A Stable's Spring Essential: Fly Masks!

by Jordan Manfredi
Flies can make your horse’s life miserable. They buzz, bite, and generally annoy all spring and summer long. Flies can not only drive your horse absolutely nuts, but they strain their health. When a horse is stressed (which is something hoards of flies will do) it can take a toll on their immune system, lessening their resistance to disease. The parasites and disease could then easily spread from sick horses to healthy ones. It's important that your horse is well-protected against insects, especially its face and ears. This is where the use of fly masks comes in. It is one of the most effective, and easiest, methods for providing protection to your horse’s face, eyes, and ears from biting insects. The use of fly masks will help provide a stress-free, and therefore healthier, environment for your horses. Fly masks cover the most vulnerable parts of the horse, the eyes, jaw, and sometimes ears and muzzle, protecting it from painful and dangerous bites. There are 3 general types of fly masks to choose from:
  1. Partial head, with no ear coverings – If your horse isn't tolerant of having its ears touched, this would be the ideal choice.
  2. Partial head, with ear coverings– This is the common, standard mask. It provides protection against insects, sunburn and dust.
  3. Full-head – Maximum protection from the nose up to the ears.
3-FM Another benefit of a fly mask is the protection it provides to your horse’s face from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Horses with pale coats or sensitive skin are especially susceptible to sun burn. Just as a hat protects your head from the sun, a fly mask covers those sensitive areas of a horse’s face most prone to getting sun burned. Making sure the fly mask fits your horse properly, is incredibly important, to not only function properly, but to avoid rubbing. The mask should fit snugly against the horse's head to keep flies out, yet lose enough to prevent chafing. Every horse is unique, so be sure to take the time to properly measure your horse’s head and find the appropriate sized mask. Properly fitting fly masks will:
  • Protect your horse’s eyes, skin, and sometimes ears, from biting bugs
  • Allow it to see everywhere, clearly, without obstruction
  • Protect its sensitive eyes and skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays
  • Be comfortable enough that the horse can graze carefree.

Whether buggy season is in full-swing, or just around the corner, in your region, be sure to have your fly-masks at the ready!

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