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Horse Fly Sheets

When you're really serious about keeping flies OFF of your horse, fly sheets can protect him with new types of fabric and innovations that improve fit to help sheets stay put. A sheet may not safeguard every square inch of your horse--though some come close--but it can banish insects from large tracts of skin, enabling you to use fly repellent more selectively on what remains exposed.

As awareness of the danger of West Nile virus increases, a sheet is one line of defense against disease-carrying mosquitoes. And if you have summertime concerns that days in the sun will fade your horse's show-ready coat (or even sunburn his sensitive white areas), a fly sheet has the added bonus of shielding him from harmful ultraviolet rays.

...Read more in the Basic Qualities of the Perfect Fly Sheet towards the bottom of the page

Why dressing your horse in zebra striped fly sheets helps repel flies!

Century Soft Touch II Fly Sheet

Century Soft Touch II Fly SheetMain picture shown in Beige with Black Binding

Cool, lightweight protection from irritating bugs and mosquitoes. This horse fly sheet is made of super-soft fabric that won’t rub or chafe sensitive skin. Double front billets, cross surcingles, removable elastic leg straps and tail tie. Shoulder gusset and padded withers.

Petrol w/Silver & Petrol Binding
Sizes:  72" - 84" (2” increments)

Silver w/Black & Silver Zebra Binding
Sizes:  70” – 80”, 84"  (2” increments)

Beige/Black Binding (main picture)
Sizes:  68” – 84” (2” increments)



Century Deluxe Fly Sheet with Belly Guard

Century Deluxe Fly Sheet with Belly Guard

Full coverage horse fly sheet with extended neck and belly guard. Lycra stretch panels positioned between the body of the sheet and the neck attachment offer improved comfort and mobility. Adjustable velcro neck closures. A single halter tab allows the neck to be secured to a halter if so desired. Additional features include: double front buckle closures, removable elastic leg straps and shoulder gusset.

Colors: Navy(10), White(01) and Denim (26)

Sizes 68-84"



Century Athletic Mesh Summer Sheet

Century Athletic Mesh Summer SheetThe main picture is the Athletic Mesh Summer Sheet in Silver. It is also available in Navy/Silver(90), Denim/Navy(26), Zebra/Black(11) & Dark Grey/Black -89

Essential summer protection for your horse! Soft polyester mesh helps keep flies and biting insects at bay while protecting your horse’s coat from harsh summer sun. Cooling perforations ensure optimum air flow to keep your horse comfortable.

Additional features include: double front billets, cross surcingles, tail tie and d-rings. Choose from three solid colours or vibrant Zebra pattern.

Sizes: 68-84"

Navy/ Silver
Denim/ Navy
Zebra/ Black (size



Century Ballistic Mesh Super Sheet

Century Ballistic Mesh Super Sheet

Ideal for a day at a show, this stylish sheet helps cool and protect your horse. The durable polyester mesh offers protection from biting and stinging insects, Allows air to flow freely for maximum comfort. The extended, full-length shoulder gusset ensures optimum freedom of movement while the oversized wither patch offers protection for this sensitive area. The sporty Navy/White colour blocking is accented with multi-coloured binding. Features include: double front billets, cross surcingles, tail tie and d-rings.

One left!

 Size 78"

Save 20%
was $72.00

Now $57.60

Tough 1 PVC Coated Mesh Tri-Shield Flysheet

Tough 1 PVC Coated Mesh Tri-Shield Flysheet

This sheet provides protection for your horse from flies, dust and sun. Made from tightly woven 1000 denier PVC coated mesh, it allows your horse to stay cool in the sun by allowing their body heat to be released as cooler air flows through. Features include: double buckle front, fleece wither protection, adjustable and replaceable leg straps, adjustable single belly surcingle, and brass plated hardware. This sheet is not only comfortable, but mildew resistant and easy to clean!

Sizes: 72, 75, 78, 81"



Tough 1 Air Mesh Flysheet with Snuggit

Lightweight air mesh fabric provides a durable, breathable barrier to protect your horse from even the smallest biting insects. The contour fit, along with the Snuggit neck feature, virtually guarantee a perfect fit. This sheet comes with crossed surcingle belly straps, padded wither protection, shoulder gussets, removeable leg straps to ensure that the sheet stays in place, and tail flap that reduces tail hair breakage.

60, 63, 66, 69, 72, 75, 78, 81, 84"



Basic Qualities of the Perfect Fly Sheet
Thanks to advances in fabric and design, a fly sheet is a more effective option than ever for helping your horse stay comfortable during bug season.

from Practical Horseman

When you're really serious about keeping flies OFF of your horse, fly sheets can protect him with new types of fabric and innovations that improve fit to help sheets stay put. A sheet may not safeguard every square inch of your horse--though some come close--but it can banish insects from large tracts of skin, enabling you to use fly repellent more selectively on what remains exposed.

