Monday, April 8, 2013

Shoo fly, don't bother me!

I found out today Charlie hates flies. Not just is annoyed by them or thinks they're, he despises them and they make him fly off the deep end. Today was gorgeous outside, the first true 70-degrees-I-think-spring-might-actually-be-here kind of day. Of course that also meant the flies all emerged as well and poor Charlie apparently has the sweetest blood of the bunch. After turning the horses out this morning the barn owner saw how badly they were flocking to him and how much Charlie immediately started flipping out. She attempted to spray him with some fly spray but she was lucky to even get a few small spritzes on; he wanted nothing of it and bolted whenever she got near him. He even still had a blanket on at that point so the flies couldn't get near his body....

By the time I got to the barn around 2:00 Charlie was tossing his head non-stop, wouldn't stand still, and just looked irritated out of his mind. I could see all the horses were a little antsy from the bugs and that there did seem to be more around him than some of the others, but honestly? The flies really were not that bad. He was definitely bugged out and miserable, though, and after the barn owner's daughter told me what had happened that morning I deserted my plan to lunge in the outdoor ring. That would not have been a positive experience. (Instead we worked indoors and he was SUPER) :)

Since I hadn't yet bought any fly gear (I got Charlie in the winter so there was no need at the time), I turned him back out after we were done and hustled over to the nearest supply store to buy a mask and some spray. I was only gone about 30 minutes, but when I returned Charlie was in his stall bug-eyed and wigging out. The barn owner's daughter said as soon as I left he started freaking out so badly that he worked himself into a sweat and was cantering in place, getting everyone else worked up and freaking out so badly she was afraid he might colic. Thankfully she was able to bring him in until I returned. He definitely had crazy eyes and was reluctant at first to let me anywhere near his ears, but once he calmed down enough to realize I wasn't a bug he did let me put on the mask (note to self: when in doubt, next time go for the XL....Charlie's head is so much bigger than it seems!). I then walked him out into the aisle to spray him down with the fly spray, fully expecting a meltdown, but although he eyed the bottle he stood really nicely while I gave him a thick coat all over. He must have just passed the point-of-no-return this morning when he wouldn't let the BO near him; he was fine for me.

So out he went, prepped as much as I could get him. The flies were still bugging his nose a little but he was a different horse: visibly more relaxed, head down, and actually standing still. Crisis averted! I can't help but wonder, though, what will we do in the summer once the bugs really get bad?

Ahhh now I'm happy....

....and naked! :)


  1. You might want to consider a fly sheet, for Mr. Charlie, too. Poor guy! Can you leave him in during the day and do night turnout?

  2. Oh Charlie, he is a sensitive guy!

  3. I have one like this too... He has a full neck fly sheet and goes out at night, in during the day. The only way to keep him same!

    Check out fly armour for halters and bridles too.

  4. I feel your pain. Even decked out in head to tail fly gear and fully sprayed, Cuna flips his head constantly in fly season. He gets covered in hives if bugs touch him, poor guy. :-/

    Glad Charlie sounds like an easier fix.

  5. Oh boy, such a sensitive baby. No matter what you do, whether it be a fly sheet (which will make him bake in the sun), fly spray (which will wear off), or feed through garlic (which only kind of works), he will be getting harassed. That's the problem with these small turnouts, and Lucy has the same issue - they have nowhere to go to get away from the flies, especially the big biting flies.

  6. He needs a whole outfit mom! I had a gelding once who was seriously loved by flys and i found that the garlic/bug off stuff worked wonders for him :)

  7. On one hand I totally sympathize with Charlie. I DESPISE flies. However it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better, poor guy. Sounds like he's going to need a sheet and maybe even boots. Not fun to deal with.