Although buying a fly mask for your horse probably seems like an easy task, there are many different options to consider when doing so. Making sure your horse is comfortable in his fly mask is necessary, otherwise it will defeat the purpose of keeping away those annoying pests and cause another annoyance for your horse.
When considering all the different fly masks, take into consideration that this is a mask that your horse will wear for hours on end while turned out so comfort is key. A lot of fly masks are designed to come across over the top of the muzzle. Making sure your fly mask has a soft material, such as fleece, around all the edges is ideal so that it does not give your horse a sore while rubbing across it all day.
Another thing to consider is your horse’s long eye lashes. Have you ever worn glasses that are too close to your eyes causing your eye lashes to rub on the lenses? It is extremely annoying, and I can only imagine that is what it’s like for horses when they don’t have a fly mask that holds its shape. There have been many times when bringing horses in from turn out that their lashes are poking through the mesh. Simply making sure that the mask you purchase advertises that it “holds its shape” will save your horse from this issue. Another way to prevent this is to purchase a new fly mask every time you notice that it is getting worn out and flimsy. They can only hold their shape for so long as the mesh does tend to wear so purchasing a new mask for your horse every summer or every other summer might not be a bad idea.
Size is another important subject to take into consideration. Although a lot of companies don’t offer small, medium or large as their size options for fly masks, choosing the option that best describes your horse is best. Trying it on before taking the tags off or throwing away any packaging is highly recommended. A fantastic equestrian company out there is SmartPak®. They seem to have great prices and offer free returns on all their products so if it is not a good fit for your horse, then return it at no cost to you and purchase another size that is more comfortable for your horse!
Making sure your fly mask has a hole for the forelock to come through also seems to help keep the mask in place. This will allow for the mask to have less of a chance of twisting and make it that much more comfortable for your horse while he’s rolling around and grazing during turn out.
Another great advantage of using a fly mask is to provide UV protection. In a sense, it is like sunglasses for your horse as it provides a little bit of shade for their eyes. It also provides protection for a majority of his face as to help prevent dry skin and sun damage. There are many fly masks out there that extend all the way down to the end of the nose as well, and if your horse lives outside, this is recommended to help protect his entire face against the sun.
For the typical horse that lives indoors but spends quite a bit of time outdoors for turn out, these are three great fly masks to consider: the “Crusader™ Fly Mask – Standard – With Ears” from SmartPak®, the “Cashel Crusader Fly Mask With Ears” from State Line Tack®, and the “Shires Fine Mesh Fly Mask With Ears” from Amazon. All three of these masks have great reviews and are fantastic options to consider when purchasing a fly mask for your horse. Providing a comfortable mask for your horse to keep the flies off his sensitive face will allow for an even more enjoyable summer outside.