As awareness of the danger of West Nile virus increases, a sheet is one line of defense against disease-carrying mosquitoes. And if you have summertime concerns that days in the sun will fade your horse's show-ready coat (or even sunburn his sensitive white areas), a fly sheet has the added bonus of shielding him from harmful ultraviolet rays.

Here are the basic qualities your horse's fly sheet needs:

For chafe-free comfort during hours of use, the newest fly sheets are constructed using fabric woven or knitted with soft artificial fibers such as nylon and polyester (as opposed to other fabrics made of vinyl-coated threads that give older fly sheets a stiff "plastic lawn furniture" feel). Improved use of darts, pleats and gussets provides extra room for movement in the shoulder and chest areas. Special slippery nylon lining in the shoulder area and (in the case of neck covers) along the top line helps prevent rubbing of hair. Contour darts in the rump encourage sheets to stay put in action or return to position after your horse rolls.

Recent advances in fabrics and design have caused some fly-sheet makers to recommend that their sheets can be worn around the clock, with regular checks to make sure everything is in place--a potential boon for pasture-kept horses (and their owners).

Small spaces between fibers in the weave or knit of the new fly sheet fabrics will not admit insects but are designed to allow air to circulate freely. A breathable sheet doesn't cause your horse to sweat, even in hot weather. (Because fly sheets are typically light-colored, he will also be cooler as some of the sun's heat is reflected.)

Note that fly sheets are not waterproof or water-resistant, so rain will go right through them (and some manufacturers recommend hosing them off for a quick cleaning). On the other hand, a fly sheet dries immediately and continues to protect your horse after a summer shower, while most topical insect repellents will be diluted or washed away.

Some fly sheet fabrics combine very fine monofilament--thin fishing line--with others fibers, adding extra toughness. Punctures or small tears are often self-limiting as the fabric doesn't continue to unravel beyond the area of damage. Use of quick-release plastic buckles rather than steel can actually reduce damage to the sheet if a buckle snags, because the plastic buckle will often break before the sheet begins to tear. Design that minimizes "easy to grab" areas makes your horse's sheet less vulnerable to playful (and destructive) pasture-mates.

A fly sheet often takes dirt that would otherwise be on your horse as he interacts with the outdoors, so it's designed to be washed according to manufacturer's instructions. As mentioned, hosing is good for quick cleanups. Repeated laundering may even enhance the softness of some fly-sheet fabrics.

Maximum Coverage
Because flies are interested in areas of your horse's body outside the boundaries of many regular sheet or blanket designs, fly sheets--sized like other horse clothing such as blankets or stable sheets--often cover extra territory:

Extended necks--contiguous with the sheet itself and reaching up almost to the poll and throatlatch

Hoods or neck rugs-- separate from the sheet and attached at the withers and shoulders

Belly bands--a wide section of fly-sheet fabric that extends across his vulnerable underside

Extended necks and detachable hoods are often secured at the front of your horse's neck using Velcro fasteners. Adjusting the neck covering to fit him closely helps to prevent the fabric from sliding down his neck. This part of the sheet can also be reinforced with inserts that help maintain its shape.

To keep flies and gnats away from your horse's eyes and ears, some manufacturers offer fly masks made of the same fabric used for fly sheets. There are also turnout leg wraps designed to protect against the biting flies that, if not discouraged, can torment your horse into stomping his shoes right off.

This article originally appeared in the June 2005 issue of Practical Horseman magazine.

Mosquito Patrol

By Katherine Walcott  from TheHorse.com

Mosquitoes are more than a nuisance, they are a public and equine health hazard. In addition to spreading West Nile virus (WNV), mosquitoes can carry malaria, yellow fever, dengue, filariasus (e.g., dog heartworm), and several encephalitis viruses including St. Louis, Eastern, Western, Venezuelan, and La Crosse. In a backhanded way, this is a benefit to the horse industry--mosquito control receives more attention than it would if mosquitoes only spread equine diseases. If you live in an area where mosquitoes are a particular problem, chances are some form of public control is already in place. The American Mosquito Control Association web site (www.mosquito.org) has links to 32 mosquito control districts, 15 U.S. mosquito control associations, 12 university and medical lab sites, six governmental sites, and eight military entomological sites, among others. A lot of people out there are concerned about the same thing horse owners are, which is to keep mosquitoes from biting.

What can horse owners do to control mosquitoes and prevent WNV and other diseases? An integrated approach includes keeping mosquitoes away from horses, stopping them from biting, and preventing disease in case a horse is bitten by an infected mosquito.

