Our Dream Fly Sheet: Why & How We Made It

A dark brown horse is running in a grassy field. The horse is wearing a brown leather halter and a white fly sheet with black front and belly buckles.

When beaming hot sun and insects team up, time outside can become uncomfortable for horses. Flies buzz at them almost nonstop, and ultraviolet rays burn skin and bleach hair. That’s why our product developers, also horse owners, got together to create a fly sheet ensemble of their horses’ dreams. The result? Our new, multitasking Dover Saddlery® Fly Combo Sheet complete with removable neck cover and matching fly mask! And it’s arrived just in time for fly season!

A brown horse is standing in a grassy field wearing a white fly sheet, neck cover and fly mask with black trim and black buckles.

With this lightweight and breathable mesh sheet, two-tier construction protects against both insects landing on your horse and ultraviolet rays. A top mesh panel has an ultraviolet fabric treatment to block UV rays. The silver color also helps deflect the sun to keep your horse cooler. The bottom mesh portion, including the belly band, is treated with 12% permethrin to repel insects before they can even think about landing on your horse.

A dark brown horse is wearing a white fly mask with black trim. The fly mask covers the horses ears and nose.

For versatile coverage, the UV-blocking neck cover is easily removed on milder days. Similarly, the UV-blocking fly mask can be used alone or attached to the neck cover for complete protection all day.

We added deep shoulder gussets to ensure a horse’s natural abilities to move. We lined key areas with smooth fabric to protect hair and padded the withers with fleece. We extended the tail flap to help protect tail hair from sun damage and create a deep barrier to keep flies out.

Our horses are currently enjoying the benefits of our dream Fly Combo Sheet—and we expect yours will, too!

Shop the Dover Saddlery® Fly Combo Sheet here.

Is your horse already sporting our latest design? Share your photos with us on Instagram and Facebook by tagging @doversaddlery!

Fly Boots & Wraps: An Easy Solution to Multiple Problems

The belly and four legs of a white horse is shown standing in a grassy field. The horse is wearing a white mesh fly sheet with green trim and buckles across the belly, and grey mesh wraps with four dark green Velcro straps on each wrap to secure them to each of the four legs.

Most of us—and our horses—have flies on our minds as the month of May arrives. For some horses and riders in warm areas, flies have never stopped being a nuisance all winter. For those of us in colder climates, flies will soon be buzzing alongside horses in turnout, under saddle, in the stable, or wherever we go.

Stable flies bite, inflicting a stabbing pinprick of pain followed by intense itching. House flies flit from one spot to another, spreading germs, causing irritation, and creating distraction. While we are annoyed by these pests, horses can become incredibly distressed and anxious as flies land on their legs.

Horses will stomp repeatedly to try to shake flies free of their legs, and extremely sensitive-skinned horses may begin to pace or run as their distress increases. As a result of these evasive actions, a horse can experience:

  • Loose or lost shoes. (Repeated stomping or pacing may cause horseshoes to loosen or worse, a horse may accidentally rip off a shoe and damage a hoof.)
  • Wear and tear on leg joints. (Repeated stomping adds impact stress to the joints of a horse’s legs.)
  • Self-inflicted injuries to the lower legs. (While stomping or pacing, a horse’s own hoof or shoes can accidentally cut or bruise another leg.)
Two horse legs are shown standing on grass. There are grey mesh wraps with blue velcro fastened around the legs.

A set of fly boots, also called fly wraps, will help your horse avoid this distress. Fly boots create a breathable barrier around the lower legs right down to the coronary bands of the hooves. Made of durable mesh-like materials, many styles of fly boots have soft fleece trim or bindings that keep dirt as well as insects out. Contouring adds comfort, and features such as stays or elastic inserts help keep them in place. Hook-and-loop fasteners make these boots easy to put on and adjust, yet keep them secure during wearing. For fun, many fly wraps come in colors to match fly sheets and fly mask collections.

Browse our selection of fly boots and fly wraps here.

Does your horse have favorite fly gear? Share your photos with us on Instagram and Facebook by tagging @doversaddlery!

Should My Horse Wear a Fly Mask?

