Fly Mask Guide

Don’t let pests be a pest – we have masks for that!

Why Mask?

Whether you’re new to fly control, or a seasoned pro, a fly mask is often an owner’s primary line of defense on the battle of the bugs. And it makes sense - would you want insects buzzing about your eyes and ears constantly? Aside from the irritation factor, flying insects can pose a myriad of issues to your horse, causing the obvious bites and welts, and extending to runny or infected eyes, scabby ears, and even allergic reactions. So, keeping their delicate faces protected just makes sense.

The Advantage of Textilene®

Kensington’s masks are made of Textilene®, a USA, Alabama made fabric that is 1000x2000 denier. It is ultra-durable and formulated to withstand fading, fire, mildew, soiling, and wear and tear, even in the most extreme conditions. The other advantage to Textilene® over other materials is it does not absorb water or sweat – would you want to have a soggy piece of material strapped to your head in the rain, snow, or heat when you’re sweaty? I think not! Combine these points with quality stitching, fasteners, and attention to detail and you and your horse get a mask that will provide hundreds of hours of comfortable use.

Types of Masks

Fly masks fall into two main categories – with ears, or without ears. Most people opt for the “more is better” philosophy and utilize masks with built in ear covers, but some horses will not tolerate anything touching their ears. For those horses, an ear-free design is best. Another use for earless designs is for horses that are using masks outside of fly season to provide UV protection or barrier protection.

Features to Consider

Besides the ear on/ear off consideration, there are additional features to consider. If your horse has a lot of white on their face, and their pink skin gets burned, you may want to consider a mask with an extended nose that provides UV protection to that sensitive area as well as fly protection.

If you have a horse suffering with uveitis, or with pink skin, or pale eyes, you will want to check out the UViator collection. These masks provide 90% UV blocking while maintaining 78% air permeability and visibility. Not just for summertime, these are perfect for protection year-round to eliminate the harsh reflections that bounce off wet or snowy surfaces. Also, their streamlined fit allows them to be used easily with the bridle for horses that require 24/7 protection.

If your horse lives both in and out, you may want to consider the UViator CatchMask® - it’s a fly mask with a secure double locking lead rope attachment which means that you (or your barn’s staff) can eliminate a step in their daily routine. Instead of putting on a mask and a halter, they can now put on the mask, attach the lead, and go!

Proper Fly Mask Fit

Fitting a mask is important, because a mask that is too small can cause rubs, while a mask that’s too big has virtually no chance of staying on the horse’s head.

A properly fitted mask:

  • Covers the eyes and jaw
  • Stops halfway to the nose (unless it’s an extended nose version)
  • The nose band should sit about 1 or 2 fingers from the cheekbone to prevent rubbing
  • The mask needs to provide adequate room in the eye area – you don’t want it to rub on the horse’s eyes because that could cause injury
  • A finger or two between the mask and the straps is the proper adjustment

Size charts are available for all Kensington’s masks on the product information pages.