I’m reaching out to you well educated, knowledgeable horse folks today to get help with an issue for dear Simon.
Home boy hates flies.
Now look, I know that all horses hate flies. This is not unique, but he is taking it to extreme measures. If you’ve been reading for a long time, you may remember that Simon started living year-round in a fly sheet around January 2016. Without his
binky fly sheet, he runs around in the pasture to the point of a wild panic where he might colic.
The issue started with bot flies. He hates them. If he thinks a bot fly is near him, he’ll lose his shit. Even in hand grazing, he’ll start to buck and kick and run around with 0 regard for me at all. This is a horse that takes care of his mom above everything else, but when he thinks he’s getting attacked by a fly he’ll kick me in the face if it would help.
Now his fly sheet does the trick most of the time, but now that summer is gearing up in Texas the flies are back. When I drive out to the barn in the evenings, I see him standing by the gate stomping around 7pm. He’s not eating or relaxing, but pacing the fenceline being aggravated by flies.
On nights when I ride I give him a thorough, deep curry (which he loves) and cover his legs/belly in fly spray. I put SWAT all over his face, and turn him back out in his fly sheet. Only after all of that will he relax to the point where he’ll graze in his pasture, but less than 24 hours later you can come to the barn and find him under the same kind of fly-induced turmoil.
So I’m asking y’all for help. How do I make nerd horse more comfortable? Is this all a weird neuro symptom of some strange illness I should worry about? It seems to be getting worse over time.
Things that I’m doing/have tried:
- Top spot fly stuff (frontline for horses) seems to irritate his skin, make him itchy at the time of application and shows 0 difference
- I’ve tried a ton of different fly sprays, and they all provide temporary relief but not long term
- He’s currently in a new Weatherbeeta fly sheet with a belly band, no hood and he seems to like this set up
- He tears off fly masks
- If his fly sheet has a neck attachment, he is scared of it and will run away from getting it put on
- He pretty much wears his fly sheet 24/7 (even inside)
- Barn help will not put fly boots off and on during the day, so if I put boots on him he will wear them 24/7 and I worry about heat on his tendons, rubbing and them falling to his ankles which won’t help anyway
- Majority of horses in the barn are not on fly control, so I don’t know if giving him a fly supplement will help at all
Curious your thoughts on this issue. Simon is not skin sensitive for grooming, but the flies are just making him miserable right now. Halp!