Your Fly Mask Questions Answered

As the days start to get longer and hotter all horse owners know that our furry friends will begin to be burdened by insects of all kinds. Blackflies, horse flies, and other pesky creatures will torment our horses in the barn, pasture, and ring. One of the places that is especially sensitive to irritation from bugs is the face. Many horse owners use Fly Masks to help protect their horses during the summer months. But is investing in a Fly Mask worth it? Read on to learn more about Fly Masks for horses and how they can benefit you and your horse.

What are fly masks for and why are they important?

A Fly Mask is a cover used mainly to protect horses face from insects. The face is arguably the most sensitive part of the horse's body and it can be hard to apply insect repellent near your horse’s eyes as you don’t want to risk irritating them. Flys are also much more attracted to the face because of the fluids in the eyes, nose, and this is why they often swarm around their heads. Fly Masks are a great way to protect your horse from these insects because they place a physical barrier between the horse's face and the insects. Fly Masks are often made of lightweight mesh material with semi-transparent eyeholes that your horse is able to see through.

When do you use a fly mask?

Fly Masks are most commonly used in the summer months when insects are out. However, Fly Masks can be beneficial any time of year since they are also used to help protect the horse's eyes from sun, dirt, or other debris.

What are the benefits of fly masks for horses?

Aside from the main benefit of protecting your horse from insects, Fly Masks can be used for many other purposes:

  • Protecting Eyes from Dust and Dirt: Some horses are very sensitive to dust and dirt that is in the air during a ride in a dusty arena or in a dry pasture. Fly Masks provide a great barrier to keep unwanted particles from getting into their eyes.
  • Protection from the Sun: Horses with white faces often get sunburnt if they stay outside in the sun without any kind of protection. Horses can also have sensitive eyes that need protection. Fly Masks for Horses with UV protection are great for protecting horses from the sun.
  • Covering Facial Injuries: Fly Masks can also be used as an extra cover to protect facial injuries. They can be placed over bandages to help prevent wounds from getting infected or dirty.

Can horses see through fly masks?

Yes, although the mesh over their eyes looks dark, they are still able to see through them. Though horses are able to see through Fly Masks they will still be able to see slightly better without them on. This will not matter when your horse is grazing in the pasture, but if you are doing a complex jump course it may be better to go without the Fly Mask or choose a Fly Mask designed for riding.

Do horses really need fly masks?

Depending on your geographic location and the climate of your area your horse may be fine without the protection of a Fly Mask. Fly Masks are most beneficial for horses living climates that experience humidity and high temperatures at some point in the year. They can also be helpful if you have a specific need like protection from the sun or eye protection. If this does not sound like it applies to you your horse may be ok without a Fly Mask.

Lycra Fly Masks for Horses

What are all the different types of fly masks for your horse?

  • Lycra Fly Masks: These are the best Fly Masks for horses who have sensitive skin as they are made of lightweight and breathable Lycra Material.
  • Mesh Fly Masks: These are the best for horses who may get too hot with a cover over their face. Mesh Fly Masks are made completely from mesh and they often come with lining on points that come in contact with the face. These have much more airflow than the other kinds of face masks.
  • Bug Eye Fly Masks: Bug Eye Masks are the best Fly Masks for horses who do not like material being close to their eyes. These masks have more mesh surrounding the horse's eyes. This provides more ventilation around the horse's eyes and makes it easier for them to see.
  • Fly Masks with UV Protection: Many Fly Masks also come with UV protection to keep the horse safe from the sun when they are being ridden or turned out.
  • Fly Masks with Ears Most Fly Masks come with sewn-on ear attachments since they are mainly used to protect from insects. Fly Masks for horses with ears are the most protective against bugs.
  • Fly Masks without Ears: Some Fly Masks do not have sewn on ear attachments. These are less effective against bugs, but they can be great for a horse who is affected by the sun and in a hotter climate.

How do you measure for a fly mask, so it fits your horse correctly?

To properly measure your horse for a Fly Mask follow these steps:

  1. Measure Nose Circumference: Start by locating the area on your horse's face where a standard cavesson noseband would sit (about 2 fingers below the cheekbone). With a flexible measuring tape, measure them all the way around their nose to get the circumference.
  2. Measure Throatlatch: Measure the circumference of your horse's throat area by measuring all around their throat starting at the poll going down and over the throat and back to the top of their poll.
  3. Measure from their Poll to their Nose: Measure the distance from their poll to the end of their nose.
  4. Additional Measurements: In addition to these measurements, take care to also take any product specific measurements of your horse's head to ensure that you will order the correct size.

When the mask is on your horse the end of the top portion of the mask should fall about 2 inches below the horse's cheekbone. In the throatlatch area, you should be able to fit about 2 fingers in between their throat and the fabric of the mask. The horses ear protectors should slip onto their ears and they should not sag or look tight. They should be loose enough for your horse to move their ears comfortably without displacing the rest of the mask. The eye protectors should not touch the horse's eyes at any point. To test this, move the mask around to make sure there is no angle that the mask could come in contact with the horse's eye. All other areas of the mask should fit snuggly and you should easily be able to slide a finger underneath all areas that come in contact with the horse's face.

How do you clean a fly mask?

Since Fly Masks are usually made from a study mesh material simply rinsing them with water is sufficient. If the mask has caked mud, consider washing it with non-scented soap and water. Allow the mask to airdry once it is clean and make sure to store it in a safe and dry environment.