Putting Up Barriers

Every horse owner is familiar with the plethora of products available to keep biting insects from landing on a horse. Insect repellents come in spray bottles, creams, and roll-ons. Repellent-laden tags can be braided into forelocks, manes, and tails. Automatic systems can release measured doses of spray into stalls and barn aisles.

Says Randall L. Crom, DVM, senior staff veterinarian for emergency programs at the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Veterinary Services, fly repellent is not necessarily mosquito repellent. However, "Generally, compounds like synthetic pyrethroids applied topically will have decent effectiveness against mosquitoes," he says. "Nothing is 100%, however, especially after perspiration."

Some people feel that over-reliance on chemicals can damage the environment, build up chemicals in insect-eating creatures, and ultimately lead to increased chemical tolerance in mosquitoes. Others argue equally strongly against this position. Natural alternatives include sprays made with oil of citronella and/or oil of eucalyptus; individual results vary.

Another way to keep flies and mosquitoes away from horses is with physical barriers--face masks, ear covers, sheets, and leg covers. Many of these articles can be impregnated with fly repellent. On the down side, no clothing covers a horse completely. A sheet, for example, leaves the sensitive belly exposed. Furthermore, some horses object to having their faces covered.

Stable management practices can also help repel mosquitoes and reduce their numbers. If there is not an automated system in the barn, consider manually spraying stalls and aisle walls. Also consider spraying the lower limbs of shade trees and any place where large congregations of mosquitoes are seen. Adult mosquitoes rest in weeds, so trim weeds around barns and houses and keep lawns mowed.

Barn fans can also help. Steven Halstead, DVM, equine programs veterinarian for the state of Michigan, explains that mosquitoes are "fair-weather flyers that don't do well in air currents." Screens might work on barns, as long as they do not trap flies and mosquitoes inside.

"Overall," says Crom, "screens are probably useful as long as there are no mosquito breeding sites inside the screened area. Screens might not be practical, however."

Research is still being done on which mosquitoes transmit WNV. Some mosquito species feed at dawn and dusk, some during the day, and others at any time. Until the exact vector of disease in an area is known, horse owners can't know which time of day to avoid.

The USDA/APHIS mosquito control web site says that a recent study suggests keeping horses in at night. Halstead recommends to his clients to keep their horses in at dawn and dusk. Conlon adds that some of the mosquitoes associated with WNV are day feeders. Since you can't keep your horse indoors all the time, you should avoid having your horse outside at times of the day when the most mosquitoes are seen in your area, and you must make use of other management techniques that prevent mosquito bites.

Exterminating the Enemy

Population control of mosquitoes centers on interrupting the mosquito life cycle. Water is essential to this life cycle--mosquito eggs are laid in water or damp areas. A floating raft of 200 to 300 eggs looks like a speck of soot, about one-quarter inch by one-eighth inch. Eggs hatch into larvae, then molt into pupae, both of which live in water. Even adult mosquitoes rest on top of water to dry out after emerging from the pupae.

To stop mosquito breeding, one must eliminate or treat all sources of standing water. Cleaning these breeding sites will get rid of eggs, larvae, and pupae. Mosquito larvae feed on organic matter, so cleaning the water will leave the next generation of larvae with nothing to eat.

Potential mosquito breeding sites exist anywhere water stands for days--cans, barrels, tires, toys, buckets, potted plant trays, horse troughs, water collecting under or near water troughs, wheelbarrows, clogged rain gutters, puddles on flat roofs, puddles near faucets or air conditioners, seepage from cisterns/cesspools/septic tanks, ornamental ponds, tree stumps, trash that has collected along fence lines, swimming pool covers that have collected water, other plastic covers or tarps, puddles, creeks, ditches, and marshes.

These water collectors should be emptied, turned over, removed, or filled in. Clean and unclog gutters. If an object can't be moved, drill a hole in the bottom to drain the water. When watering lawns and gardens, look for puddles that remain for days, and landscape to eliminate them.

Bigger areas like ditches or swampy areas might require a community effort. If a roadside ditch needs to be left open for drainage but doesn't always drain completely, Conlon recommends keeping vegetation to a minimum. Remove dead leaves, plants, and grasses on the banks. This will give the larvae fewer places to hide and mosquito predators a clear shot. Also consider that there might be environmental concerns and regulations preventing the filling in of wetland areas.

A mosquito takes at least five days to grow from egg to adult. Therefore, water sources that cannot be removed need to be cleaned and/or treated at least once a week with a chemical or biological larvicide such as mosquito dunks. Keep water troughs clean and swimming pools treated and circulating. Ornamental ponds can be stocked with mosquito-eating fish called gambusia.

