This is Drifter trying on his new fly sheet. He’s allergic to many commercial fly sprays (I haven’t yet found one he can use), we have to use home-made stuff which isn’t as effective, and so I decided a better fly sheet was needed, especially as flies really like black horses and I think it’s going to be a really fly-y year for us. This is an Amigo bug-buster which is impregnated with a fly repellent he isn’t allergic to (I know this because he’s been happily using the fly mask with it for several years). It has generous coverage (as you can see!) and nice belly coverage. The fit is not perfect – it’s a little narrow in the chest for him, a little long in the back and the neck is massive. Because the fit wasn’t great on him I called a staff member over to check she thought it was OK. She agreed that getting another size wouldn’t really work for him, and expressed concern that he might get caught in the long leg covers and rip them. While I accept there is some risk there, I’m not going to worry too much because he’s not particularly accident prone and he’s not a horse that panics overly if he gets caught in things. He either waits for a human to rescue him or puts on his thinking cap and calmly works out how to free himself.
Anyway, the staff member continued, he’ll probably be fine – his stuff doesn’t usually get ripped because it’s always him ripping other horses’ gear. This was news to me, but apparently for a few days they trialed him and his regular turn-out companion going out with a new pony. D is subordinate to his regular companion but apparently dominant over the pony, and he is expressing this mostly by removing things from the pony. Apparently he took the pony’s fly mask off him each day. This pony is notoriously difficult to catch, and so is turned out in a head-collar. One day Drifter took his fly mask off him and then his head collar too. The horses are only going out for a few hours in the morning at the moment to save the fields, but that day the pony was out until evening because without the head-collar no one could catch him, so despite everyone’s best efforts he stayed out until he wanted to come in for evening feed time! When I heard this story I was really suprised by my usually polite horse, although I have noticed he is a bit full of himself at the moment. I felt a bit embarrassed but there’s really nothing I can do. I’m pleased in a way that finally D’s not at the bottom of the pecking order but I wish he was just expressing it with body language!
I was not surprised, a few days later, to see that Drifter and his companion are out together, with the pony in a small adjoining separately fenced area, so they can all see each other, but no head-collar removal can occur!