I’m sure i’m not the only horse-owner who wishes the horse flies would fly away – far away from my horses! They cause such irritation to the horses, especially when the flies land on hard-to-reach places (like the chest) to settle and bite the horse.
There are lots of fly sprays available to buy to help deter flies from horses, but they can vary a lot in their ingredients – from synthetically made to natural solutions. Then there are sprays and gels. One of my horses isn’t keen on sprays, so it’s the fly-gel for that one.
Here’s what I find helps my horses to cope with the flies:
- Use a fly-rug. Although doesn’t provide entire coverage of the whole body/legs, a good fly rug keeps the majority of flies off the body. It’s definitely pleasing to see the flies on the rug, but not actually biting the horse! Anything that reduces the irritation has to got to be good for our loved horses.
- Use a fly-mask. I did used to use a fly-fringe but as I don’t leave headcollars on in the field any more, that’s not such a practical idea. Either way, they help to protect the eyes from the flies which is vital. Without a mask, Tara rubs her eyes on her legs and then ends up with puffy and runny eyes, which then causes other flies to bother the face more.
- Have good shelter in the field. My horses love the field shelters, for when the flies get too much, it gives them some respite. Also, good hedgerows that offer shade are also helpful for the horses to shelter under from the worst of the flies.
- Find a fly-repellent that works for your horse. Some definitely seem to work better with different horses. Even if Tara or her equine companions have a fly rug on, they still now have fly spray or fly gel on their legs and bellies – basically anywhere that’s still exposed, so the flies have less of a reason to land on the horse and bite. My favourite fly repellent has citronella in, but my preference is always the ones that use natural ingredients and are good for skin health.
- Feed supplements can be helpful too….garlic is reputed to help deter flies, so Tara has it in her breakfast. It doesn’t deter them completely, however, maybe they’d be worse if she didn’t have it?!
- Keep the fields and stables clean. If your shelters/stables and fields are kept regularly poo-picked, then it can help reduce the number of midges/flies buzzing around. Likewise, try not to have your muck heap too close to turnout and stabling areas.
& lastly, I should say don’t forget ourselves! I find if the horse flies can’t bite the horses, they end up trying to bite me! So wearing long sleeved tops and trousers can be better to avoid skin being too exposed to the flies, and of course we can wear some of our own human fly repellents too!
Do you have any top tips for helping your horse from the flies?
Until next time,
best wishes, Suzanne
ps – remember you can get more holistic animal health info by visiting my website at www.taranet.co.uk!