colours: Blossom, zigzag, grey, blue or zebra | Sizes: 3ft – 7ft5in | RRP: From £49.99
Available in a really wide range of sizes, this fly sheet comes with a mask and features buckled chest closures, a belly flap with Velcro and three surcingles, elastic leg straps and a tail flap. It has a long, removable neck with Velcro closures and attachments.
View at qhp.nl
Rhinegold Sahara full-neck fly rug
Colours: Star print, white or zebra | Sizes: 4ft6in – 7ft3in | UV protection: Yes | RRP: From £42.95
This soft mesh rug has a satin-lined chest and topline in addition to belly coverage with three adjustable surcingles. The side skirts allow for complete freedom of movement, and the front skirt and shoulder pleats have an elasticated binding and inserts for additional give. The neck has a stretch waterproof material at the wither to allow comfortable movement with no bulky seam, and the tail flap is a large umbrella style for extra coverage.
View at rhinegoldequestrian.co.uk
Ruggles UV combo fly rug
Colours: Grey | Sizes: 2ft9in – 7ft6in | UV protection: Yes | RRP: From £55
Made from a tough, 1000D polyester fabric, this rug is cool and comfortable. It has a silky mane and shoulder liner to prevent rubbing, and with a fully integrated neck cover, belly wrap and large tail flap, this rug offers head-to tail-protection from biting insects. It features detachable webbing leg straps and is fastened at the chest with an adjustable clip closure. The ear holes are also fleece lined for added comfort.
View at ruggles-horse-rugs.co.uk
Shires Tempest Original Zeb-Tek fly combo
Colours: Zebra | Sizes: 4ft – 7ft3in | UV protection: 80% | RRP: £49.99
This breathable, lightweight and airy rug deters biting insects from landing. It is inspired by scientific research that shows the stripes effectively prevent flies from landing. The rug features blanket set chest fastenings, cross surcingles and an adjustable fillet strap.
Snuggy Hoods Bug Body fly rug
Colours: Beige, haint blue or brown | Sizes: 4ft6in – 7ft | RRP: £144
This rug offers poll-to-tail coverage, which is ideal if you’d prefer not to cover your horse’s face. It is made of a lightweight, breathable and water-repellent fabric that prevents bleaching as well as offering protection from midges and other insects. It comes in two pieces for easy fitting and has a belly band and tail wrap.
WeatherBeeta Sweet Itch Shield Combo Neck
Colours: White/blue | Sizes: 4ft – 7ft3in | UV protection: 90%+ | RRP: £69.99
This rug offers head-to-tail protection for sensitive horses, protecting against UV rays, sun bleaching, parasites and insects. It’s made from a strong and highly breathable 600D ripstop outer, with lined shoulders, an elasticated and adjustable belly wrap and full wrap tail flap. It also has a hood with elastic insert around the ears to ensure the neck stays in place, and wither relief that reduces rubbing.
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Check out this selection of waterproof fly rugs – ideal for changeable summer weather
Here's a selection of 21 sprays that you can use to deter flies from landing on your horse and his
If your horse isn't a fan of fly sprays or you're looking for a more concentrated application, check out these
Do zebra fly rugs work?
Over the last 10 years there has been a bit of research into this question. The findings suggest that the stripes confuse the flies, which prevents them from landing. Recently rug companies have been researching the effect of other colour combinations, too.
Can I leave a fly rug on overnight?
Providing your horse’s fly rug is well fitting, leaving it on overnight shouldn’t be a problem.
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