Why should you use a fly mask on your horse? Keep reading to find out!

The Fly Mask: A Must for Every Horse
It’s May and we’re embracing spring! Being outside and around the barn in this wonderful season brings a sense of joy. We look forward to long summer days riding, showing, grooming and just being with our horses. But… flies and other biting insects are enjoying the warm weather too, and they are as annoying as ever.

No matter which types of flies you’re dealing with—face flies, stable flies, horse flies, deer flies, black flies, even mosquitoes—your horse will appreciate help keeping them away from their face. A fly mask is an essential piece of equipment that not only repels insects, but helps protect against disease, provides protection to the eyes against harmful ultraviolet rays, protects sensitive skin and ultimately helps alleviate related anxiety and discomfort.

  • Disease Prevention: Flies and insects bite! Bites pose a problem as they can transmit disease, cause itching and create open wounds that can get infected. Flies love any moisture-rich areas on a horses’ body, especially the delicate face. Eye excretions, small wounds, scratches and cuts on faces are prime attractants for flies and infections.
  • UV Protection/Cooling Technology: Horses are sensitive to bright light, just like humans. Horses with light colored faces and pink skin are especially susceptible to sunburns. Choosing a fly mask with UV protection will alleviate harsh light, block some of the damaging UV rays and provide shade for sensitive eyes. Some masks have nose pieces that extend for extra protection, and some have new cooling technologies for those long hot days.
  • Sensitive Skin: The skin around the face is some of the most sensitive skin on your horse. Some horses have very sensitive skin or skin that is susceptible to hives or other allergic reactions. A fly mask can help prevent these issues before they become a problem.
  • Anxiety: We’ve all experienced anxiety as we enjoy a picnic only to then be chased by a deer fly or a buzzing bee. We run and swat and generally try to get away. Our horses do that too, with constant head shaking and pacing, so we must help them out. The ongoing anxiety of having flies around the eye area makes horses jittery, uncomfortable and unable to enjoy turnout or focus during training sessions. Flies that are constantly obstructing vision increase stress levels and keep your horse in a constant state of distress.

Mask Styles

  • Without Ears: If introducing a fly mask to your horse for the first time, an earless mask may be the design to try. It will offer protection to the eyes and skin around the eyes and let your horse learn to appreciate that coverage. Fly Mask Without Ears
    • With Ears: If your horse doesn’t mind having their ears covered, a mask with ear covers is the best bet for full protection. Just make sure the fit is not restrictive on the ears so they can rotate freely. Fly Mask With Ears
    • Masks for Riding: Some masks are designed to be worn over a bridle to provide coverage while riding. Typically made of extra-fine, lightweight mesh, this type of mask is a great solution for reducing or eliminating head tossing. Fly bonnets, fly veils, fly hoods and ear bonnets, a single design with many names, are a close-fitting alternative to a full fly mask for riding. These fit under a bridle to provide coverage for your horse’s ears during work without covering the horse’s eyes.

Fly Mask for Riding

  • Masks with Fringe: Fringe on a fly mask is not just for show; fringe simply shoos away flies just like a horse’s tail will. Fly Mask With Fringe

When to Use a Mask
While ideal for turnout, a standard mask will limit your horse’s vision and depth perception slightly and should not be used for riding. The mask should be taken off a few times every day so you can check for dirt and debris and make sure there are no chafed areas or eye problems. Do not leave masks on at night unless recommended by a veterinarian.

Fitting a Mask
A fly mask must not be too tight or too loose. Your horse should be able to blink without hitting any area of the mask. Look through the mask as your horse moves around and make sure eyelashes are not touching. Your horse should also be able to move their ears freely, and they should not be rubbing on the mask.

Mask Maintenance
Cleanliness of your horse’s mask is essential. Using a mask to keep disease away will not help if the mask is dirty. A dirty mask will increase the likelihood of an infection from mud, dust, or sweat embedded into the fleece lining or mesh. A good rule of thumb is to keep two masks on hand, so you have one while the other is being washed and dried.

To browse our entire collection of fly protection, click here.

Does your horse have a favorite fly mask? Share your photos with us on Instagram and Facebook by tagging @doversaddlery!