Why Is Your Horse Wearing a Blindfold?
By Ellie Riley
Have you ever heard that question from your non-horsey friends? As much as we want to roll our eyes and giggle, the well intentioned question comes every year when the flies emerge and all the horses start to wear their fly masks. They may look silly to the untrained eye, but fly masks are an integral part of your horses’ summer wardrobe to keep them comfortable, safe and bug free.
Throughout most of the U.S., the flies and horse flies and other flying pests emerge en masse this time of year and being to wreak havoc on our four legged friends. Combine any sort of heat with moisture, and you have double the trouble, making most of the equine residents in the Eastern U.S., even more miserable.
Though we can’t completely cover our horses all day, every day, often, flies congregate around the eyes and biting flies target the insides of the ears, so if you can cover those delicate areas, your horse will be much more comfortable. Choosing a fly mask may seem simple, but when you go to catch your horse and he has rid himself of his mask every single day, forcing you to search for it in the pasture, you’ll soon realize how important it is to find the type that fits your horse and his needs best. Luckily, Horse Tack Co. has a wide selection of masks in sizes and price points to match every need, use the promo code “LoveTheRide” to save 15% off your fly masks and the rest of your order anytime and all-the-time!
Let’s talk about size, comfort and protection:
When fitting your horse, you want the mask to be snug, but you should be able to fit two fingers between the horse and the mask at any point on the edges. Most importantly, you want to make sure the mask does not touch or interfere with the eyes and that the fabric of the masks stands away from the eye.
For those that repeatedly lose masks, it’s sometimes helpful to turn the horse out in a breakaway halter worn over the mask to prevent them from getting it off easily. As silly as it may seem to some to buy a brightly colored or printed mask, they are much easier to keep track of when they are easy to spot! If your horse is good about keeping the mask on, it’s still important to take it off and inspect the horses’ eyes and skin each day as they can develop eye issues and rubs very quickly during summer when sun, sweat and bugs are always a factor.
Which Fly Mask Would Work Best?
If your horse lives primarily outside, you’ll need a mask that will stay on in the field, stay cool and provide UV protection in the sun. The Cashel Cool Crusader Fly Mask is a great choice for turnout. It’s double Velcro closure stays on well and it blocks 70% of UV rays to protect the the horse’s eyes. The edges are soft, which prevents rubs, and it comes with or without ears. It even comes with pink ears for those mares or geldings that want a bit of flair! This mask is hardy and hard to destroy for those that play rough, but the fabric does tend to get mud clogged and can easily be rinsed or washed to remove any muddy spots. In seven different sizes, you are sure to find the one for your horse!
The Kensington Fly Mask with Fleece Trim and Ears is another great choice for horses that are turned out with masks on. With a variety of safety features, including elastic at the bottom that will stretch out and allow the mask to come off should the horse get hung up, this well designed mask provides full coverage and strong fasteners. There is also a removable extended nose version, which is a great choice for those horses with white or pink noses that get sunburned easily. The Kensington has a great variety of color choices, making it easy to find a lost mask, and allowing your horse to make a fashion statement. Slightly less ventilated than the Cashel, the Kensington has a comfy nylon lining for horse comfort and a fleece edge to prevent rubs. If you are treating an eye injury, ulcer, or uveitis and need a mask that will protect the horses’ eyes, this mask is a great choice.
For horses that stay in part time, or are less rough on their “clothes”, the Intrepid Fly Mask with Ear Protection is a great choice. The price point is less than half of the others and the mask still provides full coverage with ears, and fleece edges for comfort. Made from a more lightweight fabric, this mask is great for hot climates, but maybe not for Houdini horses that escape masks easily. This mask comes in blue in Horse and Large Horse size.
These are only a few of the choices available at Horsetackco.com! Keeping your horse comfortable this summer is made much easier with a well fitted fly mask. It’s a small investment with a big pay off and a requirement for all the buggy areas of the U.S.! Don’t forget, when you shop at Horse Tack Co., use the promo code “LoveTheRide” to save 15% off your fly masks and the rest of your order anytime and all-the-time!