Types of Horse Fly Mask
Full Face Masks
These might seem a bit extensive and odd to look at, but full face masks are vital if your steed is suffering from bites and insect attacks from their ears all the way down to their muzzle. These are the best option for super sensitive horses, as they ensure every area is protected.
Eared Or Earless
Most masks either do or don’t feature ear coverings. These coverings are much softer and malleable than the main mask material giving horse’s plenty of movement, while still forming a protective barrier. If your horse rarely suffers bites to the ears though, an earless mask will do just fine
Nose Protective Masks
It’s rarer for horses to suffer bites on the muzzle, but not outside the realms of possibility. Mostly though, nose protective masks are to help offer a bit more sun protection to horses with pink or white noses which are more susceptible to sunburn.
Features To Consider
If you find your horse is still getting bitten despite them donning a brand new mask, it’s likely that they are suffering from midge bites, as they are small enough to squeeze through standard materials. However, mesh designs will prevent midges from getting through.
Not only does padding prevent a mask from rubbing and irritating a horse’s face, but also prevents smaller flies from getting inside the mask. The downside is this can make things a little hotter and so it can cause sweating around the ears and nose.
Masks that provide UV protection are great for preventing sunburn on particularly sunny days, so they are a good choice for horses who are sensitive to the sun.
Sculpted masks feature a band within the mask to hold it slightly away from a horse’s face. This can be more comforting for steed’s who find standard masks irritating.
Other Important Things To Consider
Naturally, getting the right size of mask is important if you want it to successfully repel flies and be comfortable for your horse.
A fly mask should be a snug fit which allows two fingers of space between face and material. There should also be few gaps at the poll or around the nose, as this makes it easy for flies to get inside and also simple for horses to lose or pull off their mask. This can be prevented by purchasing masks with stretch seams or velcro chin straps.
Vision & Eye Comfort
Although fly masks are designed to allow horses to see through them, it’s obviously difficult if the mask you buy is right up against their eye, causing rubbing, irritation or even damage. Try and choose a model which offers some structure over the eye area to prevent this.
Material is obviously very important as it can have an impact on comfort, fit and even effectiveness at repelling flies. Mesh materials improve vision and midge protection, however, if this is too thick it may cause sweating and discomfort. Fleece linings can help prevent rubbing, but if this is synthetic it can also cause sweating and rubbing. Try and find a balance where the mask repels flies without being thick and heavy.
Believe it or not colour can actually have an effect on how successful a horse fly mask is.
As they are primarily going to be used in the summer, it’s wise to choose colours which reflect heat rather than absorb it. This means white and pale coloured masks are probably a wiser choice than black and dark ones. Although just like sunglasses, black masks can provide better shade for the eyes from sunlight.
Remember though that keeping cool is a secondary requirement for horse fly masks and that protection and comfort should always be your first thought!
Ease Of Use
Remember that your horse doesn’t actually possess the ability to put their own mask on! That means it’s important to make sure it’s simple for you to work out any straps or securing fasteners. That way removing it and putting it back on is not an issue!