My three horses are out 24/7 with lots of shelter, trees and a stream. There are flies but usually a fly mask is sufficient for them. No one runs because they are being chased by flies. 2 of the horses are ridden. who uses a fly sheet in the summer? I would like to avoid the mud and scrapes that comes with no sheets in the warmer months. What flysheet is actually water/rain resistant so I am not dealing with a wet horse if I want to ride on a rainy day? There are days I have a few hours to catch and ride 2 horses. If it is wet out taking time to dry the horses is not an option. I tried a water resistant fly sheet a few years ago but found my horse still was sweating underneath it if the temps were above 80. Also need to know about durability. Any suggestions?
I have a very good Bucas fly sheet with neck and belly flap. But I only use it to go camping in areas that have a whole other ecosystem of mosquitoes and giant biting flies that we don’t get in our suburban stable far away from any cows. It is mesh, but must still add a bit of heat. I don’t know how clean it would keep a horse. It isn’t waterproof and I don’t know how you could have cool + waterproof in one package. It has worked for flies in my situation.
I use fly sheets, boots, and masks in different combinations. (I also use fly predators and fly spray FWIW.)
I live in Missouri where there are a bunch of different types of flies, and gnats, mosquitos, and ticks. It’s honestly kind of miserable.
I agree that once you’re looking at temps above 80 they’re going to be sweating in a sheet, but I find they sweat without a sheet at those temps too. But I still try to avoid it. I keep them in the dry lot during the day once it’s hitting high 80s and up. They spend most of the day in front of the fan in the run-in. They wear fly masks and boots during the day. Then at night I switch out the boots for sheets and right before dark I pull off the masks. They spend the evenings and all night in the pasture grazing.
I’m not sure how a fly sheet could be waterproof since they have holes in them. They are great for mud and minor injuries though. And those giant horse flies.
I have tried to use fly sheets many times and want to love them, but in the end, they end up making my horses too hot. I have so many different styles just sitting around collecting dust.
Fly mask, boots, and fans in the shelter work better for my herd.
I have always found that if you put a fly mask on and get a good spray ( that actually works) and use it my horses can be fairly comfortable outside during the peak fly season. If the flies get too pesky they will go in but not very often.
Same. Mine are also out 24/7 and I just have not found a sheet that is comfortable enough for my horses to wear 24/7. If it is sunny and over 75 they’re miserable in fly sheets. So much money wasted trying different styles, too!
I find what really bothers the herd is the flies that bite their ears and feet. I’ve had good luck with Cashel fly masks and fly boots.
OP – There is no such thing as a waterproof flysheet. You get one or the other.
None that are breathable and cool enough for a humid hot day
I’m not opposed to taking up a wet horse. They’re going to sweat under the saddle pad anyway, and having the wet to start the ride can prolong the time it takes until they’re hot and uncomfortable
I use fly sheets and the ones that are comfortable for the hot weather are no where near water proof.
Just ride with them wet. I towel dry the saddle area to make sure not soaking and go.
On really hot days when the horses are sweating before I even groom, I’ll hose, scrape, and tack up in front of a fan. And if a horse is really muddy and it’s warm enough, I’ll hose off all the mud and tack up instead of trying to clean off lots of mud.
Same. It’s not going to harm them at all. Heck, on the really humid mornings I’ll tack up, then sponge the front and back with Vetrolin water so we can start off on a cooler foot
Ha! I have a grey nearly white horse. On hot humid days when he is especially GROSS from rolling or manure I just hose off and scrape rather than try and groom away (smear around really) the horror lol. Then I saddle and ride.
I use fly sheets in the spring (right now) because in my area the flies are the worst in the springtime. By mid June, it’s dry enough that most of the larvae die before they mature. By mid July, we don’t even need fly masks anymore.
But I don’t use them if it’s above 85 degrees or if it’s pouring down rain that day.
As for mud, just spray your horse off before you ride. A usually give my horses a soap bath first and then after the ride just do a quick spray down.
The combo rain sheet/fly sheet options will by definition be much warmer and not really appropriate for general fly sheet use. Fly sheets need to breath really well to be tolerable in the summer. Most of ours seem to appreciate them when the bugs are bad out. If it’s so hot that we’re cutting turnout short or only turning out early/late, we don’t put the fly sheets on. When it’s 95 and humid, even the coolest fly sheet is just awful.
Thanks everyone. You confirmed my suspicions NO matter what the advertisement says there is no such thing as a water proof or resistant fly sheet, they all get hot in them if the temps are above 80. So I will stick with my usual fly masks and let my horses take their dust baths.
So in California (depending on where) summers tend to be very hot and dry and fly sheets can be useful during the day for the UV protection (although honestly inside with fans is my preference).
If you’re in a humid climate (I’ve worked in western NY and Florida) it’s a whole different ball game.
I like the suggestion of vetrolin (I assume diluted as a body brace?) To cool off the chest muscles if the horse is already sweaty before a ride.
It’s a double edged sword for me.
Miserable fighting the flies sans sheet or
Sweaty but not fighting the flies.
For my two I typically go with the fly sheet. They get 2x as sweaty fending off the fies than they do with the heat added from the sheet.
Anything over 80ish degrees though, the sheets come off. That’s just too much for either of them.
I’ve used the Rambo Summer Series fly sheet that has a soft shell top. It is. It very water resistant. Will keep the horse dry to an extent but then the sheet itself takes a while to dry out. It is really made for cooler temps where it’s not quite cold enough for a full rain sheet but keeping a bit of a shower off them would be more comfortable for them. So, it is not made for hot weather, and outside of the desert where I’ve used it, I’m not sure it would be that great as an in between season thing. But it’s a well made product and I’d recommend for the mostly dry but occasional showers cooler climate.
I was grooming for my trainer at one point and brought in a horse to tack up that was coated in mud, most of it still too wet to curry off. I hosed him off, tacked and handed him to the trainer and said you are getting a wet horse because you had 2 choices today: wet horse or wet and muddy horse.
I wonder if they mean because it’s thin and mesh it doesn’t hold water, or it evaporates quickly?
Two of my guys get fly sheets, though they’re not really the run around types. Both will stomp their shoes off and one gets itchy scabby welts. My mare will not leave her run in if the bugs are too bad and makes a gross mess in there AND she refuses to wear a fly mask, so fly sheet with the neck cover and boots is the way to go. It’s so funny-- not an inch of hair to be seen.
I use the official measure of a few “glugs” of Vetrolin in a 5 gallon bucket of water.
i only use a fly sheet for the horse that has allergies to flies and gets miserable sweet itch as a result. i’ve given up on them for the others because of the heat and shoulder rubs. they seem to be equally comfortable outside without them (except the one who is allergic to flies).
mine go out at night in general when there is shade available. i don’t have a lot of trees or any standing water for whatever that matters