This is a two topic post. First, I want to discuss the very real and current issue of flies- what horse fly spray is best and other helpful fly products. Secondly, I’ll give a quick update on the the bridge debacle from our ride last night.
How have flies been for everyone this year? They are really emerging in my area, especially since we’ve been getting a ton of rain. I HATE flies with a fiery passion so I’ve been stocking up on all the necessary fly gear. I just got my 2nd fly related order from Corro this week and this what I landed on:
These things (Starbar fly traps) are AMAZING. Anyone else use these with great success? We hang them in the stalls (about 6 inches from the ground works best) and throughout the barn. They REALLY cut down on flies in the barn. I just threw away three last night that were so full of flies they were BLACK inside. Disgusting.
I go back and forth on what fly spray works best. I used to be a die hard Pyranha user (the aerosol version) and although I still love it, I don’t think it LASTS. It’s good for the length of a ride, but I don’t think it works well in turnout from what I’ve observed. Also, now that my cross ties are outside and not in a barn, the aerosol is hard to spray when there is any wind, I feel like most of it gets blown away. My next 2 favorites are Endure and Ultrashield. Both claim to last ages (14 and 17 days respectively, although I think that’s *ahem* horse shit. I keep buying both, because I really can’t decide which is better. The Ultrashield is a few bucks more, so this time I went with the Endure. Would LOVE to hear y’alls thoughts on which is best, maybe it’ll help me decide! For now, my routine is Pyrhana pre-ride, and then whichever bottle of the Ultrashield or Endure is handy for a post rinse spray down before going back in the pasture.
Outside of fly spray, I am trying one new product this summer:
This is a UV coat protectant spray from the same company that makes the pink coat moisturizer that nearly won my coat spray comparison, but really did win when it came to price. Rio got pretty bleached out last summer, so I figure I’d throw this into the grooming routine to see what happens. It’s supposed to protect against UV-A and UV-B sun rays and I plan to liberally spray his coat, forelock, and upper tail before he goes back out after rides. I might even twist my mom’s arm into reapplying occasionally on the days I don’t ride. We will see at the end of the summer if this helped at all. Picture of his current coat condition for reference:
Ok onto the bridge debacle. If you saw my instagram story last night you will already know, but here is a quick summary:
I took Rio out for a quick hack yesterday evening. The weather was cool and it hadn’t rained for 48 hours. Since there is a cement option throughout the trails, I figured I could just walk on that in the areas where the grass was too saturated. I was really looking forward to a nice easy ride, and thinking that it would be the day we conquered the bridge. I really felt confident that if I stuck to my guns I could get him over.
The first sign of trouble was when I couldn’t even get him onto the head of the trail. This is where the real road ends and the narrow cement path begins. This area is not usually an issue, but it was a 5 minute struggle before Rio decided to go. We trotted a bit until we got about 150 ft away from the bridge, then he slammed on the breaks. Full of determination, I laid my crop down firmly behind my leg and told Rio in no uncertain terms that we were going over that bridge today.
Rio’s response(I imagine):
One day I am going to have to get video for y’all, because I am out of ideas. After quite the struggle and zero progress, I dismounted and lead him forward. Midway onto the bridge (it’s not long, maybe 20-25ft), I mounted. From the ground. Which is something I’ve never done with him and wasn’t sure if I could. Reminder: Rio is a solid 18+ hands tall. We stood on the bridge for a bit and then walked off (towards the trails). Then I turned him to cross it again towards home (no issue). We got about 10 ft away from the bridge and I went to turn him again to go back over it. I was again met with refusal.
At my wits end, and not that far from the bridge, I backed him onto it. It worked! I guess that’s sort of a success, but it really didn’t feel like it if I’m being honest. Even worse, on the way home after our ride he balked at it for a couple minutes before acquiescing. He usually NEVER has issues crossing it towards home, so now I feel like the issue is getting worse and not better.
Me when he started to balk at the bridge on the way home:
I feel that I have done everything as a rider that I can think of to conquer this issue. At this point I think I need help. I may ask my friend (and Rio’s former trainer) Megan to come attempt the bridge. She is a fabulous pro h/j trainer, and maybe she can do something that I am not. Until that happens, my friend Claire had an idea that I think I like. Instead of riding him down to the bridge and getting off when he balks, which I feel like just confirms the bad behavior) I might just walk him down to the trail and over the bridge before ever mounting. I feel like this avoids the issue completely. He doesn’t get a chance to say no, and I don’t have to struggle every ride. Is this a perfect solution? Probably not. But… it’s what I got at the moment. I want to enjoy our lovely hacks, and not have an argument every ride.