I went after a deal.

You know… you go to the feed store (or online) to get a nice fly mask for your older mare who needs  to shade her weary eyes from the sun…

…and then you see it:


You say to yourself that you should just get what you always get because you know that your regular brand fits her and you know she prefers the expensive kind with the soft edges, darts for her eyes and a hole for her forelock…

But, the ‘deal’ looks fine and it is half the price!  Heck, it says it has “heat reflecting gray material” and  “Ultra Durable Rip-Shield (patented) Construction.”

Do not buy this.  It doesn't keep its shape.  It inverted on my mare's eyes and caused severe irritation.

Do not buy this. It doesn’t keep its shape. It inverted on my mare’s eyes and caused severe irritation.



I arrived home and put the bargain flymask on MamaTess – and then left to do other things.

I didn’t check on Tess or the flymask because… I usually don’t have to.

Usually, I put all the flymasks on at breakfast and take them all off at dinner.

That’s what I did yesterday.

So, at dinner, when I removed the flymask –


Her eyes were swollen and the tissue of her undereyes (where you put the eyeliner if it was us) was huge, red and inflamed.  It looked like hamburger.

I felt sick and horribly upset with myself.  Evidently, the fabric had inverted at some point and there were several spots where the fabric was rubbing on her eye.

I’m sure it felt like when you have an ingrown eyelash – except waaaay worse.

Clearly this purchase was not a good decision.

Poor girl.


I ran and got my house phone so I could make a call and grabbed my cell phone to take a photo.

While on with the vet, he had me run back to the house so I could use the internet to send to him a photo of her eyes.

I did.

He asked if I had any of the “eye – fly ointment you use all summer for her”.

I ran back to the barn to rummage like a fool through my cupboard.


(I have to label all of the eye ointments because I forget which ones are which – steroids are only good for one kind of eye issue, but not every kind so I have to be careful…  This one I called, “SAFE FLIES –  not for swollen eye”)

This is what I used to treat her and she was fine by the next morning.

This is what I used to treat her and she was fine by the next morning.

“Well, put that in both eyes and see what happens in the morning.  I want to make sure she didn’t scratch her corneas.”

And that was that.

In the morning, her eyes were both normal.

No cornea scratches.



I could not find the darn thing.  I had removed it – but once I saw MamaTess’ eyes, I couldn’t  remember what I did with it.

I wanted to find it to see how it was shaped – so I could figure out how many points were touching her eyes.

And then I saw…

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HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!


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Two of the happy drafts from Blue Star Equiculture who need help with their huge hay bill. Please click image to learn more about the drafts at BSE and to donate!





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HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

4 comments have been posted...

  1. Audrey

    I’m confused by what your vet recommended. Dexamethazone is a steroid. It should not be used if there is any suspicion of a corneal ulcer until you know for sure. I’m concerned he would have you do that to rule out an ulcer, since it would be much contraindicated if she had one. Steriods are used to treat inflammation -a nonsteroidal med would have to be used if one was treating inflammation concurrent with an ulcer. Are you sure that the tube you used matched the outside of the box? A similar looking ointment that is safe for ulcers is Bacitracin-Neomycin-Polymixin, a triple antibiotic. I worked for an eye vet for years and sometimes that was the case if an ulcer would not heal or became worse. I’m glad she got better -not a fan of those masks, either.

  2. Morgan Griffith

    Best thing that could have happened to that mask. Cross posted so that this does not happen to another horse. Glad your horse was OK. Scary

  3. Joanne

    Wow! Sorry you had such a problem with that mask! I’ve used them for years without incident. I did, however, buy a bunch of the more expensive, cute masks with sunglasses and eyes and the like painted on them, and one of my horses turned out to be allergic, presumably to the dye used. The others were all fine. Horses will always manage to find a way to torture their keepers!

  4. Kathryn Baker

    thanks so much for the warning about the flymask. you should write or call the people who make it to let them know what happened to prevent it from happening to other horses.

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