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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I think I'm going to move forward on the fly masks. I have two questions.

1. (a) How do you get the right size, and (b) how do you make sure it fits the horse? Teddy is a cob-sized horse with a small horse-sized head. He takes a horse size in some things and a cob size in others. Pony is a large Pony with a Pony-shaped head (short, wide on top, narrow on bottom). Pony wears a pony size in some things and a cob size in others. Once I've bought it, what do I need to check for fit? Where are the crucial fit points, and how should it fit there?

2. How do you wash fly masks? Someone from the barn was cleaning out the shed and gave me some random fly masks. They are absolutely filthy. Can they go in the washing machine?

Bonus question: this same lady was recommending something to flush out their eyes. She couldn't remember what it was called but said it was a blue gel. Does anyone know what this is? She told me their eyes were runny because the flies were laying eggs in there, so I needed to rinse their eyes.
 

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Fly masks are easy to fit. Basically you want it snug enough around the head to not pull off, but not so tight that it rubs or the horse can't chew. They typically have a lot of leeway for fit, but I'd say go with a horse size and a cob. Get them through Smartpak - they have free returns/exchanges on any sized item like that. I'd always rather them a tad big than too small. They don't have to be locked down tight, just snug. They should fit basically just tighter than a throat latch on a bridle.

I wash everything except my Back on Track brand things and show fly bonnets in hot water with regular detergent. I've yet to have a fly mask fall apart from that. We dry our fly masks in the dryer too. If they're caked with mud spray them off first them just throw them in the wash. Easy peasy.

I wouldn't flush the eye with anything but saline, and most horses won't let you do that. Are they eyes compromised at all? If not, they're fine. Their eyes are runny because they're irritated from stuff getting in them. It's like when we have an eyelash stuck in there, we get weepy because it's the body's natural defense trying to get the foreign object out!
 

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My horse has officially disqualified himself from getting fly masks - every summer, I will replace his fly mask once. If he insists on continuing to destroy it or letting others destroy it, I stop replacing it. After he stopped getting a fly mask, I noticed a whole lot less missing hair and scratches on his face from him trying to get it off.

However, one preference of mine I did notice this last summer with fly masks is that when horses have bigger, longer ears, fly mask fit can become very "meh". My horse has big ears, and his ears wore holes in the top of the ear coverings. This may be why he opted to begin destroying them, but any bigger fly mask would just not fit his tiny head. If I were to get him a fly mask again, I think I would opt for an earless fly mask, and apply Vaseline inside instead. Vaseline does wonders for the little flies that like to latch on inside the ear.

Just something to keep in mind if any of your horses have massive ears like my guy does.
 
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1. My horses have never tried to rub off a fly mask without ears. NONE of them liked masks with ears.

2. Ditto do NOT put anything in your horses eyes except saline solution. And Iwouldnt do that unless you see something foreign that needs washed out.

3. I wash my fly masks after every wearing in the washer. Slowest spin cycle. Slowest amount of time the timer offers 4-6 minutes on my washer.

I use somewhere around a tsp to a TBS of laundry soap.

I do not dry mine, I have several days worth for each horse and hang them on hangars in the laundry area until I need them.

3.1 For those masks that have been laying around since who knows when, I would stick those in the washer for a full cycle. If they fall apart- oh well, you didn’t buy them anyway. And they may be rotted enough from laying around that they do fall apart
:)

4. I have Farnum fly masks. Not only do they offer 60% UV protection, they are double velcroed so a “friend” can’t chew it off. I put them on so that I can easily run three fingers down the side of the cheek. Fingers should not “fall” down the cheek but should slide easily while feeling the mask on one side, the horse’s face on the other.

5. I’m no help fitting a Cob head. Unless someone does make Cob size, I might look at horse size masks that have a long Velcro attachment tab and make the adjustment there.

5.1 Also look at Arab size masks but that’s a question mark, lol
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Turns out my daughter wants one for Moonshine, too. Moonshine is a smaller-average sized horse with an average sized head. So I think I'm going to find a brand I want, and buy a horse size. It should fit either Moonshine or Teddy. If it fits both, I will buy another one of the same size for Teddy, and a cob size for Pony. If it's too big for Teddy, I'll buy another in cob size. See if it fits both Teddy and Pony. If it does, I'll order another cob size for Pony. If it doesn't I'll order a pony size for Pony.

Thanks @Interstellar and @walkinthewalk for help on fitting it to them.

I would love any other thoughts.
 

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So I think I'm going to find a brand I want, and buy a horse size.
Just be prepared that you may have to go through some trial and error of which mask fits best for which horse...
I tried a few (thanks to friends who let me borrow theirs for trying on) and Raya made it clear that she prefers the Cashel ones. They are also the ones that provide enough UV protection to prevent frying her pink nose...

Size-wise an Arab size fits better, but a horse size will work as well in a pinch.

Doesn't mean once in a while she doesn't try to take it off :wink: Even though I am convinced this time she was trying to get her grazing muzzle off :rofl:
 

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THAT ^^^^^ is too funny, lollollol

And Rays didn’t do that either- someone else pulled that off her face, lollollol
 
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My horses destroy the Farnum masks in minutes and they rub the Cashels off.
Due to Hooeys cancer he wore a mask 24/7 and for the last several months of his life. The Kensington UV masks is what bought for him. It was the only thing that would stay on. Plus it blocks 90% UV light.
This link to Riding Warehouse also provides a measuring guide if you decide to try a Kensington. They have cheaper models if you dont need that much UV protection.
https://www.ridingwarehouse.com/Ken...rE1fAvFpeB3JiIJkO_RSH9W2v7m6P5-0aAkMyEALw_wcB

I throw mine in the washer to clean them then hang to dry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My horses destroy the Farnum masks in minutes and they rub the Cashels off.
Due to Hooeys cancer he wore a mask 24/7 and for the last several months of his life. The Kensington UV masks is what bought for him. It was the only thing that would stay on. Plus it blocks 90% UV light.
This link to Riding Warehouse also provides a measuring guide if you decide to try a Kensington. They have cheaper models if you dont need that much UV protection.
I throw mine in the washer to clean them then hang to dry.
Actually Teddy has a pink nose and also has a type of eye that has been linked to cancer of the eye. So I might just get that one for him. Thanks!
 

