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Buying a fly rug for your horse

There are many horse fly rugs on the market offering varying degrees of protection for the horse. Here are a few points to look out for when selecting your rug.

Standard fly rug

Fine mesh material to prevent flies from biting the horse. The finer the mesh the better as this will help prevent midge bites. Fly rugs can come complete with neck cover or just cover the body. Fly rugs can also have the option of a section to cover the horse's belly to protect this vulnerable area from bites. You can expect to pay anything from £15.00 for a bog standard fly rug right up to around £120.00 for a top end rug.

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Sweet itch protection

Horses who are vulnerable to sweet itch need protection from biting midges during the spring and summer months. Sweet itch rugs are made from ultra fine mesh material to prevent midge bites and to cover the horse usually from head to tail. Prices range from around £60 to £150.

Rain protection

Fly rugs are now available with a waterproof lining to keep the horse dry through the spring and summer months. You simply attach the lining when it looks like a spell of rain and then remove when the weather dries out again. The linings are breathable and still allow full protection from flies. Expect to pay around £30 to £60 for a fly rug liner.

UV protection

Some horses are particularly susceptible to the UV rays from the sun, which can case sun burn on sensitive / pink areas of the horse. Dark coloured horses can also be bleached by the sun's rays, your handsome black horse could finish up looking a dull grey by the end of the summer! Many fly rugs on the market today offer varying levels of UV protection or the horse. Some are made from special material that reflects the sun rays and helps to keep the horse cool, very space age!
Rugs with UV protection start at around £50

Fitting the rug

Once you have decided on the type of horse rug you need for you horse you need to make sure that you buy the size so that he is comfortable and safe. Fly rugs are usually sized and fitted in the same way as standard horse rugs but you should always check the retailer's guidelines or get their advice before buying. The last thing you want is for your horse to be rubbed by the rug or cause your horse discomfort.

Static shocks

Many people find that when they remove their horse's fly rug they get a static shock from the rug and the rug seems to stick with static to the horse's coat. To help prevent this you can try rubbing your horse down with a tumble dryer (anti static) cloth before putting his fly rug on. You can also try folding the rug in half and then placing it on the horse and carefully unfolding it out to secure it. This prevents you from sliding the rug over the horse's coat which causes static.
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