Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Conditioning a Horse for a Fly Mask

I received a question via the comment feature on the article on "Horse Health Care - Doctoring Eye Injuries".

Anonymous said "Dear Functional Horseman. I really like your videos. Please keep doing them. I have been treating my horse for an eye infection and am now able to get medicine into his eyes, however he will not let me put a fly mask on him.. He gets spooky and runs away when I got to slip the mask on him. Any suggestions for me??"

Horses need to be broke to wear a fly mask as you may be treating his eyes and need to protect them from dirt and sand sticking to the medicine in or near his eyes.

I would start all over with him. Stand 10-15 feet away and work the velcro on the mask a few times and see if that spooks or concerns the horse. After a short while he'll become used to the noise and recognize the fact and nothing is hurting him. Move alittle closer and continue to do this. Don't overload him. As you get near him let him smell the mask,..it would be good if the mask was used on another horse so it smells like a horse and not like new nylon.

Once you can stand next to him and work the velcro, rub him gently all over with the mask. Hold it up to his face and take it away, do this with an increasing time when holding it to his jaw bone or face.

You can hold the fly mask as you rub the horse's nose and once he is through jerking his head away, if he even does this, then you can drap it across his face. Take if off and do it again a few times.

I think then you can slip the mask over his ears, outside ear first and let him wear it drapped over his face and unsecured until he is totally comfortable with the mask.

The trick will now be that when you take it off and make that velcro ripping noise, he may spook again, but will soon release everything is alright.

The horse I demonstrate with in the video is a green broke Mustang, who has never had a mask on before. He is totally calm about the whole small deal probably because he hears the velcro sound all the time and is almost bomb proof whandling his head and ears...he got there by being handled each and every day. Your horse will be like this too within a few times of sacking him out gradually on the fly mask. Good luck and safe journey.

No comments:

Post a Comment