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Actually Teddy has a pink nose and also has a type of eye that has been linked to cancer of the eye. So I might just get that one for him. Thanks!
You bet!
Another option if you're worried about UV's
https://www.equinesunvisor.com/esvmaxx.aspx


I ordered one for Hooey when he had his third eyelid removed. It is a very tough mask, well built and the people are great to deal with.
Unfortunately I measured incorrectly and ended up with a mask that was big so he easily found how to get it rubbed off or he had "help". *Stilts* LOL
They have a lot of size options and could even custom make one if need be.
 

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The stretchy lycra fly masks are pretty awesome and you'll have more leeway in terms of fit because of the stretchiness. I got some pretty cheap ones and they are started to show wear, but they were so cheap, I don't mind replacing them. I get the ones with ears because the flies will drive my horses crazy if I don't. Also, I look for ones with a zipper underneath because few horses will tolerate you pulling them over their noses. I've even ridden in them. The netting over the eyes is much easier to see through. Like these: https://www.amazon.com/Professional...ds=fly+masks+for+horses&qid=1588027601&sr=8-2

Harley needs a nose piece to protect his delicate pink nose so he gets this one: https://www.amazon.com/Cashel-Crusa...ds=fly+masks+for+horses&qid=1588027601&sr=8-3

But that Cashel mask is easier to remove, he can't see out of it very well (I've tried putting it over my own head to see), especially if there's any amount of dirt on it, and there always is because he loves rubbing his face in dirt, trying to remove it.

I usually hose them down, and throw them in the washing machine on delicate every once in a while. Or I dunk them in a bucket of soapy water and hang to dry in the barn overnight.
 

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Each brand that I'm aware of does offer a size chart, so you can get a good idea of what size to buy before ordering. You usually measure from the throatlatch around behind the ears, and around the nose where the bottom of the mask would sit. Here's the link for Shires:
https://www.equus.co.uk/pages/shires-equestrian-size-guide#FlyMasks
And I found a chart for Cashel at Smartpak:
https://www.smartpakequine.com/pt/crusader-fly-mask--standard--with-ears--11540

I assume other brands would have similar online.

The Cashels as well as several other brands have long-nosed variations to protect pink noses from the sun. I haven't used them but I've seen them when shopping for what I needed. My sister uses Cashels for her horses, and my husband uses Cashels for his horse and llamas (mule foal size, with ears reduced by 1/3); I got a Shires (because it was what the shop I was at had) and decided I actually like it better because it has two velcros under the jaw so protects that area better. But my husband and I have an unusual situation: we're protecting against black flies, that stick around all summer in our valley, and crawl into the ears and to a lesser extent under the jaw. There are some stable flies to keep out of their eyes, but that's secondary to ear protection.
 

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A note about long nosed masks - they are much easier for horses to get off in my experience. They can step on the nose extension and pull them off pretty easy. I'd rather do a little sunscreen on the nose and have a regular fly mask. I have lost 100% of the fly masks with long noses that I have put on horses.

The lycra stretch ones will rip and be done way sooner than the regular stiff mesh ones. They'll also absorb more sweat from the skin and get gunky and hold the yuck to the skin longer instead of drying and allowing air flow. Just from my personal experience with years of fly masks.
 

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Thanks @Interstellar and @Acadianartist for the feedback on the lycra masks - I've been wondering about them. They do look like they might be even better than the Shires at protecting the area under the jaw from munching black flies - if I notice that starting to be a problem.
 

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If you’re looking for a fabulous fly mask the best one out there is made by Rambo! You don’t need a halter with it and it doesn’t ever rub in the horses eyes. I’ve had mine for a few years now and it’s absolutely fabulous. My horse is a thoroughbred but I buy her a cobb size.
 

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If you’re looking for a fabulous fly mask the best one out there is made by Rambo! You don’t need a halter with it and it doesn’t ever rub in the horses eyes. I’ve had mine for a few years now and it’s absolutely fabulous. My horse is a thoroughbred but I buy her a cobb size.
If a fly mask is rubbing your horse in the eyes, it is way too small for them. I have never had an issue with any brand of mask hitting a horse in the eyes... ever.
 

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Coming in late to the party on this post. We have 4 horses - all wear masks at least 12 hours a day in the summer. All 4 have different masks. One of our mares loves the Lycra masks - I think because she hates the Velcro on the others. She will shove her nose in and I pull it up over her ears. hers came from Chicks Saddlery about $11 each and since she is my daughters horse she has many different colors.

My mare is black and the flies seem to love her face. I assume because she sweats a lot in the summer. She wears a Cashel quiet ride mask - and we have a few of those so they can be washed and some to wear on the trail.

Our lead mare wears a Kensington mask - a little harder to see through but almost indestructible. And she loves to rub her head on the ground, on trees, on the other horses.

And finally our older mare wears some cheap off brand nothing special as she is lowest on the totem pole so her mask stays pretty clean.

All of our masks have ears. They help keep the gnats out and stop the crunchies from developing inside the ear
 
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