The equine industry has evolved, and the tools and equipment have also changed to keep up with the times. New technology has influenced the design and quality of fly masks, making the quest for the best fly masks for horses a fun adventure.
I know that my first requirement of a horse fly mask is to have a mask that offers protection from flies (#duh) and other flying pests, but it also needs to provide a comfortable fit, not accidentally harm the horse’s eyes, or be too easy to remove.
Looking everywhere, I finally created this list of the best fly masks for horses. You’re sure to find your ideal fly mask here, and all the leg work has been done for you. Happy shopping!
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AT A GLANCE: Best Fly Masks for Horses
Buyer’s Guide for the Best Fly Masks on the Market
With so many fly masks and designs on the market, it’s important to know exactly what you need from your fly mask. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind:
Functionality of the Fly Mask
A fly mask, like the name suggests, has to keep flies out of your horse’s eyes. It sounds like a simple job, but it’s not so easily done. Flies are sneaky little pests, and they crawl under seams, through openings, and into ears.
A great fly mask protects the eyes by creating a barrier between the horse’s eyes and the outside world. However, it also needs to let air through, and be transparent enough to allow full visibility so horses to see where they are going.
The functionality of the fly mask is also influenced by the fit of the mask, design, and cut.
Durability of the Design
Some horses are just terrors with fly masks, and they will find that one nail in the picket fence to shred their new mask on (#milliondollarbaby). Horse fly masks that would suit most horses don’t necessarily suit these horses, and fitting a fly mask is more likely to do harm than good.
For well-mannered horses, sensitive areas can be protected with a number of designs that include soft mesh masks, high visibility mesh, and even breathable nylon mesh.
Work with what you know your horse prefers. If your horse is very sensitive about having their ears veiled, then don’t force them to wear a fly mask with ears. For horses that tend to have forelock damage, a fly mask with a secure fit and the most coverage is best.
Fly masks also provide protection against UV damage to those sensitive pink noses, eyes, and ears.
Keep pesky insects away with a durable fly mask that will withstand rubbing, hooking, and ripping. Ensuring the fly mask is a comfortable fit, your horse is less likely to rub at it and damage it (or themselves).
Budget for Masks
Be aware that fly masks often don’t last as long as other kinds of tack—sometimes they only last a season. So with that in mind, consider your budget. If you have more than one horse, buying expensive masks that may or may not get ripped up can be a challenge. However, if your horse is a darling, and they bring their mask back from the large paddock in one piece, you can definitely spring for the full package.
Likewise, a budget mask that irritates your horse and is shredded faster than cheddar will only be a waste of money. Weigh up pros and cons, and then make your purchase decision.
5 Best Fly Masks for Horses
I’ve got several horses that I need to protect in fly season, and each has their own needs. With a limited budget, I scoured all over for the best rated, best value, and coolest designs I could find.
Here are my favorite fly masks:
Best Close-Contact Lycra Fly Mask
Turn your horse into a superhero with the ComfortFit Fly Mask from Professionals Choice. The fly mask features a close-fitting design that hugs the horse’s face.
- Close-fitting to keep flies from crawling under the mask
- Provides eye and ear protection with mesh coverings
- Great UV protection for horses with light sensitivity
- Binding around edges to prevent fraying
- Available in four sizes: pony, cob, horse, and oversized
- Three colors to choose from (purple, blue, and gray)
- Great price, starting at $13.13
- Easily removed, which can be a problem for pastured horses
- Mesh is fine and can rip easily
I definitely won’t use this mask for my rough-and-tough boy, but for my delicate mare, who is miss goodie-two-shoes, it works like a charm. Know your horse, and you’ll be able to decide whether this is a great mask or not.
Best Horse Fly Mask for Sensitive Ears
The Harrison Howard All-Round Mesh Horse Fly Mask is ideal for those horses that don’t like their ears being maneuvered into ear pockets or tight corners. The mask features a large opening for both ears and the forelock, preventing rubbing and other damage.
