Made with your horse’s comfort in mind, the Field Relief Fly Rug from Equilibrium Products will keep your horse protected from the flies while remaining cool and able to move freely in the field.

Not only does this rug provide up to 90% UV protection, it also features a unique hexagonal pattern that has been tested to reduce fly landings by 51% on average when compared to other fly rugs.

Print Testing to Deter Flies from Landing

Many researchers around the world have been curious as to why flies don’t cause zebras as much distress as other animals. There are several theories for this including light polarisation, pattern contrast, pattern size and aliasing (misidentified visual signals that effects landing).

Research into these theories carried out by professors from the University of Bristol in 2020 showed that certain patterns, such as black and white checked rugs had less horse fly landings compared to a plain grey rug. This research was expanded on, again by the University of Bristol, and in 2023 an article was published, that supported the hypothesis that checkboard black and white patterns had significantly fewer landings than uniform grey material.

Developing a Fly Rug with this Research in Mind

Equilibrium designed a selection of patterns that took inspiration from the research, but also remained aesthetically pleasing.

They have carried out their own testing on a selection of print designs, including plain colours, contrasting black and white, colourful prints and a monochrome hexagonal print. The goal for conducting our fly attraction test was to determine which of the fabric prints or colour choices had the least amount of fly landings. The results of this test would inform design decisions for Equilibrium’s fly rug.

Their test method was based on a combination of the methods used by the professors from the University of Bristol and other previous studies that investigated fly landings in cattle.

The Test in Depth

Six fabric choices of identical size and shape were placed in a field (adjacent to horses) where a significant number of horse flies had been reported. The fabric choices were secured onto a plastic box lid and covered in a clear plastic film. The top of the clear plastic was coated with a horse fly attracting trapping glue. ‘Landing zones’ for each print were all of equal size, and care was taken to apply the same amount of fly glue to each fabric choice. The baited ‘landing zones’ were left in place for 6 hours before recording how many flies had landed and therefore become stuck and the results compared.

The test was repeated on 3 separate ocassions so an average could be taken. It was ensured the days had a similar weather conditions; sunny, no precipitation and minimal wind.

The Results!

The results showed that Equilibrium’s monochrome hexagonal design had significantly fewer landings than plain colours – the randomised Black & White print didn’t perform as well as expected. Equilibrium would speculate this was due to there still being larger patches of black within this particular design.

The chosen monochrome hexagonal print had less than half the amount of fly landings when compared to other tested prints and colours, and so was chosen for Equilibrium’s latest Field Relief Rug design!