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I'm a children's author. Animals are a constant source of writing material for me. They are also my heart!

Tango and I Don't Like Her!

>> Monday, August 10, 2009

She's not nice.

No she's not. Not one little bit. She may look colorful and interesting but she's a horsefly through and through.
Just today, I went to the pasture to bring Tango inside and a horsefly (just like the one in the photo) landed on Tango's right rump and started biting the heck out of him. I was leading Tango from his left side, so I couldn't get to this foul fly...although I was contorting my body to give it my best shot.
Tango tried to be a gentleman and not jump sideways on my foot, but it was hard. This evil little fly was biting Tango so hard she was drawing blood. Tango was getting more and more exasperated and who could blame him?
Finally, in desperation, I let go of the lead rope and sprang into action. Tango stood still. I got to his right side and planned my strategy. If the fly caught wind of me, she'd move. If she didn't, I could give her a good hard whack and get her back for what she was doing to Tango. I waited quietly.
Tango's body was quivering. His tail was trying to do the same thing as me...kill the dratted horsefly. But this horsefly was persistent. She eluded his tail. She ignored his quivering body. She bit longer and harder until it happened.
S M A C K ! ! ! I GOT HER.
If I wasn't already Tango's favorite person, I am now. I defended his honor (not to mention his rump). We went on to have a fine ride together. After our ride I hosed Tango off. Then because I know that horseflies adore wet horses, I stood Tango in front of a fan until he was dry.
After that I sprayed my boy all over with fly spray. Hopefully the spray will work for long enough for Tango to stay outside for another couple hours. I'll probably go get him and take him inside and away from the enemy after that. Maybe we can plan our new horsefly attack strategy then!
Every single animal I've ever had has had its enemy. I've been pretty lucky with fleas this year. How about you? Do you have horror stories too?


BRUTUS August 10, 2009 at 6:25 PM  

Ugh - I HATE those things, especially the black-eyed ones (at least the greenies are slower). I'm always afraid if I miss, they'll slap me back... I think they send out a scout & get word back to the colony if they find fresh blood! They used to follow me on trail rides, could keep up at a full gallop & land as soon as you stop. Again, ugh, I HATE those things!!
No fleas for us, but the ticks are bad here in Ohio. My dad's dog (a rescue greyhound) had one about a month ago - he thought it was a tumor & was embarrassed when the vet said what it really was. It was the size of the tope joint of my pinkie finger. Yuck-o!!

Good luck with the flies, Tango!!

Michelle & Brutus

Ms. ~K August 10, 2009 at 6:32 PM  

I certainly enjoyed my visit to your blog and will return!

TC August 10, 2009 at 8:12 PM  

One got in the house last night and got caught somewhere, I hoped the noise was it, sounded like a baby rattlesnake.

DollsAndSpooks August 10, 2009 at 8:40 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
DollsAndSpooks August 10, 2009 at 8:41 PM  

I thought it was just an ordinary fly, I didn't know that it also sucks blood. The only flies I have encountered with are those who are just pesky, swarming all over something rotten. I will make sure to visit your blog often now since I also love animals. Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope we can become friends!

p.s. i had to delete the first comment, there was a misspelling, hehehehe

Tweedles -- that's me August 10, 2009 at 9:23 PM  

I hate bugs. Every bug there is. Big or little. But the yellow jackets and big hornets are the ones that come charging after me!
They hear me outside and here they come!
Those big horse flys get on my mom. They think she is a horse!

Two French Bulldogs August 10, 2009 at 9:49 PM  

Ohhh!!! we're scared of that thing
Benny & Lily

The Adventures of the LLB Gang August 10, 2009 at 9:52 PM  

That IS scary!!!


CATachresis August 11, 2009 at 4:54 AM  

WD Jan on defending Tango!

I think ticks are among the worst as they carry Lyme disease and are enemies of animals and humans. There are a lot worse out there, but these little blighters are tiny and really get stuck in! The damage they can do is long term and debilitating if not caught and removed in time.

