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As a horse owner and as someone who loves to spend time around the stables, I can honestly say I hate flies. I don't like houseflies, horse flies, or gnats. However, the problem many horse owners run into is that flies not only are a nuisance but they also bite, which can lead to potential health issues. Did you know there are many diseases carried by biting insects such as flies? Clearly protecting your horses from fly bites is the best way to guarantee you are keeping them safe.
While not every single fly carries a life-threatening disease, they still present other problems. For example, bites from horseflies can be painful, while some species cause dangerous summer sores in wounds. Horses can develop an allergic skin condition from being bit; fly bite allergies are the most common skin disease found in horses. It is important your take every precaution you can to prevent flies from becoming a problem in the first place. Providing your animals with adequate protection from biting insects is an often an overlooked aspect of horse care. Fortunately, there are horse fly masks.
There are a few things you should understand about fly masks for horses before purchasing one:
- Horse masks should fit perfectly on the horse's head. Too tight or too loose are both problems in fly mask fitment. Either can cause irritations and do more harm than good.
- It is also important that the mask does not cover or obstruct the eyes. Test to see if horse can blink freely through the mask; if it can, the mask is a good fit. Masks that fit improperly obstruct the horse’s vision which can then lead to other, bigger problems.
- Some horse fly masks have eye coverings made from mesh fabric. For these types of fly masks, the mesh holes should be small enough to prevent small flies and insects from getting in but still provide ample visibility to the horse.
- Check that the ear coverings fit properly; they should provide space for the horse’s ears to flip and move without any type of hindrance or obstruction. The space in the ear coverings also inhibits skin irritation from occurring due to rubbing.
Finally, get a fly mask with a muzzle that goes below the cheekbone. These types of masks offer a wider range of protection than short muzzle masks; fly masks with an elastic muzzle are especially helpful. The elastic allows for easier and quicker fitting and dressing, while also allowing the horse to move its jaw more fluidly and effortlessly.