Embarking on this quest for the best fly masks for horses can be quite overwhelming.
Our number one priority when shopping for a fly mask is to shield our horse’s face from biting insects and provide as much UV protection as possible.
However, our horses won’t always make this an easy task for us. Understanding your horse’s personality type is a step in the right direction when it comes to choosing a fly mask. If you have a more temperamental horse it’ll definitely have an opinion on what and how much headgear it’s willing to tolerate.
Ultimately, it’s not going to be a one-size-fits-all situation. You might need to experiment to find a fly mask that provides both protection and comfort.
So, let’s start by identifying the reason your horse needs a fly mask by looking at the various purposes they serve. Then, I will discuss some of my favourite choices for fly masks for every kind of situation.
The Purpose Of Fly Masks
We already know that there are many reasons horses nod their heads: to show that they’re annoyed or being bothered by insects being just two of them. There’s no need for your horse to suffer. The best fly mask will bring instant relief to your sensitive horse.
Fly masks have many benefits for the well-being of your horse, such as:
- Sun protection
- Keeping flies away from your horse’s eye
- Preventing infections
- Protecting sensitive skin
- Keeping dirt and dust out of your horse’s eyes
The Best Fly Masks For Different Situations
Below I’ve got some excellent suggestions to help you protect your horse’s head.
1. Best for UV protection – The Harrison Howard CareMaster Pro Luminous Horse Fly Mask
You wouldn’t spend every day in the harmful sun without at least wearing a sun hat. Just like humans, horses need UV protection too! Especially those light-skinned ponies that can easily turn pink in the summer months.
- Maximum coverage, fly mask with ears and long nose.
- Blocks UV rays.
- Uses air-streaming fabrics for comfort and quick drying.
- Fine UV mesh is lifted at a safe distance over the horse’s eyes to prevent irritation and ensure good clearance.
- Soft fleece padding along the seams of the inner forehead and nose offers added comfort and minimises rubbing.
And the best part is, they’re also available in some gorgeous patterns and colours. There’s no reason your horse can’t be safe, comfortable, and stylish (even if it is only for your benefit).
2. Best for all-day wear – The Cashel® Cool Crusader™ Fly Mask
Even our energetic mares with their wild spirits aren’t always a match for those little monsters buzzing around their heads all day. For horses that are outside 24/7, you need a mask that’s comfortable, offers UV protection, and is pretty durable.
- Offers UV protection, and blocks up to 70% of UV rays.
- Fly mask with ears and standard nose coverage to protect against sunburn and pesky flies.
- Durable, lightweight, and comfortable fit.
- Fine mesh covers the ears and eyes.
- Third hole for forelock on the fly mask to prevent rubbing.
There is another wonderful option if your horses enjoy playing a little rough and a mask with excellent durability is essential. The WB ComFiTec Dura Mesh Mask is definitely worth checking out as well! It’s a slightly cheaper option and doesn’t include the forelock hole.
3. Best for sensitive skin – Kensington Signature Fly Mask
Light-coloured horses need extra protection against the harmful UV rays, but also something to keep those biting insects out of their faces. A best-selling fly mask with a detachable nose is a great purchase if you’re not sure how much coverage your horse is willing to tolerate but you still want to offer your it the best protection possible!
- Fly mask with soft mesh ears, preventing irritation.
- Has double darts.
- A removable nose.
- Woven mesh fabric that’s non-heat transferring, perfect for the summer months.
- Double locking system, so even a fly mask Houdini can’t get it off.
- 73% UV protection.
It ticks so many boxes, making it one of the best fly masks on the market. This does mean it’s a bit pricier than other fly masks, but we’re sure you can agree that your sensitive horse’s comfort is worth every penny.
4. Best for insect protection – The LeMieux® Armour Shield Pro Fly Mask
A fly mask with ears, a nose and fine mesh is ideal for keeping all insects out and away from your horse.
- Includes eye darts which increase the coverage from flies.
- Heavy-duty (yet fine) mesh is used to provide extra UV protection and keep insects out.
- Bamboo strips around the brow and nose add to the comfortable fit of the mask. It prevents rubbing and obstructed views.
- The breathable mesh around the ears provides protection against midgets and flies.
It’s a fly mask that you won’t regret splurging on.
5. Best for on a budget – The TGW RIDING Horse Fly Mask
With so many fly masks available you don’t have to spend a fortune to find the perfect one. Especially if you’re still testing out the new accessory to see how your horse reacts. You can actually find a pretty great one for only £11.66 (yes, you read that right).
- Slips on and off really easily.
- The soft mesh around the eyes is loose providing full visibility.
- Breathable mesh ears, that are great for keeping biting insects away.
- Pretty space-themed fabric.
It’s the best mask to protect your horse’s eyes, as well as your wallet.
6. Best for convenience- Harrison Howard Elasticity Mask Superb Comfort
Simplicity is often key to a fantastic product. The best fly masks for horses don’t need to be overly complicated – as long as they provide UV protection and keep the insects away.
- Soft mesh ears and fine mesh around eyes.
- Allows for clear vision.
- Soft and stretchy material is gentle on the horse’s skin and can be worn for long periods of time.
- Provides direct UV protection.
- Trendy, as it’s available in multiple fun patterns and colours.
- Protects ears and eyes from bugs in summer while still being breathable.
And there is no complicated fastening system, it’s so stretchy it just slips on over your horse’s head.
What Makes A Fly Mask The Best Fly Mask?
To be the best horse owners, we need to offer the best protection. But there is more to fly masks than just that.
To ensure that your horse and its fly mask graze happily in the pasture, there are a few extra key factors you need to keep in mind.
- Comfortable fit: The last thing you want is for the fly mask to annoy your horse or pony more than the flies themselves. If this is the case they’ll definitely attempt to remove it themselves. To ensure the fly mask sits comfortably you want to prevent rubbing and fastening the mask too tightly.
- UV protection: Unless you live in a really cold country (even the UK has sunny days!), sunburn will always be a concern. Fly masks are a great way to protect your horse’s skin from serious health problems caused by sunburn. Make sure the fly mask you choose covers all the vulnerable spots on your horse’s face.
- Unobstructed vision: I think it goes without saying that having access to full vision is non-negotiable. The second your horse can no longer see through the fly mask he becomes a danger to everyone around, and himself.
- Secure fit: You want to make sure the mask won’t just easily slip off while your horses play or rub their heads against walls and fence posts. Sometimes your horse can be a real fly mask escape artist, so it’s important to make sure it’s secure. Or else you’ll be walking up and down the field trying to find it.
- Easy to clean: To avoid infections caused by dirt and dust on fly masks, it’s your responsibility as a horse owner to keep the fly mask clean. You’ll be way more motivated to wash the fly mask if you can just throw it in the washing machine. Getting a mask that requires you to handwash it can be really demotivating.
How long should you leave a fly mask on a horse?
The answer to this entirely depends on the horse and the purpose of the fly mask. If it’s mostly being worn for UV protection and to avoid biting insects, you can remove the mask at night.
Is a fly mask better with or without ears?
Fly masks with ears provide extra protection against pesky flies and other insects. Choosing a mask with ears might be a good option if you have a horse that is prone to ear irritations.
But if you have a sensitive horse that is unable to tolerate the extra coverage over his ears, you should keep this in mind when making the final decision. You might need to choose a fly mask without ears or try a fly mask with ears made from fine mesh, as this will cause less irritation.
Are fly masks good for horses?
There are multiple benefits to fly masks; not only do they protect your horse against harmful UV rays, but also against insects that cause irritation and spread diseases. This is especially good for horses with sensitive skin or light eyes that are at risk of getting sunburned easily.