Sandy August 11, 2009 at 7:46 AM  

Congrats Jan, glad you got the sucker, poor Tango. I didn't know they went after horses more when they were wet, so after a rain or humid days, or after sweating from a ride they're worse? The barn needs some of those zapper things to help all the horses...or would that work?

I'm pretty excited to hear you killed it, folks this is so not my Dear SIL; she loves all creatures. It's a great picture by the way. You're doing good. Now...question, how do you know it was a she? Do she ones bite and he ones don't?

Catachresis is right about the ticks being a health risk. The year my daughter was a camp counselor in a Girl Scout Camp in Connecticut (the worse place for them in country according to the Camp Director), one of her jobs was checking her kids daily for ticks. Top it off with the fact they slept in tents not in cabins. She lived in a tent the entire summer.


Jan Mader August 11, 2009 at 10:33 AM  

Females have more color than males...just like birds and lots of other insects.

I don't know if only females bite or not...I just know the one that got my Tango pony was a she for sure.

Thank goodness they're only around for about 30 days...then they're gone. When you see horses standing tail to tail it's for a reason. They're using tails to help keep flies off each other!

T August 11, 2009 at 11:15 AM  

Good for you for protecting Tango from that darn fly!! I hate bugs, all creepy crawlies, and most flying beetles. We do get horseflies, but very rarely. We are very fortunate here in the desert, as we don't get fleas or ticks, and very rarely any mosquitos!!

E August 11, 2009 at 12:09 PM  

That is one ugly bug/fly. Those eyes! Only 30 days, I didn't know that. Learn new things everyday

Honeygo Beasley August 11, 2009 at 1:25 PM  

Yes, that is one ugly bug! We're doing good over here from a pest standpoint. Chloe hasn't been bit - but I have (bee).

Anonymous August 11, 2009 at 6:35 PM  

Ack, horseflies are the worst! Only the females suck blood (males sustain themselves on nectar) but blood isn't necessary for the females to lay eggs. It's just a protein source for them. Ugh.

I remember scraping fly eggs off the front and back legs of my horse with a pocket knife all summer long, it seemed. The horsefly population dramatic decreased dramatically once the frosts came and both me and my horse were relieved.

Debie August 14, 2009 at 12:01 AM  

Jan, I love your blog and have added it to the favorites link on my blog. I especially love the enthusiasm you have for what you do. I really look forward to future posts.

Lillian Robinson August 16, 2009 at 12:09 PM  

I remember watching Nekoda battling a horse fly once... She turned to nip at it, catching my attention. She then walked over to stand beside Buddy, gave a shake to release the fly, then trotted off, leaving the horse fly behind. Smart girl. Poor Buddy!

ocmist August 17, 2009 at 5:01 AM  

What a colorful fly! Our horseflies (the big ones we call horseflies around here) are about an inch long and black with a white top. Those are really NASTY suckers that drive a horse nuts if they see them! They do tend to come out more if I've given one of the horses a bath, too. If they get in a good hard bite, they leave a welt that is about an inch around and 1/4 inch high!

We also have to be careful about the bot flies that lay eggs on the horse's legs. I assume that those are the ones SeaWolf2 was talking about having to scrape off with a knife. We also have to use wormer to get rid of the stomach bot worms that they cause.

The ones we are having the most trouble with, though, are very small black ones that congregate in big quantities under our horse's bellies. These leave big bloody spots unless horsefly sprays are used regularly. They seem to gather where you put a cinch, and just in front of a male horse's sheath. You can't ride... or at least I wouldn't ride... when they had made a sore where the cinch goes.

I found a sort of natural horsefly spray that has worked pretty well for us. Mix 4 oz. Avon Skin so Soft Bathoil, 1 tbs.(1 oz.) pure Eucalyptus oil, 1 c. water, and 2 c. vinegar. This is the U.S. Forest Service Bug Spray Recipe, and has worked really well for several days at a time on my horses. Smells good too! Wouldn't put it on open sores, though... Linda (OC's Mom)

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