Part I – Flies
Whilst it is lovely to be basking in glorious sunshine and I would certainly NEVER complain about it! – it does bring certain stresses into caring for horses, whether they are in work or on holiday.
For the horse in work, the flies can be a complete nightmare. Trying to hack out on a thin skinned horse can be bad enough, but doing a dressage test with pesky flies intent on destroying your horses concentration can be a nightmare.
Fly spray, if regularly applied, is hugely useful, and we all, I’m sure, have our favorites. Even those horses averse to all things spraying seem to come to realize that you are only trying to help them and allow a generous application, although a word of caution about spraying around heads – I find spraying on to your hand and rubbing on to the forehead and forelock is the best method.
When out in the field for a couple of hours I think a fly rug is an essential piece of kit, not only keeping bugs at bay, but stops the sun bleaching hair and keeps coats looking competition ready! Masks are useful, I don’t use them on everything, but some horses seem to attract flies more than others, and I have one who is the fly magnet in the field- he may look like a martian, but it stops him marching round the field trying to rub on other horses bottoms and running the risk of being kicked!
When horses are holiday and out full time, their coats are greasier and a little thicker, giving them a little more resistance to the irritation of bugs and alleviating the need for fly rugs; and I think it is so much better for them to get close and personal with the mud pit when they are having a break!
However, if you find that your horse is being pestered, it may be worth investing in a fly tag. These handy little gadgets tie in to a mane with a band and exude fly repellent, they seem to work rather well. As well as these I use red top fly catchers, purchased on the internet and hung in trees, after a couple of weeks it will astound you the numbers that flock to their demise in these traps!
Enjoy the sunshine.