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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?