JUNE 2020 THE RIDER /27 ^Between The Ears^

tion and some might actu- ally be increasing attraction. There seems to be no

end to fancy fly sheets and turnout blankets that come in a variety of weight, fab- ric, coverage and colours. An often overlooked consid- eration in selecting the best option for your horse is the colour, sheen and that some patterns are enough to get your horse causing a stam- pede out on turnout. Insects have been noted to have colour preferences among other things such as scents, carbon dioxide, movement etc., and we should also avoid


By Ellie Ross. With Spring time here

and Summer ahead comes the warmer temperatures, sun shine and insects. Bit- ing insects are pesky, un- comfortable and vectors of viruses, bacteria, parasites etc.

The fly protection op- tions for horses are a big

market and every year this seems to expand but how much consideration goes into the science of repelling insects with their never end- ing list of options in ap- parel? Looking at some of the options available it would appear some sheets are more of a fashion state- ment than they are proactive in providing some protec-


grooming as well as laundry products.

• Stinging insects such as wasps, bees etc., are natu- rally attracted to yellow but they are also attracted to fruit

and bright

flowers/colours. Perhaps one needs to avoid these in a horse sheet when seeing the cute apple covered pat- tern or the high visibility yellow? Nothing is worse than wasps crawling under a sheet and getting trapped there.

• Mosquitoes are attracted to heat retaining colours so dark blue, black and brown are very appealing to them. In addition, dark coloured horses are more desirable than light coloured horses.

• Gnats are most attracted to bright colours and consider- ation might also be given to changing your lighting to orange sodium coloured bulbs.

to battle and also the most persistent. Of all


colours, blue seems to be the most appealing to deer flies but movement is the overall biggest attractant. I

very attracted to dark blue and moving objects. Carbon dioxide is an attractant as well, like it is for many of the biting bugs, but we can’t hold our breath so we

What is the Best Fly Sheet Choice For Our Horses?

• No-see-ums sure are an- noying but did you know that one particular type of this midge is actually re- sponsible for chocolate? So before you go wishing they would all die, know that that would mean giving up chocolate as the single midge is the only pollinator of the cocoa plant.

• Black flies have colour preferences too. The least favourite horse colour of the black fly is light grey! The preference for them was the same as mosquitoes but when offered a middle range colour, their second choice was reds and greens.

• Deer flies have to be one of the most annoying insects

have yet to find any product that repels deer flies. Two sided tape on helmets and the crown of bridles (be sure to braid or band mane/fore- lock) most certainly can be effective in at least trapping them when they land. This insect is only out in daylight hours so thankfully horses get a break from them once the sun goes down. There are claims that deer flies and other insects as well, are sensitive to peppermint, lavender and citronella. I have found that sponging or spraying my horse (avoid eyes) with diluted mint smelling liniment, has helped in the reduction of attracting insects.

• Horse flies appear to be

can’t really hide from them. Wood smoke is also an at- tractant and they are most active during sunlight par- ticularly at high noon. Why is that?

An interesting study

was done by Horvath et al. 2010, where they studied the attractants of horseflies and concluded that the light grey (referenced as white) horses were the least attrac- tive of all the horse colours. Was it actually the colour? This study might be proving that it is not essentially the colour that the horseflies are attracted to, but the amount of polarizing light. It is this light that the horseflies use to track down their prey for their food source, a blood meal courtesy of your horse. The darker horses had

3.7 times more horseflies than the light greys but it turned out not to be the ac- tual colour. Pieces of matte cloth were used of both light and dark colours. Interest- ingly enough, the colour made no difference and ap- peared to be of no interest to

the horseflies. However, when the cloth was covered in a shiny transparent sheet, there was sudden interest in the darker one. To further study this, three model horses were covered in a shiny sticky substance. The darker horse models clearly had far more flies stuck to them than the white horse model and the densest areas were the highest light re- flecting parts ,which were the rump and hindquarters. This is one of the reasons why it is very important that horses have access to shade in the warmer months. It could also be why your horse likes to roll in the dirt as this would reduce its abil- ity to reflect light. Based on this informa-

tion I would conclude that the best choice for a fly sheet would be one that is solid white or light grey in colour, with a matte finish and no scent (laundry prod- ucts). Something also to consider in your own ap- parel.

