What fly mask does my horse need?
A fly mask is used to keep flies, midges, and other biting insects at bay during the summer months when they are out in abundance.
Horses find flies irritating both mentally and physically and will become distressed if constantly bothered by them. However, choosing the right fly mask is not always an easy task.
Many horse owners face confusion when choosing an appropriate mask for their horse due to the overwhelming range of fly masks available. Developments in new technology and better understanding of horse behaviour has led to innovations in fly mask design.
As a standard, all fly masks should offer eye protection to stop them weeping and becoming irritated by flies, or worse, infected.
This guide will take you through some of the most common additional features found with fly masks to help you make an informed decision on the right mask for your horse.
Ears are the most common feature found on a fly mask. They protect the ears from flies entering and biting them, which can become very uncomfortable for your horse.
A fly mask with ears and nose is often referred to as full face coverage. Not only will it protect the eyes and ears, but the muzzle area too. This is a popular choice for horses with light/pink skin as the nose shield will offer protection against the sun and prevent sunburn.
Horses with sensitive ears may find a fly mask with ears uncomfortable and be more likely to rub when wearing. A mask without ears provides protection to the eyes but leaves the ears free. Ponies with thick forelocks may find a no ears style offers a better fit.
A fly mask made with fine mesh will keep out even the smallest of midges. This is particularly important if your horse suffers from sweet itch. View the WeatherBeeta ComFiTec Fine Mesh Mask range here.
Fly masks made from a stretch material, such as nylon, are another great choice for sweet itch sufferers as they offer a close fit to the horse’s face to keep out all insects. These fly masks can be harder for a horse to remove – ideal for a fly mask Houdini!
It’s not just flies which cause harm in the summer, UV rays can be damaging to horses, particularly those with light coloured skin. Different fly masks will offer some level of UV protection. The higher the percentage, the more UV protection the mask provides. All WeatherBeeta Fly Masks offer 60% or more UV protection.
If your horse is prone to rubbing, look out for styles with fleece padding across the poll and nose. This will be more comfortable for your horse and prevent rubbing.
If your horse likes to wreck his fly mask, look out for a style made with durable mesh. This is a stronger mesh than standard, which will last longer than the average fly mask. View the WeatherBeeta ComFiTec Durable Mesh Mask range here.
Choose a mask that features eye darts in the mesh. These ensure good clearance across the eyes for unobstructed vision.
If your horse doesn’t get on with a traditional fly mask, perhaps because he is overly sweaty or finds it uncomfortable, try a fly fringe. This is a tasselled band, which can attach to a headcollar in the field or the browband when riding, to keep flies away from your horse’s eyes.
Most fly masks available will have a combination of these features. Choose a mask that is most suitable for your horse, remember they are all individuals with different requirements.
If you need any further assistance when choosing a fly mask, please contact our customer service team who will be happy to help.