Benefits Of Mesh Rugs For Horses

Mesh horse rugs are a popular product choice among horse owners as they help keep horses comfortable during long hot summer weather. By design, horse mesh rugs help minimise insect irritation and the burning effects of the sun whilst allowing for airflow that keeps your horse cool. However, not all mesh rugs are the same. The variance in design and features means some will be better suited to specific environmental conditions over others. So what should you look for when selecting the right mesh horse rug for your horse? In this article, we will broadly discuss the design, features, and considerations you should weigh up before making your purchase.

Mesh rug advantages

Mesh rugs are an excellent choice for horse owners wanting to protect their horses from the summer elements and insects whilst keeping them comfortable and cool. By design, they are:

  • Lightweight - allowing for minimal exertion
  • Breathable - allowing for maximum airflow 
  • Durable - made from high-quality materials that withstand wear and tear 
  • Easy to put on and take off - saving time, effort and frustration for horse and rider
  • Easy to clean - making it easy to maintain and use whilst away on trips
  • Easy to move about in - keeping your horse happy and unrestricted in movement

Mesh rug materials

Be they Ripstop Premium Hybrid Cotton Mesh Combo rugs, Mesh Combo Horse rugs, Horse Fly rugs, Hybrid Rainsheets, or Mesh Fly rugs, mesh horse rugs will likely be made from one, or a blend of the following materials; each of which possessing their own strengths and limitations:

Material Type




Versatile, has good wear resistance, and can handle excessive temperatures

Doesn’t absorb water very well and it lacks dimensional stability


Strong, durable and lightweight, doesn’t retain heat, easy to clean and quick to dry

Prone to static build up, is less breathable, can hold odour, can irritate sensitive skin


Soft and comfortable, absorbent, hypoallergenic and won't irritate sensitive 

Can shrink in hot water and wrinkle easily, can be prone to mildew


Combine the advantages of the above materials. Ripstop rugs are a classic example of combining polyester and cotton

This will depend on the blend type. Ripstop rugs as example aren’t generally waterproof

Things to consider before making a purchase

  • Fabric weave - the tighter the weave the better the protection against biting insects. A tight weave minimises airflow. Loose weave minimises insect protection
    • Tip - if you are able to compare fabrics, hold them up to the light to get a gauge of the tightness of the weave
  • Fabric weight - generally measured in GSM (grams per square meter). The higher the measure the stronger the fabric and tighter the weave. 
  • Fabric colour - certain colours have an insect-repelling quality of their own. 
  • Additional features - some mesh rugs include built-in fly masks, ear and neck covers, which can further minimise insect irritation. Others will have improved UV protection
    • Tip - make sure to take into account the environment your horse generally roams in

The two key takeaways here are:

(a) properly understand your environment and the needs of your horse, and, 
(b) match these needs against the design and features of the products you’re reviewing 

The greater the airflow and breathability of a mesh rug, the less insect protection you are likely to get and vice versa so it's important to find a balance between coolness and insect protection and between rug strength and the sensitive nature of your horse’s skin. 

With this knowledge in mind, you can now begin to review the product range with greater confidence and assurance. So why not start by following the link to our range of high-quality Mesh Horse Rugs.

If however, you still find the variance in brand, product type, and design to be a bit confusing, that’s no problem. The expert, prompt and friendly staff at Active Equine will ensure you make the right choice, the first time.

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