Tallahassee FL (April 2013) – Did you know? One fly can carry over 33 million disease-causing microorganisms on the inner and outer surfaces of its body. Now, think of everything a fly crawls on in your barn and surrounding environment.
It’s a gnarly list of possibilities, not including other farms and horses it visited before landing at your address. Flies rarely travel far from where they were hatched, but can be lured by attractive odors and piggyback long distances on air currents in a quest for food and places to reproduce. While the philosophical question, “How many angels fit on the head of pin?” remains unanswered, these less-ethereal winged visitors gain entry into buildings through openings not much larger.
Flies transmit disease primarily because they feed on waste, decaying matter, and feces whose bacteria then sticks to its mouth, footpads and hairlike tendrils. Compound this with the fact that flies defecate roughly every four to five minutes and -- because they have no teeth -- take nourishment in liquid form, spewing vomitus or spittle laden with bacteria on solid food and letting it dissolve before eating, and the result is a perfect delivery system for infection.
It's enough to never let you look at flies the same way again, and more importantly, you don't want to look at them spitting and worse on your horse's legs. Is it any wonder why equine legs begin to look ravaged before summer has barely begun?
So in an effort to protect them, we opt for spraying gallons of insecticide or essential oil-based products on the animals we love in an effort to rid them of the ones we loathe. Unfortunately, flies elude the spray, our horses soak up chemicals they don't deserve, and we spend too much money on too many products wasted in pursuit of temporary, topical solutions.
Thankfully, Summer Whinnys™ socks for horses are taking equine leg protection to a whole new level. Raymond Petterson, president of Sox For Horses, Inc., originally created his summertime socks to protect his own horses' legs from biting flies and put an end to the concussive damage and psychological aggravation he saw from relentless stomping: “Their hooves were falling apart. A trim might last two weeks and then their hooves began to chip and tear as if they hadn’t been trimmed in months. I could almost see my older mare, Evie, who suffered from arthritis, wince with each stomp in her effort to shake them off.”
It wasn’t long before the Florida horseman delved into the science of fibers. “I knew that no matter how well a sock could offer fly protection, it also had to be cool and comfortable during the heat of the summer.”
Science led him to the moisture management fibers Sox For Horses still uses today to spin its custom yarns for Summer Whinnys™, fibers that draw moisture from the skin while simultaneously creating a cool environment around the leg. “I took the best moisture management fiber in the industry and put its technology to use on equine legs,” Petterson said. He also incorporated a fiber embedded with ionic copper and silver that would never wash out. The result was cool, breathable protection that offered a clean environment around the leg.
“Copper and silver ions inhibit the growth of bacteria, fungi, and mold in the socks. The more you wash them, the better the silver and copper work to keep sock fibers clean. For those wanting to keep the flies and dirt off open sores on legs, that’s important.”
Petterson didn’t stop there. Sox For Horses and its Summer Whinnys™ allow legs safe range of motion. “There is no unsafe level of compression to these socks. They may fall after a prolonged period of running around a pasture, but they aren’t going to hurt a horse if the socks slip. I also didn’t want them so thin that they could roll and create a 'rubber-band on the leg.' You have to think these things out very carefully when it comes to horses.”
Summer Whinnys™ are also safe on an owner's wallet. One inexpensive set of four wash and dry like average socks, yet bear the best science has to offer in wearable fly protection for horses. For more about Summer Whinnys™ call (850) 907-5724 or click www.soxforhorses.com .