- UV protection (but take care with the funky colors that are bright on the eyes)
- Soft fleece trim to keep bugs from crawling in and ensures maximum comfort
- Double darts for extra structure and support
- Secure fit with double interlock Velcro tape and elastic for a snug fit that won’t pinch
- Available in medium and large sizes in six colors, from gray, pink, and orange to sky blue
- Well priced at $16.99
- Sizing can be a problem if your horse’s head is oddly-shaped
- Some issues with top opening around ears if too big
I really like the sturdy nature of this mask, and it’s perfect for my head-scratching boy.
Best Secure Fit Fly Mask for Horses
Perhaps one of the best fly masks I’ve yet used is the WeatherBeeta ComFiTec Durable Mesh Mask. The mask has an excellent fit and offers great UV protection with a 60% factor, which is great for those pink-eyed equine babies.
Even if your horse doesn’t need the extra protection, the mask is a real stunner and very sturdy in its construction.
- Made from polyester mesh
- Double darts ensure a great fit
- Available in six sizes
- Velcro fastens with a double tab for easy use
- Fleece lined edge and elasticated poll for a great fit
- Fair price at $21.74
- Some horses may have extra large gaps around ears due to their conformation
- Essential to order the right size
I really like the look of this mask, and it looks great on my horses.
Best UV Protection Fly Mask for Horses
Where most fly masks are made from a type of polyester, the Kensington Fly Mask With Fleece and Ears is made from an extremely durable material known as Textilene. With an impressive 73% UV protection factor, your horse is sure to be protected.
- Fleece trim and ear pieces, as well as mesh made from durable Textilene
- Material is heat and mold resistant and won’t rip or hook on fences
- Double locking fastener and elasticated throat latch for secure fit
- Maximum eye clearance with the double darts
- Available in three sizes: medium, large, x-large
- Many, many funky colors and patterns available like lavender, teal, and plum ice
These masks cost a bit more than the market mean, but they are totally worth it at a list price of $49.99 (on special at $27.94).
- The price! (Especially if you have a few horses to protect)
Ultimate Flying Insects Protection Fly Mask for Horses
My ultimate favorite fly mask is the Cashel Crusader Fly Mask with Ears. Not only does this mask protect your horse, but it also helps you contribute to a good cause as all the Cashel Crusader masks donate proceeds to worthy causes such as Wounded Warriors and breast cancer research.
- Three hole cap design to minimize forelock damage
- Made from soft coated nylon micromesh
- Ear pieces are made from Wickaway fabric, which offers freedom of movement and excellent sound conduction for ears
- 70% UV protection factor
- Plush edging is low nap to avoid any burs or thorns catching a ride
- Sizing is according to breed, which is a nice innovation, with six options to choose from
- Good price at $20.05
I honestly can’t find a con with this mask. Perhaps you’d like to opt for the Cashel Crusader mask with a nose piece to protect pink noses from UV damage.
How to Fit a Fly Mask Correctly
No matter how great the fly mask that you choose may be, if you fit it poorly, you are wasting your money and possibly endangering your horse. A fly mask should fit as follow:
- Clear the bulb at the back of both ears with no pressure on the atlas joint
- Clear the eyes, with a double dart to ensure the mesh doesn’t make contact with the eyes
- Fit snugly over the jawline, but allow two fingers to be inserted between the jaw and the horse’s face
Last Thoughts on the Best Fly Masks for Horses
A fly mask is a valuable piece of equestrian tack that no horse owner should be without. But more importantly, it’s something no horse should be without.
Fitting a quality fly mask can limit the irritation caused by flying insects, bugs that crawl into their ears and eyes, and even reduce UV damage.
For further protection against biting insects, consider adding a fly sheet to protect your horse in summer. I have the best fly sheets for your consideration, so read all about the 6 Best Fly Sheets too.