Thursday, June 29, 2017

d.i.y.: fly veil

The flies are terrible this year. I’m assuming from all the wet weather? Even trails far away from stables and animals are inundated with the nagging vermin. Poor Major tossed his head and I flapped my reins in his face (he knows I’m helping) through 10 miles last week.

I’d seen fly veils online, they’re cheap to buy. But why buy something for $6.99 when you can spend hours doing it yourself? (Plus, I’d end up buying even MORE stuff, because that’s always how it works.)

lacking in the forelock department
Ha! Actually I spent less than an hour. And all with stuff I already had. And customized. Win!

Gather supplies. I got together random string, velcro, elastic, scissors, thread, measuring tape. I ended up using just the velcro and paracord, but you could use elastic, shoelaces, baling twine, etc.

I measured the browband of my old bridle (my current bridle has no browband). I added a couple inches for good luck because it seemed sensible.

Make the velcro strips, making sure scratchy side doesn’t touch the horse. I took the two velcro pieces, attached so you have one scratchy and one fabric, stitched them together, and then attached them to the piece I used as a browband.

Cut the desired length, mine were 20”. I cut 10, some black and some orange, because it is what I had. I’d probably do a few more, but you can add more later too. (Now that I have tested it, I would add a few more.)

Tie them on by making a loop under the brow string, then pull the ends through. Arrange semi-evenly. And you’re almost done!

You can put a little glue if you feel your cord will come undone. It really depends on what material you’re using. I put a drop of gel superglue (best stuff ever) since the paracord wanted to slip around.

You can trim them all exactly, if that’s your thing. I just left it: close enough!

Carefully burn the ends if using paracord/nylon/etc. (Do not under any circumstances touch the smoldering cord to extinguish, therefore attaching molten nylon to your finger, leaving a nice burn. Yeah, don’t do that part.)

Now you’re done! Install on your bridle, and install on your horse. (Really though,  make sure your horse is ok with flappy string around their face. I take no responsibility if your horse freaks out because the tentacled monster is attacking him.)

Bonus: custom caterpillar! I found this little guy while working outside on this project, and he matches. So awesome.

Major was very bored with the whole "posing" thing. I did a test-ride in the super-fly zone (no, not superfly like “cool” but too many bothersome creatures). It worked great!


  1. Orange and black, perfect colors for the two of you! And your little visitor was awesome. What a good idea you had.

    1. Thanks. And simple. I like short-term projects.

  2. Ooh, this is a great idea! Thanks for sharing :)

    1. I can picture it customized to your lime green!!

  3. What kind of insects are you preventing with your veil? I think it might work on face flies but unfortunately not on horseflies, who attach themselves to the sides of the horses' faces by digging in with their knife-like mouthparts. Sort of like ticks.

    I've heard that one way to overcome fear of insects is to take up photography and do macros. I'm too scared of bugs to even try.

    Have you heard of bag worms? We have them on the sides of our house. I honestly could not tell if they were plants or animals until I saw the reproductive cycle and it blew my mind. I saw both the male emerge as a butterfly, and the babies emerge. They attach to my house windows so I can observe from a safe place *lol*

    1. Mostly face flies. We luckily don't have many horseflies! I have a steady horse though, and have hit horse flies with my reins, Major knows I'm helping!

      I love insects. As a kid I would catch different types and try to raise them. My father taught me a lot about them, and so very few are dangerous (to humans!). I guess I just learned everything has an important place, even the scary things. I haven't heard of your insect, I'll look them up. Maybe if you got a natural world book about insects, that would help?

    2. I had to inquire at a bug identification website to find out what kind of bug they are (and funnily there was a section on the site called, "Not actually bugs, but plants.")

      They are called bag worm moths, and as caterpillars, they disguise their bodies by their food sources, somehow attaching plants to their bodies. So depending on where they live in the world, they look totally different. There are some weird ones on YouTube. Ours look just like a bundle of sticks. They attach themselves to my windows and walls to pupate/bear young/breed. I watched as a beautiful transparent black butterfly came out of one, and I saw the female "cocoon" erupt into hundreds of tiny moving things (at this point I still thought it was a plant so I had no idea what I was witnessing). They had silk strands that they used to leave their now-eaten mother. The females never become moths. It took me forever to get an answer about what they are, the mystery was killing me: ) They are a pest if they get into your evergreens, I learned, but they don't seem to be damaging things here.

  4. I made one of these out of desperation years ago when I was packing for the FS in the Sierras. I used the pea cord I'd brought along for hanging my clothes!