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What Are The Benefits of Fly Masks and Rugs for Horses from May Onwards in the UK

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Brown Horse scratching its back on the grass

As the calendar flips to May, horse owners in the UK brace themselves for a new set of challenges. The warmer months bring lush pastures and longer days, but they also usher in a host of pests and environmental factors that can affect your horse’s health and comfort. One of the best ways to protect your equine friends during this season is through the use of fly masks and rugs. These essential pieces of horse gear offer a range of benefits that ensure your horse remains happy and healthy throughout the summer months.

Protection from Flies and Insects

Fly MasksFly masks are a crucial piece of equipment for horses from May onwards. As temperatures rise, so does the activity of flies, midges, and other biting insects. These pests can cause significant irritation and stress to horses. A fly mask provides a barrier that prevents flies from reaching the horse’s eyes, ears, and face, areas particularly sensitive to bites and irritation. This not only reduces the physical discomfort but also decreases the risk of infections and conditions such as conjunctivitis, which can be caused by constant fly annoyance.

Fly RugsFly rugs, also known as fly sheets, cover the horse’s body, protecting it from biting insects. Made from lightweight, breathable materials, these rugs keep flies and midges at bay without causing overheating. By preventing bites, fly rugs help reduce the chances of your horse developing allergic reactions, sores, or skin infections that can result from persistent insect bites.

Whitaker Rastrick Fly Rug

Other protecting properties

UV Protection The UK may not be known for intense heat, but UV rays can still be harmful, especially during the peak summer months. Extended exposure to UV rays can cause sunburn, particularly in horses with lighter coats and sensitive skin. Fly masks often come with UV protection, shielding the delicate skin around the eyes and face. Similarly, many fly rugs are designed with UV-resistant materials that help prevent sunburn and coat bleaching, ensuring your horse’s skin and coat stay healthy and vibrant.


Dust and Debris Shield: 
Fly masks and rugs also offer protection from dust, pollen, and other airborne debris. Horses grazing or being exercised in dry, dusty environments can be prone to respiratory issues and eye irritations. A fly mask can help keep dust and debris out of a horse’s eyes and nostrils, reducing the likelihood of irritation and infection. Fly rugs provide a barrier against dust settling on the horse’s skin, which is particularly beneficial for horses with allergies or skin sensitivities.


Thermal Regulation: 
While it may seem counterintuitive, fly rugs can aid in thermal regulation. Made from materials designed to reflect sunlight and allow airflow, these rugs help keep your horse cool by providing shade and encouraging natural cooling through sweat evaporation. This is particularly important during unexpected heatwaves, which are becoming more common in the UK. A fly rug helps prevent overheating and keeps your horse comfortable even in warmer weather.


Reduced Stress and Anxiety:
Flies and insects can cause significant stress and anxiety in horses. Constantly swishing their tails, stomping their feet, and shaking their heads to ward off pests can lead to fatigue and even behavioural issues. By providing effective protection against these nuisances, fly masks and rugs help reduce the stress levels in horses. A calmer, more relaxed horse is not only happier but also easier to handle and train.


Enhanced Healing and Recovery: 
For horses recovering from injuries or skin conditions, fly masks and rugs offer a layer of protection that can promote healing. Open wounds or irritated skin are magnets for flies, which can lead to further complications. Covering these areas with protective gear prevents flies from aggravating the injuries, allowing the natural healing process to proceed uninterrupted.

About Athena

Athena is our Equine specialist, who has been riding and competing (predominantly in show jumping) since the age of 6 years old.

She also has a diploma in Equine management and has 3 horses of her own.

Athena Show Jumping

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