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Why Do Horses Wear Fly Masks?

Seen a lot of horses in fields looking like the one above? No this horse isn’t blindfolded and he is not injured. He is simply wearing a fly mask.

A fly mask is a piece of gear used on horses heads to cover the eyes, jaw, and sometimes the ears and muzzle to protect them from flies and other biting insects. Fly masks can also provide UV protection to the face and eyes of a horse and there are even fly masks that are treated with insect-repellents.

Fly masks are semi-transparent and made from a mesh allowing a horse to see and hear while wearing it. Most masks are made of black or white mesh although some also have playful designs or patterns on them; these patterns and colors do not interfere with the horse’s vision. Fly masks are adjusted to cover the upper head and stop about halfway down the face, specialized placement of stitched darts prevents the mask from rubbing the eyes. Most have fleece padding around the muzzle and other sensitive areas. Fly masks can come with or without ear covers to protect the inside of the ears from biting insects. And there are makes made with extended noses as well to protect the muzzle from insects and offer sun protection.

Fly masks are designed to provide a horse comfort from insects and the bright sunlight of summer and most horses welcome their protection during the spring and summer.