Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fly Crescendo

A crescendo in music can't go on forever, can it?  Monday afternoon, all of a sudden, the flies - or some type of fly - got just plain terrible - a couple of us tried to ride outside and the horses were kicking at their bellies, and just plain beside themselves, so we went back in.  Pie grows a lot of foot - we're just at 5 weeks since his last trim, and there's a lot of extra hoof wall already - I've never met a horse that grows so much foot - and while he was stamping in the aisle (concrete with no rubber mats, unfortunately), all of a sudden he was going stamp, muffled "squee", stamp, muffled "squee" - at first I couldn't figure out where the sound was coming from.  He'd clearly made his feet sore stamping, poor guy, so I gave him a 500-lb. dose of Banamine before I left.

I didn't ride any of my horses yesterday.  I went to the barn in the morning to ride Dawn, and when I drove up, no horses were visible in the pastures - where were they?  I looked, and both the mares and geldings were clustered at the gates, desperate to get in - this was about 10 a.m. in the morning when they would have usually been out in the pastures grazing.  The horses were sweating, and upset, and stamping and swishing - the very bad flies were still at work.  Red was at the gate with Pie, and insisted on coming in right away.  Dawn even whinneyed to me in her desperation.

All the horses ended up coming in - they were really upset - some had bloody spots all over their chests and bellies.  A number of other barns in the area had the same 24-hour problem, with horrible flies and horses driven crazy.  Last night the flies were much better - just normal flies - and the horses were happy in the pastures all day today.  We suspect some sort of unusual flie hatch - perhaps a specific fly species - we're just all glad they're seemingly gone.

Yesterday Pie's left front was all cracked, with a large piece about to break off.  My farrier/trimmer can't come until Thursday, so I was lucky to catch another farrier who was at the barn yesterday and get him to rasp off Pie's broken piece. Luckily, the crack went no further than the sole, and taking off the piece should stop the crack.  But I didn't ride him today.

Dawn is back to normal - we had an excellent ride this morning where we did some nice walk/trot/canter work, including some nice loose rein and also softening work.  She seems to be accepting me again, which is a good thing . . .

Red and I did more walk/trot work under saddle.  He's still a bit stiff starting out in trot, but is working well and is very willing and able to move out.  I'm delighted with his enthusiasm and work ethic - he absolutely insists on doing something with me every day.  As soon as he can walk up and down our steep hills under saddle, we'll be starting tours of the pastures in preparation for trail riding . . .


  1. Thankfully I don't have a serious fly problem. Ever since I started using fly predators, I don't have to use fly masks or flysheets. Right about now is when the flies start to pick uo a bit. The other evening I had to watch a bot fly terrorize and lay eggs on my newest Mustang filly (she is not gentled yet) and there was nothing I could do. I can't get closer then a few feet to her and I definitely can't spray any fly spray or even scrape the bot eggs off. It was terrible to watch because the bot fly was relentless and my poor baby was running, stomping and kicking to get rid of the darn thing.
    So I totally feel for your horses. Hope there is some relief soon!!

  2. I agree - the flys have become a serious issue. I sure hope this winter we have our typical prolonged hard freeze to help reduce next summers pest numbers.

  3. I pretty much have the biting barn flies under control with fly predators and feed through fly control. That, however does nothing to stop the greenheads or deerflies from the woods OR....the huge B52 bombers that show up--fortunately not in hordes. If there were a hatching of the big ones, that would drive my horses to absolute hysteria.

    Your poor babies were victimized by some kind of evil critters, that's for sure. Around here, the rain triggers hatchings. Hope yours was only a few day frustration that will not be repeated.

  4. We had a really bad fly day on Wednesday. I actually brought my horse in and put him in his stall, which is very rare since he lives out 24/7. He was happy as a clam and clearly close captivity over flies. They nearly had him jumping in place. Strange that you had the same thing just the day before us.

  5. Here in Canada it has been the mosquitos. You bring your horse in and they are practically running over you to get to the barn and away from the moquitos. The entire side of my horse was forever covered in a wall of them and i had them all over me biting me through my riding gear and everything it was aweful. Now the mosquitos have died away and we have a major wasp problem at our barn.... which is terrible for someone like me who runs and screams everytime they buzz past me lol.

  6. Another one who has been happy with fly predators, although i wonder if they would have done any good with whatever it was that caused all the problems. I hope they stay gone!!

  7. Count me in on the fly predator fan club, but the deer flies can cause that kind of reaction you describe when they come around in our pasture. I hope that everyone is getting some relief and things are back to normal.

  8. The flies have recently gone nuts around here too and it's been awful for the horses. Every horse I see is just swishing itself into a frenzy. And something has come out that Dee is allergic to (last week she was covered in hives, coughing, and rubbing her beautiful long tail out in chunks). This week I could barely ride she was so frantic in spite of a good coating of fly spray. I really want to get her a fly sheet but I worry about having her out in it 24/7. I'm at my whits end over these tiny critters and so is she.


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