Ottawa, Ont., May 27, 2020 – In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hu- mane Canada™ and Hill’s Pet Nutrition Canada are ex- cited to announce a first of its kind partnership to sup- port animal welfare organi- zations across the country. Hill’s Pet Nutrition

and Humane Canada value the lifesaving work that an- imal welfare organizations and animal care and control agencies perform every day. To help them continue their essential work during these difficult and uncertain times, they have partnered to offer small operating grants to help these organi- zations get through disrup- tions

caused by the

pandemic. The grants will help support the following key areas:

● Veterinary care for in- shelter and foster pets

●Adoption programs ● Foster programs

● Operational expenses ● Community support The pandemic has re-

duced funds available to an- imal shelters, especially

Humane Canada™ Partners With Hill’s Pet Nutrition Canada To Provide Disaster Relief Grants To Canadian Animal Welfare Organizations Impacted By COVID-19 ABOUT

smaller organizations. Most are non-profit organizations whose sources of funding are dependent on interaction with

people through

fundraising events, donor support, adoption fees or large scale adoption events. Over the last few months, those sources of financial support have been nega- tively impacted, as stay home orders kept people closer to home and mindful of their resources. “Hill’s has a long his-

tory of supporting animal shelters through our Food, Shelter & Love program and Disaster Relief Net- work. Over the last eight weeks, we’ve donated Hill’s products to support pets in need but, the financial im- pact shelters have felt as a result of the pandemic means we must do more.” said Jennifer Porter, General Manager of Hill’s Pet Nutri- tion Canada. ”Humane Canada’s deep connections within the animal welfare community, creates a natu- ral partnership that will allow us to quickly distrib-

ute this assistance to shelters that need it most.” Grant applications will

be accepted from May 26, 2020 through 11:59 PM EDT June 2, 2020. Grants will be awarded to success- ful applicants in amounts ranging from $2,500 to $15,000. Eligible applicants can visit Hill’s Support for Shelters to learn more and/or apply. “As the national feder-

ation of humane societies and SPCAs, Humane Canada has made it a prior- ity to preserve the social safety net for animals during the current crisis,” said Bar- bara Cartwright, CEO of Humane Canada. “We can ensure the most vulnerable beings of our society, ani- mals, are protected during the pandemic thanks to part- nerships with organizations such as Hill’s Pet Nutrition Canada.” Humane

thanks Hill’s for its contin- ued proven commitment and support for animals in our country, particularly during these trying times.


CANADA™ Humane Canada convenes Canada’s largest animal welfare com- munity, representing 52 hu- mane societies and SPCAs across Canada. As Canada’s voice for animal welfare, we drive positive, progressive change to end animal cru- elty, improve animal protec- tion and promote the humane treatment of all an- imals. We explore how law enforcement, social serv- ices, community organiza- tions and animal welfare organizations can more ef- fectively work together to address preventable vio- lence in communities across Canada. To learn more about Humane Canada, please

visit Canada Humane Canada’s social networks: Twitter: @humanecanada F a c e b o o k : F a c e b o o k . c o m / h u - manecanada Instagram: In- a ABOUT HILL’S PET NU- TRITION Founded more than 75 years ago with an unwavering commitment to

pet nutrition, Hill’s mission is to help enrich and lengthen the special rela- tionships between people and their pets. Hill’s is ded- icated to pioneering re- search and groundbreaking nutrition for dogs and cats based on a scientific under- standing of their specific needs. HILL’S® Prescrip- tion Diet® therapeutic pet foods and HILL’S® Science Diet® wellness pet foods are sold through veterinari-

ans and pet specialty retail- ers worldwide. Hill’s cre- ated the Hill’s Food, Shelter & Love program in 2002 to provide shelter dogs and cats with nutrition that will help make them healthy, happy and ready to join their forever home. Since its in- ception, the Hill’s Food, Shelter & Love Program has provided over $295 million worth of Hill’s® brand pet foods to over 1,000 animal shelters, helping more than

11 million pets across North America find new homes. For more information about Hill’s, our products and our nutritional philosophy, visit us at, Hill’s Pet Nutrition’s social networks:

Twitter: Face- book: hill- spet hillspet Instagram:

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