Fly masks - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 07-18-2019, 09:32 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2017
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Fly masks

What are the advantages of having a fly mask? Do they just make it less annoying for the horse?

Are there any disadvantages? I’m in Florida where it’s very hot and humid, I feel like a mask would just add on and trap heat on them. Also if it rains and the moisture gets trapped under the mask will it promote the growth of fungus?

I’m not necessarily thinking about getting some but if there’s is an important reason why people use them it might be worth considering. Just curious. TIA
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post #2 of 24 Old 07-18-2019, 09:49 PM
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Fly masks do make the flys less irritating around horses eyes and ears. But it also depends on what kind you get, the kind that lots of people use that stand off the horses face allows flys to get in but not out, so they stay inside the fly mask and "bug" the horse.

This kind of fly mask - - make it so that the flys can't get in, I have one of these and love using it.

I hope this helps :)

Tears may get you sympathy, But sweat will get you results. > Clinton Anderson
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post #3 of 24 Old 07-18-2019, 09:52 PM
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Fly masks protect particularly sensitive areas of the horse's head: eyes and ears. Those areas tend to be more difficult to protect with fly spray. I bought a Quiet Ride fly mask for Hamlet, specifically for trails, and a week later I bought one for my "rental" Everest as well. Best decision in terms of preventing the horse from going bonkers with shaking off pestering flies on the trail. (Whoever lands on their neck is within easy reach of my hands...tough cookies for those.)

I do agree that frequent rainfalls make fly masks a lot less advantageous as I can't imagine a soggy fly mask is a vast improvement over flies. In that case, keeping their faces as clean as possible, especially around the eyes, and rubbing their ears and muzzle with fly repellant (don't spray) is the next best thing.

When the weather is dry, however, they are too meshy and small to trap an uncomfortable amount of heat. Maybe you were thinking of fly sheets here?
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post #4 of 24 Old 07-19-2019, 07:26 AM
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Ditto the previous posters. Like anything else we put on a horse they are NOT meant to be on 24/7, if the horse is on pasture board.

I am 200% in favor of horses wearing fly masks during turn out.

The fly masks I used claim to have 60% UV protection which is important for one of my horses. The flies don't get inside the masks! I don't use masks with ears because the horses won't keep them on. I clean their ears every day and put a light film of ointment in there to deter flies.

My horses come in at night with clean eyes, no stress from having to wipe their faces on their legs all day long, as the flies have not been gathering at the corners of their eyes to get the eye matter every horse has. Then the flies aggravate the eyes and pretty soon the eyes start running and so goes the all day continuing, unhealthy circle ---------

I wash fly masks after every wearing to keep them free of crud --- The horses each have extra masks. After a couple days, the dirty masks go in the washer on slow with ~tsp of laundry soap and get washed for the least amount of minutes on the washer timer.

Regarding being in the rain with the masks on: My horses have been in frog strangling rain many times with their fly masks on and it has never been an issue. Fly masks actually served them well 6-7 weeks back when we had a quarter-sized hail storm and I couldn't get the horses in. It still cost me a vet bill for one horse but at least his face & eyes were safe -----

A Good Horseman Doesn't Have To Tell Anyone; The Horse Already Knows.

I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.
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post #5 of 24 Old 07-19-2019, 08:07 AM
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If your horse won't rub them off, they protect the ears/eyes very well. But, I have tried every brand on the market and my horses will not keep them on! So I have gone to putting Swat on their ears and around their eyes.
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post #6 of 24 Old 07-19-2019, 08:27 AM
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Keeps flies out of they eyes and ears if they have ears on the masks. Flies can cause aural plaques and bloody bites in the ears. Also good for sensitive eyes and sunburnings. Can keep stuff out of the eyes in strong winds and storms.

I've always had trouble with them, probably because my horses head is big but narrow so many don't fit well. My old masks all collapse around the eyes so I don't use them anymore.

I've never noticed any change in rain or on the dark.
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post #7 of 24 Old 07-19-2019, 09:29 AM
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My horse is on pasture 24/7 & she ALWAYS has her fly mask on, except when I work her/ride her of course, or sometimes if it rains but it's been left on when it rains with no issues. It doesn't seem to bother her at all. She's super sensitive to flies. I also have fly boots for her.

It helps a ton, I do have the one without the 'ears' but I put swat on her ears & it seems to give her extra protection. :) I do have an extra in case she gets the other one muddy so I can wash it, because sometimes she rolls and it gets muddy.
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post #8 of 24 Old 07-19-2019, 09:58 AM
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I have 4 horses and they all wear fly masks with ears every day. We have had an exceptionally wet spring and the gnats/midges were horrible. I have fly masks with very small holes (like the Cashel Quiet Ride masks) this has helped our horses immensely. It is now sweltering hot here in NW IL (think low 90's with high humidity and heat values in the 100's) and my horses come up to me wanting fly masks on. Fly spray never works long term - especially when it is hot and humid and they sweat just standing in the field. The masks ensure some comfort for them and some UV protection.

FWIW I use SWAT or Midge Magic on their chests and by their udders where the gnats and flies like to chew bloody spots on the horses.
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post #9 of 24 Old 07-19-2019, 09:59 AM
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Yea... fly masks also trap heat underneath down here don't care what brand you use.
Do they work to keep flies off the eyes, sure.
Do some horses have physical reactions to heat trapped, yup.
Some horses will not tolerate their face covered and some horses will pester and rip another horses face mask off if given the chance.

Instead of mask if you are considering something consider this...

With or without ears and you don't have to have a halter on either to use. They attach with Velcro straps.
I have masks with and without ears for my horses used when trail riding...neighbor has fly veils and they work as well. We have used each others when we forget ours at home.
I prefer the veils with ears when I forget my masks as I like the length of fringes better and amount of fringes seem to chase off the flies very easily.
Only real benefit of veil over face mask is the face can easily breathe, maybe...
These came from this site in link below but everyone has these in variations..
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post #10 of 24 Old 07-19-2019, 10:48 AM
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I'm in N Texas and opt not to use fly masks when it's over 95F or extremely humid, because they do make my horses too sweaty. If they're itching from sweat, it's no better than itching at flies. I do like how their eyes stay clear when using the masks, no crusty eye crud streaks running down their faces, so I know they are helping.

Manna Pro's Pro Force mask is my absolute favorite for my average sized QH - it holds it's shape better than any other mask I've used over the years. Cashel Crusader is the only Arab/Cob sized mask I've found for my dainty Arab and even it's far too large on her - but pony sizes just don't accommodate her prominent eyeballs.
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