I love the ones with both the ears and long nose. In VA this year, the small flies are particularly awful, and I just can't keep enough Swat in their ears. Without the ear pieces on the masks, their ears would be raw.
They do tend to rub the earpieces out sooner. I've been know to sew them, put two masks on together and all sorts of creative solutions.
I haven't clipped ears this year, mostly out of laziness, but I think ear hair is *greatly* overestimated as a natural defense, I think the ears get just as raw, but that handlers don't see it as quickly because of the hair.
I do not ride in fly masks, I switch to the crocheted fly nets. I've had the same ones *forever*; the color fades but they hold up just fine. Essential in my part of VA if you don't want the poor horse head tossing or bleeding by the end of the ride.
If your bridle fits over the fly mask properly, I don't see any reason why you couldn't ride in one.
Last edited by maura; 06-16-2011 at 07:30 AM.