Wrapping Up Against Flies! by John Lyons
By John Lyons
Flies love to crawl around on horses’ legs, driving the sanest horse bonkers. But now we have a screen solution.
Little buzzing creatures can take over your barn during fly season and annoy both horses and people. Some even aggravate with painful, stinging bites. Others tickle and crawl, agitating even a mellow-tempered horse so that he stomps nervously, jarring his joints and loosening his shoes. If you can lessen the foot-stomping, you may help your horse keep his/her shoes on longer during fly season.
Fly Wraps®, made of mesh material with ‘stay’s’ that keep them upright, and fleece edges with stretch hook and loop straps can help alleviate a horse’s agitation from flies crawling on the legs. The 3 straps make it easy to attach; the fleece at the top keeps insects from crawling down, and keeps the wraps snug against your horse’s leg; the mesh provides an effective, breathable barrier [many vets use Fly Wraps as a medical wrap]. Resembling shipping boots, they cover from just below the horse’s knee to just above or slightly over the fetlock joint/top of the hoof on most horses between 14 – 18 hands.
We tested this product on stalled horses and pastured horses. In the stall, the wraps stayed securely in place. On turn out the Fly Wraps® did slip down very slightly, probably because those horses moved around a lot more. They didn’t slip down far enough to cause concern ~ however ~ just a little farther over the fetlock than when we put first put them on.
One stall had a fairly high number of flies and the horse was stomping frequently before we applied Fly Wraps®. The results were even better than expected; before using the Fly Wraps® the horse’s annoyance at the flies was making him ill-tempered. Our normally good-natured horse was sulking in the corner. With the Fly Wraps® his attitude changed. He became more relaxed and once again waited at the stall door for attention. The change was instantaneous.
The mesh stayed clean and we discovered you can hose them with a dual purpose of cleaning the wraps while cooling the lower part of our horse’s legs and allowing better blood circulation.
Fly Wraps® are a patented product and very effective. They come four  per set, in a zippered package and an array of colors. Cost is $37.95.
MAYBE NOT JUST FOR HORSES!
Fly Wraps® worked so well on our test horses that we just had to try them on ourselves. Not everyone wants to wear long pants all summer to keep bugs off, but mucking a stall in shorts can turn you into a fly buffet. While they might not start a new fashion trend in the horse world, the Fly Wraps can keep the flies off your legs just as well as your horses, and the mesh is cool. For less slender legs, two wraps can be attached together with the Velcro to extend the length of the wrap. We also found them useful for walking in tall grass and for weed-whacking, which also kept off the flying bits of grass that tend to stick to everything.