Good Flymasks for Sensitive Eyes?
I'm looking ahead for a flymask for this year. Last year my mare developed sweet itch all over her body (we're thinking it's a side effect from West Nile, as her immune system has always been funky from that), and along with that came chronically runny eyes. I'm thinking she might be developing uveitis as well, as she seems overly sensitive to light over the last few months.
I'm looking for a mask that will NOT let any bugs in, will provide some protection from light, though hopefully without blocking vision, and can be left on for long periods of time in the heat. Sure be a fun search, right? :)
Any ideas? I've seen the Guardian masks or whatever they are, that have the flat eye sections for horses with eye problems, and they're not going to work for us. They don't cover enough area and the material rubs the face.
One of my favourite online trainers brought up a good point - if your fly mask is anything but dark (navy or black), it's going to amplify the light rather than diffuse it. I had a heck of a time finding dark masks, and when I did, I bought 3 or 4, lol!
Have you tried that brand that has the bulge where it rests across the eye? Looks sort of bug-eyed... I don't recall the brand.
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Maybe there's more on the market but this is the one I am familiar with:-)
My mare wears the rambo mask day and night year round. If anything bothers her eyes (flies, gnats, etc.) she rubs and we end up with an ulcer so.... I avoid the problem.
The rambo stands out well from the eyes and face. I like that. It won't collapse.
The only thing I don't like is that with the mask we can't use her small hole hay net as the mask gets stray bits of hay stuck in it from her having to push so close to get to the hay.
I'm not sure what you mean about the Guardian mask not working for you but I know it's spendy and that doesn't work for me! haha
If you think your mare has uvietis, you MUST get her a UV blocking flymask. Must. No ifs, ands, or buts. Must.
My mare has uvietis and was left untreated for years. Now she's living out her golden years as a mostly blind horse. She's happy but i wish her past owners had seen the signs, gotten her diagnosed, and helped her keep her vision.
This is a subject super close to my heart so hopefully I don't come off as harsh.
Cashel masks, the Guardian, and Kensington masks (I like the "Bug Eye" - that might be what Hemms is referencing: http://www.statelinetack.com/item/ke...FaUWMgodSFQAoA) are the masks on the market with UV protection.
Cashel and Kensington only have 70-something% UV protection and I've found that my girl will experience pain on the sunniest summer days if that's all she wears. They're fine for sunset/nighttime/morning/fall-winter but not for late spring and summer.
To deal with that, I made my own masks. I found UV blocking flymask material at a fabric store, deconstructed a flymask I didn't care about and liked the silhouette of as the pattern, and whipped out a couple flymasks. I was able to find 90% UV blocking "cloth" so these masks came out 90% UV blocking, which is only 10% or so less that The Guardian and for so much cheaper. Each of the masks I made probably cost $15 total.
So far they've been great. She's much more comfortable in them during the summer and her pain levels are dramatically decreased.
As far as seeing out of them, since they are really tightly woven mesh, that it not an issue. If you stick your head into one (I wondered too), it's darker - like you're wearing dark sunglasses, but you can still easily see. The coolest part is that the mesh is so tight that rain, mud, wind, etc, can't penetrate it so, since those things are triggers for some horses with ERU, all triggers=zapped.
Making a professional looking flymask was way easier than I thought. I was worried because you always see homemade flymasks that look......not great. However, I think that might be because they aren't using a good pattern or something because all of mine have come out fantastically!
I can post a picture if you would like. :)
here's a Kensngton, just for reference. I redid the edging in blue fleece because I just detest that velour, or whatever, stuff these masks come with
Then, one of the masks I made. I made a gray one as well but she really prefers the black (she loves her flymasks and depending on how much she likes a particular mask, she'll make it easier or harder for me to get it on her).
WOW! That looks nice. Maybe you should start a small business making these for people.
^^^Ditto. That is way more talent than I possess:D
I only knew about the Guardian because I have not yet had the need to search in earnest for something like this.
Thanks for posting the Kensington fly mask pic.
My two metabolic horses are now light sensitive and so is my 27 yr old Arab.
So far, the Farnum masks work well - no runny eyes, no excessive matter but it's good to know there are options if I ever need them:-)
Fabulous work, Wallaby
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