It seems that the fly season is upon us already. We have had to fish the deosect out of the tack room and have sprayed the ponies. Galahad hates fly spray so he didn’t enjoy it at all but at least deosect doesn’t need to be applied so often.
The fly masks are back out as well. It seems very peculiar to have Galahad’s rug on at the same time but it’s still pretty cold here at night and not warm enough to leave it off yet. He is enjoying the time without it during the day though.
Of course, all of this means that hunting for lost fly masks in odd corners of the field is once again a regular part of my life. That’s how I’ll be spending the next few months!
Every summer we are bothered by the flies but this year they seem to be even worse than usual.
Galahad had pretty much destroyed his mask now. The ears, however, are still intact so I am very happy indeed. It has also lasted much longer than his old mask so it was definitely a good investment.
As ever, we are using deosect – Galahad hates being sprayed and anything that can reduce the amount of flyspray we have to use is a bonus. NAF’s citronella gel is also great for this.
This year we have also gained some of their citronella wash which we use when we wash the ponies down after exercise. It is certainly much easier than trying to spray Galahad – although he has improved greatly and sometimes barely moves whilst he is sprayed. Other times, of course, he kicks up a huge fuss!
I have also taken to soaking the fly masks in the citronella water. As you can see, they can get covered in flies and although the ponies are protected from them it can’t be at all pleasent. It certainly doesn’t look nice.
We are getting towards the end of the fly season (hopefully!) but we are still working hard to fight them off. Battling the flies is probably the hardest thing about horse ownership. I had a few bad years where Galahad got nasty bites which didn’t seem to cause him any pain but looked horrid. Thankfully we have had a couple of good years now where that hasn’t happened. I put that down to my being much better organised at treating the ponies with deosect once a month instead of just spritzing them with fly spray every day.
The trouble is that Galahad hates the spray bottle. He has improved immensely – I used to have to sponge the fly spray or deosect all over him. Now I can actually spray him although he still has good days and bad. Some days he stands like a rock, others he completely panics. At the beginning of the summer he climbed up this giant step to avoid being sprayed. Needless to say, I no longer attempt to spray him there!
We did try using garlic in the ponies’ feed as well but Galahad did not like it and would just leave it. Strangely, he does like the garlic Horslyx – although as he only gets that as an occasional treat I don’t suppose it does much to put off the flies!
Galahad’s fly mask has pretty much had it now. It has gradually been getting more holes but now one of them is big enough for his ear to stick through.
Given that I only got it because he has trouble with flies in his ears it seems a bit redundant now. It has also worn a (very small) bald patch on his ear which is obviously not good at all. I would mend it but hopefully (touch wood) the flies seem almost gone for now. I’ll mend it if his ears get bad again, otherwise I’ll just get him a new one next year.
Strangely the more damaged it got the less often he managed to escape it. Perhaps the holes gave it extra ventilation so he didn’t want it off so much. I am now more likely to find my sister’s pony hatless. His mask has lasted twice as long so far and the only problem with it now is that the velcro itself is wearing out. He doesn’t have the same desire to get rid of it though. I have found him in the field with the velcro completely undone but the mask still on his head!
I just gave both ponies what I hope was their last dose of deosect for the season. Galahad is not at all keen on being sprayed and most years up to now I have been spraying him every day with normal fly spray. For several years I had to use a sponge to get it on. Deosect shouldn’t be used nearly so often so he must prefer it. It has also so far prevented him getting the nasty persistent bite he usually gets every summer so I am happy too. It is pretty good stuff!
On Wednesday we jumped for the first time in ages. We started very small as Galahad can get rather over excited and we hadn’t played with the tyres before.
He stayed nice and calm though and considering our lack of practise he did very well.
The only issue we had was when I stupidly said I would try one more jump and he ran out. A few times. We had to lower the fence and start again. I think (hope) he was just reacting to my sister being straight ahead over the jump. I do need to get him more used to people being around – I am hoping to take him to his first proper show next month.
We had a nice gentle hack this evening which was lovely except for the FLIES which were awful. We picked them up at the top of the hill and they followed us all the way back down. Galahad can react badly to fly bites – not in a sweet itch way but he normally has one bite a year which stays raw for a couple of weeks. I think it causes me more distress than him though! So far this year Deosect has kept the flies at bay but if anyone has any tips I would welcome them!
This is our current solution. I’m not sure that it made any difference but it made me feel better.
Galahad also spends the summer in a fly mask as the flies in his ears can be terrible. He is sometimes a real Houdini with it though. He goes for days with no trouble and then it disappears, usually turning up neatly hung on a tree. Last time it took me two days to find it and then it was here.
Something tells me he didn’t want it found!