Thursday, June 25, 2009

Horses Attacked by B-52s!

No, this isn't a war movie - the B-52s I'm referring to are the gigantic horse flies that have come out in force this year. The huge, black, persistent ones that land on the horse's rump or mid-back and deliver a very painful bite. We seem to have a lot of them this year - perhaps they really like a lot of rain followed by a lot of heat - and if their bites weren't so painful it would be almost funny the antics the horses get up to in order to get rid of one that's landed or avoid the ones that are flying. Much galloping, bucking and rolling - maybe a few flies even get crushed. Lily gets very still and "watches" them with her ears as they approach - they usually don't go after her too much, perhaps since she's grey. They seem to particularly fancy poor Fritz. The funniest fly removal attempt I saw yesterday was Maisie doing "butt hitches" - she was standing still, not bucking but repeatedly bumping her hindquarters off the ground - I'm not sure it was effective. So far I've been able to fend them off when leading (one reason I prefer morning duty to evenings is these flies, which are much worse as the day heats up) and haven't encountered one while riding - emergency evasive action would be required.

10 comments:

  1. Oh, how I hate the B-52's. (My friend Stacie calls them "Flyzillas.") Tucker bucked me off once because of one, so if we get attacked when I'm riding, I bail out.

    The Cashel Bug Armor does protect against them, though! So, when they start to show up around here--usually a little later in the summer--on goes the armor.

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  2. I have a Tucker too! :) He is a bit... shall we say... dependent on me, so if I am riding and one lands on him, he will stop dead in his tracks and wait for me to kill it. Not sure what he does when I'm not around? Finds a turnout buddy? Throws himself on the ground?

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  3. This is one thing I'm SO glad we don't have much of in Colorado. (Ticks are another.) There are some definite advantages to living where it's less humid -- the bugs are smaller and there aren't as many of them.

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  4. We have those pretty bad in Idaho some years. It's no big deal unless you're riding a sensitive baby horse who bucks you off for whisking a fly off her. <--Not my girl, but I ended up having to ride this one. It makes for an exciting time.

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  5. I hate them too, I've been bitten twice this summer already and they are really painful and itchy!!

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  6. I remember when we were living in Vermont I didn't think it was even possible to have so many horse flies, it was awful! I saw a lot of the butt hitches you refer to, it seemed to be a preferred approach to dealing with them. We get occasional horse flies but not many. The ticks have been awful this year for some reason, maybe because we had so much rain in the spring??

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  7. Horse flies are horrible things, I was bitten once when I was staying with friends in NH and it was really painful. The horses have all my sympathy!

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  8. Our flies haven't been too bad this year, we've used Fly Predators and they've really helped!
    I was sorry to read about your injuries from being kicked, I hope you are on the mend! It is scary how fast something could happen around horses that can cause us serious injury. One no-no I do all of the time is walk under the lead rope while my horse is tied. It's just so convenient, but I know it's not a smart thing to do!

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  9. Butt hitches??!! That is a very funny phrase!
    I always feel so bad for the horses with flies buzzing around them. Next year, I think I will try the fly predators.

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