Last Updated on January 22, 2023
If you ever drive past horses in a pasture during summer, it is likely you will see them wearing masks. These masks are generally made up of a mesh material and cover most of a horse’s face. You may wonder, why do horses wear horse fly mask?
You may also see horses wearing different types of masks when they are being ridden or driven. Horses wear masks that serve different purposes.
What is the Purpose of a Horse Wearing a Mask?
There can be several different reasons why horses wear masks. The most common type of mask you will see a horse wearing is a fly mask. You may also see horses wearing a type of mask called horse blinders while they are being ridden or driven.
Horse Fly Mask
Fly masks are used to protect horses’ face, ears, and eyes from flies. Horses often wear them in spring and summer, when flies are the worst. Also, fly masks work as a barrier between the horse and flies to keep the horse from getting irritating bites.
Fly masks are a safe and easy way to protect a horse’s face, ears, and eyes from flies and other bugs. Fly sprays can be harmful to horses if it is ingested or if it gets in their eyes, so it is best to keep it away from their face and rely on fly masks instead.
Horse Fly Mask Features
Fly masks for horses generally are made of mesh that is finely woven together and they sometimes have a soft fleece lining to provide comfort for the horse. Though it may appear that a horse wouldn’t be able to see while wearing a fly mask, they can see just fine. The fly mask is designed to provide protection while still allowing a horse to see.
Fly mask can come with or without ear protection that completely covers the ears. This protects the ears from pesky bugs getting in. However, some horses do not like having things on their ears, so they do not like wearing fly masks with ear covers.
Purpose of a Fly Mask
In addition to providing protection from flies, some horse fly mask also provides UV protection from the sun. Light-colored horses are more prone to sunburn and skin cancer, so a fly mask with UV protection is very beneficial, as the sun’s rays can be harmful to horses.
If a horse has a cut on its face, it is important to treat it and then put a fly mask on your horse before they go outside. Flies are attracted to cuts and wounds, so it is necessary to keep any injuries covered up to prevent your horse from getting bothered by flies or getting an infection.
Fly masks are also great for protecting against gnats, mosquitos, and ticks too. Horses that are in pasture with long grass are more prone to getting ticks. A fly mask can stop pesky ticks from latching on to a horse, as they like to burrow in horse’s forelocks.
A horse generally just wear fly masks when they are outside in the pasture. Sometimes people will put a fly mask on their horse when they are being ridden or driven outside. A fly mask can also be used if a horse is recovering from a face or eye injury, as it will help protect the injury from further damage and help it heal.
It is important to make sure you get the proper size fly mask for your horse. Sizes range from mini to draft, so you can get the right size for your horse. It is essential to have the correct size fly mask so your horse doesn’t accidentally take it off while rubbing its head or so it doesn’t get caught on something.
Horse Blinkers or Horse Blinders
Blinkers, also known as blinker hoods or blinders, are a form of masks that are used to partially or fully cover a horse’s eyes. They can be used for training purposes or to help a horse recovering from an eye injury. The most common time you will see blinkers is on racehorses.
Blinders for horses are often used in races or during training. They prevent the horse from seeing to the rear and sometimes the side. This allows the horses to focus on their work and not get distracted or spooked from things around it.
Racehorses wear blinkers to allow them to focus on racing and what their jockey is telling them. A racecourse is full of distractions such as people and loud noises, that could easily spook or distract a horse.
Both riding and driving horses can wear blinders. It is common for trainers to put horses in blinders while they are working horses to help them stay focused and prevent them from getting distracted.
Driving horses have blinkers attached to their bridles. This helps prevent them from getting sidetracked from any people, vehicles, animals or other distractions they may come across while driving. Not only is this safer for the horse, but also the driver, as it can prevent the horse from getting spooked, which could lead to an accident.
Blinders come in blind cup, full/half cup, three-fourths cup, and quarter cups. Blind cup blinders are commonly used to help heal eye injuries. Some eye injuries cannot be exposed to direct light, so blind cup blinkers can help in the healing process.
Blind cup blinders can also be used by experienced trainers while riding in some circumstances when training. This allows the horse to only pay attention to what the trainer is doing.
Helpful Horse Blinders
When some people see fly masks or blinkers, they often assume that the horse cannot see out of them and that they are cruel to the horse. However, it is quite the opposite. Fly masks can protect a horse from annoying bugs and a blinker hood can help them from getting distracted.
Though it may look weird to non-equestrians, fly masks and blinkers provide many benefits to a horse. They do not blind the horse or hurt them in any way. Horses may look goofy wearing them, but there is no need to worry.
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Michael Dehaan is a passionate horse owner, horse rider, and lover of all things equine. He has been around horses since he was a child, and has grown to become an expert in the field. He has owned and ridden a variety of horses of different breeds, and has trained many to compete in shows and competitions. He is an experienced horseman, having worked with and competed many horses, including his own. He is an active member of the equestrian community, participating in events and teaching riding lessons.