Of Spaceships and Shrunken Heads

It’s almost mid-May, which means spring is pretty much over in Texas. Once we get past tomorrow, the entire 10 day forecast has temps in the low to mid 90’s. Welcome to summer. Around here, that means sweaty horses and stagnant air. Which in turn means that the fly and gnat population, which has really just been moderate thus far, is about to explode.

Don’t want flies on your face? Grow a mustang forelock. #protip

I buy fly spray by the gallon, pretty much all year long. I’m almost all the way through the first gallon that I bought a couple months ago, so I ordered more yesterday. I also realized it was probably time to replace Henry’s 4 year old fly mask, which was starting to get really worn and kinda pokey at the eyes, so he got a new one a couple weeks ago. Presto didn’t have a fly mask either, but I had bought one for him in my last Riding Warehouse order, guessing at his size.

For Henry I got the Rambo Plus fly mask, which I’m fairly certain might last him for the rest of his life. He’s turned out alone, so he’s pretty easy on his fly masks, and this thing is rugged. His old one was your cheap basic Cashel, which I thought worked fine for him. It always sat a little too close to his eyes for my taste though, especially when he’d rub his head (he is Mr. Allergies this time of year). So I opted this time for a design that holds the mask out well away from the eyes. It’s a good design idea, and it works. But he kinda looks like a walking spaceship.

“I am not amused” (please say this in a robotic 1950’s alien type of voice)

When I first put it on we all laughed and laughed and laughed at him. He looks absolutely ridiculous. The mask is so big. It definitely gets the job done though, the fabric sits several inches clear of his eyes. Starting this weekend he’ll be wearing it pretty much all the time, so I’ll review the Spaceship Mask at some point.

Presto is still growing super fast and his eyes don’t really jut out from his head quite like Henry’s do, so I opted to take the cheap route and bought him a Cashel. I had good luck with how long Henry’s had lasted, so I stuck with what I knew. Looking at their size options I figured surely the 15h baby warmblood would fit fine in the arab/cob size. I mean, that seems pretty typical. His dam wore cob size stuff as a yearling and 2yo. His leather halter is a cob (okay granted, it’s on it’s very tightest holes). His rope halter is arab sized, which actually fits him pretty perfectly with it’s smaller nose. He outgrew his “yearling” size rope halter at like 9 months old because of how long his head is.

Why do all of my horses wear their opinions on their faces? Side note – please note how we’re now fully clipped into crossties and it ain’t no thang.

But what I didn’t really take into account is just how narrow his head is and how little his jaw is. His head is long, sure, but it’s narrow. You can’t really tell from this angle, but the mask is huge around his jaw. It’s not even possible to make the velcro tight enough to where it’s anywhere near snug. I’m pretty sure that if he just shook his head, the whole thing would go flying. Not gonna work this year.

So yesterday as I was throwing fly spray and dewormer and salt blocks into my Riding Warehouse cart, I perused the flymasks and found that the Noble Outfitters small equates to yearling/large pony size and it was on sale. His head is just so much more TB-like than his dam’s was. I kind of forgot. He might be tall, but his head is comparatively little. So I tossed the teeny tiny Guardsman mask in the cart, and hopefully that’ll work. The design of it is sorta similar to the Rambo, just not nearly as extreme with how far out it stands away from the eyes.

okay he does have a little bitty nose

So now tiny-headed Presto has his own mini-spaceship mask coming. Can’t wait to see the look he gives me when I put that thing on him. I hope they understand that I do this out of love, not just to make them look hilariously dumb. That part is a bonus.

Image result for cackling gif

Last week my fly wipes arrived from EnviroEquine and I have to say, I think they’re working REALLY well so far. I’ve been wiping ears/faces/noses/legs with those and have definitely noticed way fewer flies on both boys. They’re especially great for Henry when we ride out in the fields – the head shaking is pretty much gone. The smell is a little funny, but as long as they work like this, I can live with it.

Headed into summer I have one more “care” issue I need to tackle – protecting Presto’s little white nose. He’ll only come inside during the heat of the day in the afternoon, so I’ll need to put something on his nose to keep it from getting sunburned the rest of the day. People with white nosed horses that live on the surface of the sun – what’s your favorite product for sun protection?

28 thoughts on “Of Spaceships and Shrunken Heads

  1. I can’t stop laughing at Spaceship Henry. It’s just too good.
    For sun protection, Coorina and her bald face always had to be in the full length Cashel fly mask (talk about looking ridiculous) or else her nose burned. Lucy gets away with baby sunscreen (as in, whatever I pick up at the store that’s safe for babies). Zinc oxide is toxic to dogs and I share sunscreen between animals, so I avoid anything with it, but it is safe for horses. I know a lot of Paint people just use straight diaper rash cream because it’s thicker and stays on.

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  2. A thin layer of Desitin topped with powder sunblock for horses (I think its called Pony Block or something). The Desitin has a really high zinc oxide rating, is thick and practically water proof – the powder sunblock takes away the stickiness and is actually pretty long lasting on its own. I would rather just use a long nose fly mask and forgo the chemicals, but my horse would rather not.