Some species of mosquitoes can lay eggs in as little as a few tablespoons of water. Therefore, you should dump all standing water and keep your eyes open for new puddles that collect after a rain.

Comprehensive mosquito control includes killing adult mosquitoes and keeping new ones from growing up. Space spraying is not as effective outdoors as it is indoors, since it only kills the adults that are present with no long-term effect against future mosquitoes. Various traps and bug zappers can attract adult mosquitoes, so they are not recommended. If you use them to kill other insects, keep them away from horses.

"I would encourage people to throw their bug lights away," says Halstead. "They destroy more helpful insects than harmful." For example, dragonflies that eat mosquitoes can be zapped. Halstead also finds that traps work for mosquito surveillance, but do not catch enough mosquitoes to effectively reduce the population.

Don't Worry About...

There is some good news. As far as WNV virus and other mosquito-borne disease are concerned, horse owners do not need to worry about other biting flies or ticks. While these need to be controlled for other reasons, they do not figure into the transmission of WNV. In addition, manure piles are not breeding sites for mosquitoes unless water is involved, perhaps collected on the tarp over a manure pile.

"Other hemovores (blood-feeding organisms) are not vectors," Halstead says. Ticks will bite wild birds, but do not transmit WNV, possibly because the virus needs to replicate inside a mosquito.

Halstead explains that flies are probably not vectors due to their different feeding mechanisms. A mosquito is a "flying syringe" that taps into a blood vessel to feed. While biting, the mosquito releases saliva as an anticoagulant and lubricant; the virus crosses over in the saliva.

Flies, on the other hand, have "scissor-like" mouthparts. They slash open skin and mop up the welling blood. Since this is immediately painful, the horse dislodges them. The fly then moves to the next horse to finish its interrupted meal, taking with it fresh blood from the first horse. Other infections are spread this way, but not WNV.

A horse owner will never eliminate mosquitoes from a barn; the best you can hope for is to reduce them as much as possible. No one method or single application will achieve this--you need to plan an integrated, ongoing approach that incorporates public and private means, population control, and repellents. The exact balance of these depends on your area of the country, your land configuration, and your horse arrangements.

Crom recommends, "Talk to your local mosquito control authority (usually at a county level) or an agricultural extension agent." Halstead recommends using all approaches: habitat elimination, topical products, and fly masks, which he uses on his horses. Mostly, he says, "The (WNV) vaccine is going to be the solution."

Vaccinating Horses

In 2001, the USDA-APHIS Center for Veterinary Biologics conditionally granted a license to Fort Dodge for a WNV vaccine. The vaccine must be approved by each state veterinary authority for use in that state and administered by a veterinarian. Crom says, "The WNV vaccine met full safety requirements prior to licensing." State health authorities or individual veterinarians will know if a particular area is considered at risk for WNV and whether or not the vaccine is currently recommended. Given the rapid spread of the disease since its discovery in 1999, the risk factor for a given area can change each year.

According to John H. Tuttle, DVM, manager of Equine Professional Services at Fort Dodge Animal Health, a mosquito infected with WNV can carry a very large number of virus particles. When an infected mosquito bites a horse, it deposits some of these particles into the horse's bloodstream. Due to the naïvete (previous lack of exposure) of our equine population to WNV, it might not take many of these particles to infect the horse because he has no residual immunity from previous exposure. In horses which contract the disease, the incubation period is thought to be between five and 15 days.

The Fort Dodge WNV vaccine is a killed vaccine. This means the horse does not get a mild case and thereby develop antibodies, as with modified live viral (MLV) vaccines. Instead, the vaccine causes the horse's immune system to produce neutralizing antibodies, as well as sensitizes the horse's immune system to produce a type of "memory" in regard to future recognition of the virus. When a mosquito's WNV particles invade the bloodstream, the circulating antibodies work to neutralize the virus. Lymphocytes are activated and their "memory" of the virus from the vaccine allows them to produce the proper antibodies, as well as initiate a cascade of immune events to help neutralize the virus.

Halstead recommends that every horse owner consider having his or her horses vaccinated against WNV. He says that field experience has confirmed the safety claims of the manufacturer. He also expects the vaccine to be as protective as claimed if given properly, since the WNV vaccine is a killed virus vaccine like the Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) vaccine that has proven to be safe and effective (see "West Nile Virus Vaccine: Where It's Been, Where It's Going" on page 16).

Vaccinations, physical barriers such as screens, insecticide sprays, mosquito repellents, and standing water removal should all be part of your barn's mosquito control program. Proper tailoring of all these tools to your barn can help keep your horse's chances of getting WNV to an absolute minimum.

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