Livestock

4 best fly masks for your horses

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Warmer weather means that the bugs are out, and the one pest that our horses seem to hate the most are flies. On the worst days, there may be dozens buzzing around just one horse while out in the pasture. Luckily there are solutions — the most common being a fly mask, which will protect your horse’s face (and particularly the eyes) from these little critters. Fly masks are also great for keeping dust out of eyes or for protecting the face if you have some wooded areas of your pasture. So, which are the best fly masks?

We’ve tried several different brands to find the best fly masks for our equine companions — and these are the four that rose above the rest and that we like the most.

Farnam SuperMask II Horse Fly Mask

Farnam SuperMask II Horse Fly Mask

This one is a winner, in part because it’s always in stock at our local Tractor Supply store. It’s affordable and durable, and it’s easy to get our hands on it when we’ve misplaced a mask or one has gotten lost somewhere in the pasture. The horses find it comfortable, and the Double-Latch Closure keeps it in place for the long haul.

  • Protects eyes from insects
  • Won’t obstruct vision
  • Shields eyes from flying dust, dirt and debris
  • Horseproof Double-Latch Closure provides twice the staying power of other masks
  • Aids healing after eye injury
  • Provides maximum comfort with no rubbing or harsh abrasion

To see it with ears, click here.


Cashel Crusader Fly Mask, Long with Ears

Cashel Crusader Fly Mask, Long with Ears

Whether because of heavy fly activity, sun exposure, or wound-healing, if you need full coverage of your horse’s face, this is your best bet. Cashel’s mask extends farther down the nose than most masks, making this a good choice for many animals. It’s also got a particularly soft-coated nylon micromesh.

  • Patented three hole cap and double dart construction hold material well away from sensitive eyes, lashes and temples without damaging the forelock
  • Provides a more natural complete field of vision
  • Blocks up to 70% of the sun’s damaging UV rays, protecting horses from eye problems and sunburn
  • Long nose with ears has extra material on the nose which provides added insect protection and shields the sensitive nose from UV rays — a benefit for any horse, along with soft micromesh nylon sleeves to protect the ears


Kensington Fly Mask with Web Trim

Kensington Fly Mask with Web Trim

In a more upscale category, this is our favorite. The plaid design offers nice elegance to the mask, while, of course, not sacrificing the functionality of it. It’s constructed of Textilene, a PVC-coated polyester fabric with a 1000×2000 weave. It withstands fading, soiling, and wear and tear, and is mildew-resistant. Wearing this fly mask allows your horse full visibility with maximum protection to the facial and eye areas. 

  • Protects against 73% of harmful UV rays
  • Fire-resistant
  • Double eye darts prevent eye irritation
  • Double-locking throat latch to keep in place
  • Forelock opening
  • Highly breathable
  • Elastic throat strap for comfort
  • Durable web trim


Amigo Fly Mask with Ears

Amigo Fly Mask with Ears

Sometimes you simply stumble upon a really good product for a really good price. That’s what we have here with Amigo’s fly mask. It’s nothing fancy — it just works. The mask is made of PVC-coated polyester and holds its shape while reducing irritation from flies and reflecting sunlight. The fleece edging adds comfort and helps prevent rubbing.

  • Fleece edging
  • Velcro closure
  • Large soft-fitting ears
  • UV protection

While these are our favorite fly masks, please get whatever mask works best for your horse. Sizing and comfort for the individual animal are what matter most!


What are fly masks made out of?

There are two primary materials that you’re going to find on most fly masks: nylon, fleece, and Velcro. The mesh that makes up the bulk of the mask, which is breathable and easy for the horse to see out of, is going to be a super-fine and lightweight nylon mesh, like 350D, which is structured to sit away from the horse’s eyes. 

The edges of high-quality fly masks are often covered in fleece, which provides padding so that those seams don’t irritate a horse’s skin.

And while fly masks come in different sizes and you should make your choice accordingly, they also come with a lot of adjustment options, to tailor the fit to your animal. Velcro latches at the chin area will be used to offer your mare, stallion, or gelding a comfortable way to stay protected from flies.

Do I need a fly mask with ears?

Ear coverage on fly masks clearly adds further protection from biting insects such as flies, as well as another barrier against potential sunburn. Your need for ears on your fly mask will largely depend on the intensity of your fly problem. Typically, if your pasture or barn is near a standing body of water (like a pond) where fly pressures could be worse or in an area in which the ground simply doesn’t drain well, then you should consider a more full-coverage fly mask. Flies are likely to be more of a nuisance for your animals in those kinds of areas, and comfort for your horses should be your priority.

That said, under normal pasture situations, where a run-in shed or other shade is available to the horse as needed, fly masks with ears aren’t usually necessary.

 

Updated July 23, 2021: We updated this list by adding product and topical details and by examining our choices and affirming that these remained our favorites. 

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