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  3. I lol’d a long time at Henry in that mask. Can’t wait to see Presto in his. Also, his forelock. OMG. It’s so amazing.

    While we don’t live on the surface of the sun per se, it does get pretty hot and sunny here in the summer. No matter how I try to protect them, every year my horses will get sunburnt the first couple weeks, but after that, they don’t have any more issues. No pinkness, no redness, no flakiness, nothing. Maybe they’re freaks, maybe it’s our milder-than-TX summers, but it seems to work out.

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    1. I think we have a UV rating that is basically off the charts all the time. I know last year Michelle had to put stuff on his nose because it got REALLY pink. Delicate creature, ya know? Thank god Henry doesn’t have any white… could you imagine…

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  4. I was going to say the long nosed Cashel would work….and whatcha gonna do with that cob leather halter when Presto outgrows it completely? Just saying 🙂

    I love Henry in his space man costume and totally have the robot voice in my head saying Danger, Danger Will Robinson….LOL

    Special snowflakes indeed.

    And the flies are already here in DE too. UGH too soon, too early!

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    1. The Guardsman has a removeable nose part, but the part of his nose that gets burned is on the very end, level with his nostrils. The mask won’t cover that.

      I don’t even know if that cob halter would fit Remus, it’s a pretty small cob. You’re welcome to it once it’s outgrown, though. 😉

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  5. Weird about your flies and gnats… ours are all dying off in the heat. Usually we have zero bugs in the summer months, but April and November are horrible bug months.

    RE sunscreen, I’d get him a fly mask with a long nose. They do get a bit gooky so you need to brush/hose/wash them regularly, but it’s way easier than trying to apply sunscreen to a snoot. And let’s be real, sunscreen rubs off quickly when it’s on a nose.

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    1. Last summer the gnats were SO BAD when I was riding in the morning. It was so still and so humid that time of day. We’d both be covered in little gnat bodies sometimes. Ugh. Our flies haven’t been bad yet, probably because we’re at the top of a hill and it’s been pretty windy. Once the wind stops, they’ll be everywhere.

      The new mask does have a long nose, but that won’t cover the part that always gets most pink on him. It’s too far down at the end of his nostrils. :/

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  6. I second the Desitin. And the long nosed masks. My mom’s horse wasn’t a fan of the Cashels, but she did find a Centaur long nosed mask that worked great.

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  7. I just slather Joey in human sunscreen. Though, like Liz said, I’ve only known him to burn once in spring, then not again all summer long. Maybe because his nose spent all it’s time buried in grass? 😉

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    1. Yeah I’ve been really impressed with them so far, performance wise! A little pricey but totally worth it, it’s way easier than trying to somehow get fly spray on the face adequately.

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  8. I use My Pet Sunblock on Tesla’s nose (https://www.mypetsunblock.com) since Princess Pony can’t stand the long nose flymasks (also they get gross). It works really well – you just generously powder it on with a little sponge. I apply it in the evening when I’m at the barn, and it really stays on really well – even with overnighnight wear it protects that day too – and keeps her nose from getting roasted to pink! It lasts forever, I’m on season 2 with the same tub.

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  9. I got my enviroequine shampoo yesterday, excited to give it a try. I am intrigued about the fly spray wipes because May HATES fly spray. It’s the one thing I havent been able to get her over.

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  10. I’d say Desitin because it’d be cheap but you can buy human sunblock without the oxybenzones in it and only the zinc or titanium oxide.

    Also, I can’t wait to get my wipes from Enviroequine! Poor Saffron the donkey hates sprays but she gets covered in bugs so I’m hoping this will be something she’s more tolerant toward. Good to know they’re repelling Texas bugs, hopefully they’ll repel Michigan ones!

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  11. I eyed those wipes because Katai has a thing against spray bottles. Glad to hear they seem to be working, I may need to try some!

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  12. I am a longtime Cashel user, though mine don’t last as long as yours did. For sunscreen, I just use regular baby sunscreen on Ax’s nose. It doesn’t really stay all day, but it does the job enough to prevent it burning.

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  13. We slather desitin on Pete’s pink nose all summer. He looks like a lifeguard from the 80s and has opinions about it, but he has yet to sunburn through it. Bonus it stays on through sweat and rain and I only have to apply it a few times a week. We begin about now through October here in SC. Our temps are int eh ow 90s this weekend too

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  14. I second My Pet Sunblock! A few years ago Armani ate something, likely clover, that caused photosensitivity and his socks were burning. I was so sick of zinc cream getting everywhere and staining things like his boots (since washing the socks too often results in mud fever/scratches). I discovered this product and will never look back! So much that I make it myself now. Goes on, stays on, and is even fairly water-resistant.

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  15. I’ve always used sport quality high SPF sunscreen. It tends to stick a bit longer and works really well. The water/sweat resistance is pretty good too.

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  16. Cashel cob/arab masks don’t fit my Polish Arab. They are way too big. I had better luck with Kennsington.

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