Bot flies while riding - and a ticklish mare...
Well I've 'searched' all over the forum and internet and find many things about the bot fly eggs but not how to manage them while riding... So, as usual, I'm back here at the 'new to horses' forum to get your sage advice.
My mare is so ticklish. She hates fly spray, and baths, and anything else that could be mistaken for a bug (Getting better - but no amount of work on this area seems to 'desensitize' her... it seems to truly be that she's sensitive).
Under Saddle: Bot Fly season is here - fly spray does nothing - we were pasture riding yesterday, and she was constantly kicking at her belly. Then, one started dive bombing her throatlatch area and she was tossing her head like crazy - so much that the reins actually got tossed over an ear once or twice. (She's not a head-tosser, and I don't think it's donned on her to do this as a defiance; she typically likes to get along). At one point I dismounted to try to swat the monster(s). She jumped when I touched under her chin... then when she realized it was me not a bug, she leaned her head into my hand so I could give the area a good scratch.
After that, she still was fighting them (and sometimes imagining them); I tried scolding her (how much tossing and belly kicking is too much, even when they are trying to defend themselves???), but that didn't work either. Even trotting didn't keep her mind off the bugs. Was annoying enough to cut the ride short (and I didn't want to take any chances on her getting totally fed up). She hasn't been like this all summer even with regular flies and horse flies... She HATES the bots though. My friend's horse isn't as bothered by them.
What should I do to give us both a more pleasant ride? anything she can wear that will protect her? eyes and ears don't seem to be a problem. Mainly neck and belly.
I'm a mid-lifer finally making time for horses... Having a blast, but there's soooo much to learn -