There are many ways to try to protect your horse against irritating flies and biting insects during the summer months – some owners like to make their own fly spray for example, while others report success with fly traps of various types – but to take the hassle out of finding the best fly rugs for your horse, we’ve been putting some of the most popular fly rugs to the test.
When looking for a fly rug, it’s important to remember that they should have all the qualities of any good turn-out rug including secure fastenings and a good fit for your horse’s shape. The more of the horse’s body that is covered by the rug, the more protection he will have, but this may mean your horse will get warm on hot days. To avoid your horse from overheating, fabric should be very lightweight, light in colour and have some reflective and/or cooling properties. Other useful features to check include breathability, UV protection and the option to be used with or without a neck for added flexibility.
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Horse & Hound has been working with a number of professional riders, trainers and yards to put a range of products to the test in a busy yard environment. And here are the results…
Meet the product tester
The winter riding gloves in this group test were trialled by Rob Waine. Rob is a professional dressage rider and trainer based at Hammer & Harp Farm in Beaconsfield. From here he runs a successful livery and training yard for 17 horses. He has won three regional titles and a national title, as well as having been placed at the Winter Championships and represented Great Britain at Small Tour level at the Deauville CDI***.
Horse & Hound’s pick of the best fly rugs for horses 2018
* BEST IN TEST *
“This rug, although expensive, was brilliant – it was very effective against the flies. It was very breathable and cool, but also hard-wearing and tough. I liked how much coverage it gave the horse without being restrictive. If you have money to spend, this rug is definitely money well spent.”
* BEST VALUE *
“This rug fitted really well and did a good job against the flies. There were no pressure points and it stood up well against rubbing. I didn’t use the optional headcollar fitting. It washed well at 30 degrees and is very good value.”
“I liked how dry this rug kept my horses during a shower and how breathable and cool it was. It fitted really well giving great all-round protection from the flies. It has proven to be very hard wearing with tough fastenings and fillet strap.”
“On the whole this rug performed well, as it kept the flies way, was hard-wearing and washed well. It was easy and quick to take on and off, had a nice broad chest and I was particularly impressed how it didn’t rub the mane. Having said this, it was quite warm and was not very breathable in hot weather.”
“This rug proved breathable, lightweight, fitted well, kept the flies off and went through the wash well. This rug has a fastening for the headcollar, which I am not a fan of and didn’t use, but despite this the neck didn’t slip down, which is good.”
“I found this rug came up rather narrow in-front and the 6’9 size I tried was a bit tight on my horse that normally wears a 6’6 rug. I found the belly straps were tight, not very adjustable and the wither got a bit squashed, although the rug didn’t rub and the horse didn’t appear to be uncomfortable wearing it. This rug was effective against the flies and gave the horse good all-round protection.”
“This rug was tested on a horse that has a history of ripping rugs and it really stood up to his rubbing very well. It was good against the flies, but the horse did get quite hot and sweaty in it. The design fits very broad shouldered horses well.”
“This rug offers very good protection against the flies, giving a very good body coverage while providing freedom to move. It fitted well. Having said this, it wasn’t breathable and the horse wearing it got hot even on cooler summer days, plus it did prove very complicated to put on and take off.”
Horseandhound.co.uk is the home of expert buyers guides covering all things equestrian, from clippers to rugs, riding boots to safety hats. Whatever you’re looking for, we can help you to chose the products that really suit your needs.
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