If you’ve owned a horse, or ever even been near one, you know the struggle against flies is real. Depending on your area and climate, that struggle may extend to gnats, no-see-um’s, mosquitoes, and a plethora of other winged and non-winged bugs. Regardless of the enemy you face, you must keep your arsenal fully stocked.
Unfortunately, however, horse ownership has a way of leaving you with empty pockets. I’ve never heard of someone who enjoys purchasing products for a horse that they can’t be sure will actually do anything, and if there is someone like that out there, you’re welcome to come hang out with my horses.
I have a few updates on the progress of our struggle against the bugs here in southern coastal California. First, apparently I was not the only one in my area to purchase the “Kool Coat” sheets. I bought mine from Statelinetack.com and they were very affordable. I took pictures of them so that you could see the fit as well as what they look like when you first put them on and then a few days afterward.
Here is Rapture’s sheet after I’d just put it on for the first time. So clean and white…
Here’s Gem’s sheet that had been on for a few days. He really loves to roll in his shavings, so it’s got some stuff stuck to it. Gem has swayback so you can really see how the sheets shape to the horses. I bought him a 72″ even though he’s more like a 70″ because it needs those extra inches to conform to his spine and not pull anywhere.
First of all, let me say I was very impressed with the quality of these sheets. However, I believe it is rather inaccurate to advertise them as a form of fly control. Saying that this is a fly sheet is like saying a waterproof turnout sheet is effective at protecting your horse from the UV rays. Yes, the sheet certainly does that, but it seems like it was intended for much more. I’m not saying it doesn’t protect against flies; I’m only saying that it is not constructed like a simple fly sheet. It is not mesh, it is not screen, or anything like that. It is a sheet, somewhat like a dress sheet. Although I only caught my horse sweating underneath it once in 95 degree weather in a very small spot where he most likely would have been sweating anyways, I am always concerned with over-blanketing. That said, I definitely do believe that these sheets are well ventilated, effective in protecting your horse against UV rays, dirt and insects, and do not tear easily.
One thing that really impressed me with these sheets was the construction. I could leave them on for over 24 hours, sometimes 2 days in a row if I didn’t make it out to the barn, and my horses did not have rub marks. They are generously sized and really fit my horses well, even my Arabian who has swayback and has a hard time with proper blanket fit. The wither area is really well designed to contour better and do less damage as far as stress and rubbing on your horses’ necks and withers. The straps are great, stitched with better planning than I’ve seen on some other blankets, and I really appreciate the rear leg straps (I hate tail straps with a fiery passion). I wish it had more than a single buckle and strap as the front closure across the chest, but it doesn’t effect the performance at all. Lastly, but certainly not least, these sheets have held up very well and I haven’t had a single tear or pulled stitch, even though my horse has nearly pushed through an entire pipe corral panel with it on and incessantly rubs against his automatic waterer.
A few cons that I must add;
If there was anything bad to say about this sheet, it would be simply that the crossing belly straps seem to be stitched onto the sheet pretty far back, as in closer to the back legs rather than being in the center. But I haven’t had any problems with legs being caught or any of that. Also, these sheets are a tremendously poor color choice. As if white weren’t bad enough on a horse (though I can understand how that would keep them cooler), it has this ugly grid pattern that reminds me of doing my math homework on graph paper. I feel like I should be designing a building or something every time I look at them. Not only that, but the white gets very dirty as is to be expected. I have yet to wash them to see if any of the grime will come out.
So that’s it as far as the Kool Coats go. If you’re wondering how things went with my test of the effect of Garlic on flies, I didn’t really notice a difference until I stopped feeding it and noticed that my one boy’s legs are getting bitten much more. I will be buying him fly boots for his front legs because that is the only area being bothered. I started feeding him garlic in his grain after we ride, but since it’s not daily it doesn’t seem to be working so well. I definitely think that feeding garlic helps ward off flies but I do recommend that you feed 1/2 tablespoon at least every day.
Also, my overall favorite fly sheet is still the Shire’s sheet that I bought, which Rapture destroyed like three days later. If I ever see one again, I’m buying it on the spot.
These are the only photos I got of it before it ripped into shreds…
I am still loving Bronco fly spray, both the regular and the Gold. I definitely see a difference with the Bronco Gold though. If you aren’t sure whether or not the Gold is worth the extra money…the answer is yes. This, in conjunction with Swat ointment, is my anti-fly lifeline.