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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Product Review - Kensington Sheet

Farley in her favorite spot in the pasture. She looks relaxed but in reality she's waiting until I'm close enough to justify galloping away.....

Kensington labels this product as a "Protective Sheet", instead of a fly sheet - however most people in my area call it a fly sheet.

The flies in my parents area are incessant and vicious. They leave little welts on Farley's skin and Farley (obviously) is unhappy about this. In Turlock I successfully controlled flies by applying fly spray a couple of times a week. Just misting her lightly was enough, combined with a flymask. However, it became obvious very quickly that this protocol wouldn't work in hernew home. Farley was miserable and was very tense and tight with her nostrils squeezed up in disgust. I'm not a fan of keeping sheets and blankets on my horses for extended periods of time, however sometimes the benefits outweigh the risks.
Side view of the sheet

I've used the Kensington for almost a month and can fully recommend it without reservations. Here are my observations and comments.

The Kensington flysheet will not be the cheapest fly sheet you buy, however there were several factors that I considered that made it worth $120 (
  • Durability - These blankets are tough. My friends havesheets that are 10 years old and going strong. They aren't nice to them either - the sheets go on in the summer and rarely come off. Farley is easy on sheets and blankets (hasn't destroyedoneyet....) and I fully expect this sheet to last me 10 years or more and be the last flysheet I purchase for Farley during her lifetime. And if it doesn't? That brings us to our next point -
  • Warranty - If the blanket becomes damaged, return it to Kensington and receive a replacement blanket for half the cost. I think that this isa great warranty and for once in my life I actually filled out the warranty card and turned it in so that if I ever had issues, they would have my receipt on file.
  • My fly spray is $50-60/gallon. Ignoring for the moment the non monetary costs of applying 1-2 gallons of chemical onto my horse each summer over a period of 5 months, Even if the blanket only lasted 5 years it will have paid for itself in flyspray.
Front view of the sheet. I swear the world isn't crooked - it's the camera :)

The Kensington flysheet offers breathability as well as protection from flies. Even with multiple 100+ degree days, there are no sweat stains on Farley and she does not appear to be overheated. The sheet has not changed her habits during the day - she still stands in the shade and sun according to her "schedule". I didn't think my color choice through and chose a red/black plaid according to our endurance colors, which aren't exactly known to be the coolest colors for being in the sun, but it doesn't seem to matter. We had a thunderstorm recently where it POURED all day (unusual for this area in June) and the sheet performed just fine. Even with this breathability, it provides excellent protection against flies. There is not a welt or mark on her body - which contrasts with her neck which is not protected, except by her mane and flyspray. Even though the sheet hangs down her sides, the flies are not landing on her belly - even though it isn't technically covered. I'm not sure why, but I'll accept it as a gift!
Another side view

Even though the packaging shows a fleece wither cover (and highlights it as a feature), my blanket came with a padded NON-fleece wither pad. This makes the blanket much more "country friendly" as Farley's pasture has lots of foxtails and other weeds that LOVE fleece anything and hitch a ride. The fabric of the sheet does not appear to pick up stickers and weeds and even though has been on the horse continuously for 4 weeks, still looks brand new. I know the color of my blanket is new this season so I'm not sure if some of the other colors from past seasons still have a fleece section. Don't assume that the picture on the packaging is correct and try to check it out for yourself, or talk to a knowledgeable sales rep.
Back view

The sheets run very close to true to size, to perhaps a bit small. Order exact size, or if you are between sizes, definitely round up. All of Farley's turnouts are 72" which tends to fit her good to a bit large, so that's what I ordered in the Kensington. It fits back to front perfectly, I wouldn't want it any smaller. The neck and chest is cut very generously, which is hard for Farley - she has a big wither and the top of blankets tend to slide down to the base of the wither and "stick" there. I'm always worried that it will create a pressure point there. However, this material is "slick" enough it seems to slide well enough that there is no mark or pressure there. The sewn "darts" in the butt of the blanket are abit baggy - but we all know that Farley has no butt! I think that the blanket would fit a larger muscled animal just fine. The combination of how generous the chest cut and butt is means I'm really glad I didn't size up. The sides of the blanket are very generous and hang down several inches below the line of her belly. This seems to discourage flies from landing on her belly.
Close up of the wither

I wish the sheet had a tail flap - but it doesn't. The sheet has a single belly strap, as opposed to 2 cross belly straps, however I don't think it matters.

The hind leg straps fit a bit closer than I'm used to as compared to her turn outs, probably because the sheet sizing does not run large like I'm used to and the sheet doesn't extend past the hind legs (may be a function of no tail flap). I've been keeping a close eye on how the straps are doing - I don't want them to restrict her length of stride. After some observation, I've made them looser than I'm used to. That, combined with the section of elastic in the straps, seems to be working well. No rubs or chafing.

I like this sheet well enough that I will probably check out their flymasks when it's time to replace the one that Farley has, and would be interested in their other products - such as the leg fly covers and neck covers - if I ever had a need. Having spent some time in the South, I know that my current bug problem is NOTHING like the issues that the folks down there deal with, or even what the riders on the XP ride are dealing with this summer as they ride across country. However, I've found that this is an excellent solution for a sensitive California horse and her owner and fits into my "buy it ONCE" philosophy.

Bonus Tess Picture


  1. If I were in the market for a fly or protective sheet, I would definitely check this one out after your favorable review. Thanks!

  2. Nice review--but of course, Tess steals the show!

  3. Of course the puppy steals the show!!!! Anything as adorable as that.... :). Her damaged tooth fell out today all on her own!!!! I'm so relieved. She didn't seem to care one way or the other (little piglet...) but it sure makes me feel better!

  4. Mel, how hot has it been where you are? We're having steady 100+ days here (central Texas) and I don't use fly sheets this time of year because it's soooo hot... but your Kensington isn't making Farley warm at all? Hmmm...

  5. Grrrr.... Blogger ate another comment. I don't notice that she's any hotter with the sheet than without. Her neck is sweaty but her neck is sweaty on hot days no matter what. We've had up to a week of 100 plus degree days since I bought the blanket and she seems happy and comfortable in it regardless of temperature.

  6. I plan to get one of these sheets. As far as their fly masks...I do not like they bug eye. The eye part invariably collapses in and then stays that way and the crown has worn the forelock off. However, the "catch mask" is rock star! Soft crown and ears, eye pleats do not collapse, generous nose cover (for those sunburned prone light noses) and if you're in a hurry just clip on and lead! Extremely tough like all their products.


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