During the summer months flies are a real source of annoyance for horses and protection of some sort is a must to prevent bites from flies and insects which can be extremely distressing for the horse.
The most common products are chemical such as fly sprays, lotions and creams containing repellents which help deter the flies. Next there are fly masks and fringes etc. Full face masks are great for not only preventing the flies from landing on the face and eyes but also prevent dirt and dust from entering the eyes and possibly causing irritation and infection. Various fringes are available with tassles that hang in front of the eyes and over the face and prevent the flies landing. Some fringes attach to a headcollar or bridle which is ideal while out riding and many nowadays are made so as to fit the horse without the need for a headcollar making them more e suitable for turnout and stable use.
There are an array of supplements available for those that prefer not to use chemical products. garlic is a well know additive that many use due to its fly repelling properties among the many
other benefits it has.
Fly rugs are traditionally a lightweight rug mad from a mesh material which allows the horse to keep cool on hot days but prevents the flies from biting and annoying the horse. Some come with a neck cover and under belly flap so along with a fly mask you can just about cover most of the horses body and face. Many rugs are now made with a showerproof upper and mesh lower which allows you to leave on during showery weather and saves you rushing in and out whenever the weather turns.
Fly sheets are also useful for pre-show preparation if you are concerned that the sun will fade your horses full sheen show coat.
For the horses who are vulnerable to sweet itch, it could be beneficial to invest in a fly rug which has sweet itch protection. They’re made from a finer mesh and cover the horse from head to tail to prevent any nibbles from midges.