Welcome to EN’s Product Review series! Who doesn’t love shopping… especially when the object of your search is new gear for yourself or your horse? As an enthusiast of all products equine, I LOVE trying out new gear. Which is why I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to try out products, so that I may share my many adventures with all of you! Please join me as I narrate my personal journey of trying out all of the products featured. While I will make no recommendations, I hope that you simply have fun and find entertainment while reading about my many adventures of trying new products, and that hearing about my personal experiences might help give you factors to consider when you are on your own quest for new gear!
Every year when the first cut of hay comes off of our back field, I get SUPER excited. And by that I mean that you would think that I’m going to be munching on the hay bales, rather than the equines. Truth be told, they are actually pretty comfy to lounge around on too – after stacking the barn full that is. And maybe that’s just because I’ve hit the point of exhaustion.
Anyway, while I get quite a sense of accomplishment once the hay barn is filled with enough hay to last for another year, there is a downside (hard to believe, I know). While it is great to have food stocked up for the equines, and my field back to ride on for another month until the second cut grows too tall, there are the flies.
Yep, once the first cut comes down, the horses usually seem to start getting swarmed with flies. At that point, we’re usually into the month of June, which brings some real Pennsylvania Summer weather. Day temperatures usually ride in the 70s & 80s, but we do have spells that reach up over 90. Which is pretty moderate on the temperature scale, compared to other areas of the country. But we’ve got that pesky humidity to go along with the warm temperatures, which can make some days a little tough on the equines.
Which brings me to one of the typical dilemmas that I can face during the summer…fly sheet, or no fly sheet? Two out of my three horses are young DWB/TB crosses, and they seem like they have more sensitivity to insect bites. I don’t really know it is their genetics or what…but that’s the way it is.
Unfortunately, the same two youngsters also mind the heat and humidity just terribly. On any given hot, humid, buggy day, they are just plain miserable. In the past, I’ve been torn on whether to use a fly sheet or not. It’s a little hard to pick between the lesser of the two evils—flies vs. the heat / humidity.
I’ve recently had the opportunity to try out the Fly Sheet that is available from Professional’s Choice on one of my young geldings, Rufus. The first thing that I noticed when I pulled the Fly Sheet out of the packaging, is that it felt soft and pliable, yet durable at the same time. I found that I liked how the mesh that the sheet is constructed out of felt like it would be breathable.
A concern that I usually have when with sheets, or blankets of any kind really, is ripping. My youngsters are a bit…well, they’re just boys. They like to play, and pull on each other’s sheets. And Rufus even likes to grab onto his own sheet and yank on it…don’t ask me why, he’s just such a boy. So, another feature of the Professional’s Choice Fly Sheet that I like is the material features a polyester rip stop technology.
When I fit the sheet on Rufus, I also discovered that I really like how the cut works on him. While the front of the fly sheet has two traditional buckle closures, it also includes two ‘West Coast style’ belly surcingles (that come further up the sides and they detach on either side of the horse). There are also two leg straps included.
With a front gusset on either side, the sheet fits Rufus well around the chest. I also do like the fleece at the withers, and the nylon lining that is included in the chest area. I am really happy with the way that the soft feeling mesh molds to Roo’s body – he is quite big bodied and solid looking (which I attribute to the DWB side of his family tree), and the cut is generous enough to accommodate his large frame.
One feature that really stands out to me as unique is the three black colored seams that taper towards the back of the fly sheet. I’ve found that this allows for a nice, close fit around the tail, so as not to allow flies to try to buzz around Roo’s tail area too much.
Roo looked like such a pretty boy wearing the new fly sheet, that I was a little hesitant to turn him out with his “big brother” Mark. But my worry was for naught – not only has the Professional’s Choice Fly Sheet proven to be durable against the antics of “the boys”, but it is also stain and wrinkle resistant as well. The sheet has toughed it out through some pulling and tugging by “the boys”, and I’ve not seen any visible evidence of their play. And even though Roo rolls in the grass and dirt, his sheet has stayed looking nice and clean.
While Rufus has worn his fly sheet on our warm and humid days here in Pennsylvania, I’ve also taken note of how cool he stays. Concern over my horses getting overheated has led to me not using a fly sheet in the past – but I have found that it is possible for a sheet to protect your horse and not cause them to sweat buckets. Even on the warmer days, Roo’s coat felt dry to the touch when I removed the fly sheet after bringing him in for evening feed.
California-based eventers Helen Bouscaren and James Alliston both rely on Professional’s Choice Fly Sheets to outfit some of their own horses. Helen is the trainer at the East Bay Riding Academy, which is run in partnership with James Alliston and Alliston Eventing. She and her horse, Ben, began competing at the three star level during Fall 2013, and she has also been named to the Developing Riders Under 25 program.
Helen had the following to say about her experience with Professional’s Choice Fly Sheets: “Professional’s Choice fly sheets and fly masks keep our horses cool and comfortable especially during the hot summer months here in California. The light weight yet durable material is perfect for the horses and we do not turn them out without all of their gear on.”
Durable. UV-and-Fly Protection. Superb Fit. And–most importantly–cool enough. I definitely feel as though the Professional’s Choice Fly Sheet does a great job at keeping Rufus comfortable by protecting him, without causing him to overheat. The sheet has been designed to compliment the matching fly mask, fly boots, and neck cover also available from Professional’s Choice. And, Professional’s Choice even offers a 30-day money back guarantee. And, I would say their sheet is modestly priced, retailing for $119.95.
Go staying COOL (while saying ‘Adios’ to flies). Go Professional’s Choice. Go Eventing.