When I started leasing Murray I was determined not to be the type of person who keeps her horse rugged up from head to toe in the Summer. I mean, it’s Summer! It’s beautiful! I know it’s hot and it’s California but sunshine! Shade! Cool breeze! I’m not vain, I don’t care about sun bleaching (and my horse is turned out at night anyway and I always curry the sweat off!!)!
Murray, of course, was determined to prove me wrong by promptly getting hives from fly bites and looking cranky about it. So I went on Tack Trader on Facebook and saw a screaming deal for a fly sheet ($35 shipped) and bought it. I shoulda known better.
The one and only time Murray wore his new fly sheet he got all four feet tangled within five minutes.
So I went in search of a new fly sheet. Given Murray’s clear ability as a destructomaton, I knew I would need something a little more hardy than the soft-and-silky variety, and I wanted a good fit that would help avoid such debacles. My local tack store (Tack Warehouse) was kind enough to let me take a couple home and try them on. Enter the Professional’s Choice fly sheet.
MSRP: $120 + tax
What I paid: ~$110
I walked into Tack Warehouse with very specific requirements, and made a nuisance of myself touching every sheet they had until I found what I wanted (Brenda and Holly are so understanding!). After going through several sheets with the staff, I found the Professional’s Choice one which had me intrigued. The fabric is lightweight but sturdy and breathable. I ran around the store in it — it wasn’t shabby. It’s made of a very pale blue-and-black nylon mesh with gusseted shoulders, two belly surcingles, and leg wraps. The front closures are buckles and snaps, which I greatly appreciate (adjustability and ease of use?! Yes please!) and there is a little fleece patch along the wither.
Not only do I love the construction, I love the color and weight of the fabric. While I pretend I don’t care about sun bleaching, I kinda do, and Professional’s Choice includes UV protection in the fabric! This is awesome even when your pony doesn’t have sweat stains. Plus, dark horses absorb more heat and therefore get hotter — a light sheet is important to me to help Murray regulate his temperature. Also, I didn’t realise this until I read the product description just now, but the fabric is also designed to be wrinkle and stain resistant, which I can also say is true. Despite Murray’s penchant for lying in pee at shows, the sheet is pretty clean.
Dressage is tiring, guys!!
Fit-wise, my only concern was the way the sheet sits back on Murray’s wither and shoulder. It looked like it might better fit a horse with a slightly wider front end, but despite my concerns Murray didn’t get any rubs from the sheet. So I wouldn’t be concerned if your horse does have a slightly wider front end, as this is bound to fit fairly well. I did end up sizing down to a 76″ sheet (Murray is between a 76″ and 78″) and I think it fits really well, so that’s an option for narrower horses.
I also know this fly sheet works, because Murray has always gotten some fly or mosquito or whatever bites when we’ve stayed overnight at Camelot Equestrian Park. I’m not exactly sure what it is, but they don’t seem to bug him toooo much. Anyway, when he wore his sheet overnight there was a clear delineation where the bites ended — on his neck, but not onto his shoulder, which the sheet was covering.
I did pay a little more than I originally wanted to for this sheet, because it really did seem like the best option available to me, and I like to torture myself by thinking about how many uses anything I buy gets and how much its “cost per use” is. Though I did only use this sheet about 45 times last Summer (coming in at a little more than $2.40 per use), I don’t regret spending the money on it, and would (and have!) recommended it to others! The sheet is pristine this year (after Murray wore it in turn out repeatedly and didn’t destroy it like that other one!) and I anticipate getting a good deal of use out of it this year as well. I’ll tell you how much I amortized it down to after another Summer’s worth of use!
Price: 3/5 (I’m a cheap bitch, what can I say)
Fit: 4/5 (I may harbor some lingering concerns about the shoulder)
Breathe-ability: 5/5 (better than many sillkier shieets!)
Durability: 4/5 (so far!)
Efficacy: 5/5 (it keeps the flies off his skin, not sure what else I could want)