Monday, August 6, 2012

Fighting a losing battle

George and Alan each got new fly masks six weeks ago. Alan's lasted five weeks and six days. He lost it in the pasture on Friday. 
Luckily, I was on my way to town that afternoon, so I stopped at the feed store for a new one. 
There were two options in his size: the less expensive model like the one he had just lost, and a pricey model similar to Lucy's.

I'd been impressed with the quality and durability of Lucy's, so I opted to buy Alan the same brand (Cashel). 
My hope was that it woud fit better and stay on so he wouldn't lose it as quickly.

The good news is, it fits him like a glove. 
The bad news is, by the time I got home with it, George had lost his.
I patched an old mask from my growing pile of dead fly masks, which will have to suffice until I get back to the feed store...

...which had better be soon. Why rest quietly in the shade when you can pull on each other's fly masks?

So Alan had been wearing his new, pricey Cashel mask for exactly seven hours 
when I went out to the barn to feed dinner.

Alan: I'm in really big trouble, aren't I?
Me: You have no idea.

Luckily, I had spent much of the afternoon in the pasture with them, so I had a good idea where to begin my search.

All that experience I've acquired searching for cow skulls across the vast desert paid off. 
I spotted Alan's new fly mask in no time.

Hmmm...the velcro strap was still stuck together.

Me: Does this look familiar, young man?
Alan: I promise to be more careful.

I put the mask back on him, then stood back and tried to imagine how he removed it in the first place.
Lacking opposable thumbs, the only thing I can figure is that George must have grabbed the top part near the ear holes,
then pulled it down and off. Either that, or Houdini has been reincarnated as a burro.

Anyway, yesterday, I put the new fly mask on Houdini's assistant George.
Maybe he can keep it on longer than Alan did.

But I doubt it. Meanwhile, if anybody hears of any end-of-the-season fly mask sales, 
let me know. I need to stock up.


  1. Man! Unless you can get those things a dollar store somewhere, maybe you'd better figure out a harness for them that goes down the back and around the hind legs!

  2. I bet we could make a boatload of money by "inventing" brightly colored fly masks that people could find out in the pasture easily. They finally put grazing muzzles in bright colors, now fly masks need to do the same. :)

  3. Our horse got out of his fly mask too and the strap was still fashened...hmmm still haven't figured that one out...have a great day and hope the "boys" behave today :) Jeanne in SC

  4. I'd suggest duct tape.

  5. Pet stores sell all kinds of nasty-tasting stuff to keep dogs from chewing on things.

    I wonder if that would help them not put their mouths on each other's masks?

  6. I like how the masks have a notch at top so the top lock can stick out and up as usual. Is that like an antenna for burros?

  7. Darn fly's eh!! Maybe you need to invent one that stays on ;p

  8. Why does Lucy get ear covers and the boys don't?

  9. We've got the same problem here. Grady is the worst for losing his. I think they rub them off or have assistants help them out of their masks. Sometimes we use halters over them which seem to help a bit. There's really no way to keep them on a properly motivated horse. Good luck.

  10. I need to stock up, too! Scout pulls off Cali's mask, Sunni got his off in two days...sigh...Somebody gave me a couple of the Cashel ones. I really like them. Last week they were about $20.00 on Country Supply. I'm going to buy some new ones for next summer. Yes, I think they rub them off! Little buggers!

  11. Kids!! Those two always make me giggle. I'm sure it's frustrating though. I have one horse that would take his "brothers" mask off all the time, but hasn't this year at all.

  12. Carson, I just got an email from that they are having an end of season pest control sale. Here are their fly masks:
    and they should pop up on the front page! I need about 3 more...sigh...

  13. Rascals. Maybe some duct tape wrapped securely around the masks and held on by their little necks would help. *grin*

  14. Carson, I know this is "off topic" but in reading your past posts, (especially since I just moved to northern New Mexico from southern Arkansas)and I'd like to know what you finally did to solve your terrible hard water problems and the recurring mess with your water softner??? The water here is terrible and my dishes are rapidly adding a coat of rough "crud". Thanks for the info. I've been a fan for several years.

  15. Just want to say that so very often, you and your gang totally make my day. I get a good laugh, I learn something, I get to admire the beautiful scenery around your place and I get to fall in love with Alan, George, Hank, Lucy, Wynonna and Smooch as if they were my own. And I do have my own, 15 cats and 5 dogs, all very much loved and rescued from a fate worse than living with me and my 3 sons. Your sense of humor is so very much mine, and in times a little troubled, humor is very much needed :)So - thank you!

  16. Check out Their basic model is very good, and only $15 full price.

  17. Le sigh, le moan, le expensive burros. Great laugh this morning. Oma Linda

  18. A couple of years ago I stopped spraying the horses and putting fly masks on them and the flies don't bother them nearly as much. I think the spray was making their skin tender? When I did use fly masks, I hated not being able to see the horses' eyes, so I'd take a big marker and draw eyes on the masks. Nice long eyelashes for the girls.

  19. This is cute and funny from where I'm sitting but I can imagine your aggravation. has masks on sale.
    Go to YouTube and watch "Donkey April Fools". At the 2 minute mark.. pretty much explains it. Gray and brown donkeys. Yeah, I'm talking about you, George.

  20. I am new here and I can't stop laughing. i am hooked just with this one hilarious story. they are so wonderful. i love donkeys. my friend has a minature male named skeeter. your header was the second hook. i love every thing that has 4 legs.

  21. on the funny farm!!
    Funny you should ask about fly mask for about $7.99
    Not the Cashel brand though. :)

  22. Anonymous, the hard water here is, and always will be, the bane of my existence. I turned off the water conditioning system 5 (?) years ago (it never worked right and I got sick of dealing with the yahoo who installed it and kept coming out to fix it). For drinking/cooking, I refill 5 gallon jugs whenever I go to town. My clothes are all gray but the herd doesn't seem to care. I still use Lemishine in the dishwasher but the crud never goes away. When company's coming, I toss all the silverware and dishes in the sink with vinegar and wash them by hand.

  23. Yep, the ability to lose marks, headcollars & grazing muzzle exists on this side of the Atlantic too. And I've watched them do it:(

    The trick apparently is to get your pal/partner in crime to take a firm grip behind the ears. You then duck down a bit & wriggle and ... VOILA! Mask removed in one piece!

    Now can someone please tell me how the pony can get out of a rug with all the buckles and surcingles still fastened?

  24. What about shrink wrap? :-)

  25. Could you get a fly mask with a neck on it? Or do you have any handy friends who could make one for you?