Summer time brings along the much-dreaded fly season. And that’s when every horse owner is found looking for the best home remedies to keep flies away from his horse. The sunny days bring along a large number of flies which, more often than not, carry infectious diseases and can cause irritation to the horses by constantly biting them.
Thus, in order to keep the horses safe and comfortable, the owners need to apply effective remedies to keep flies away from horses. There are quite a few ways through which owners can control and minimize the number of flies which will be discussed in this article.
Home-Made Fly Spray for Horses
Although you can find countless fly sprays for your horse in the market but a do-it-yourself home spray with natural ingredients is a safe and cheap option. In particular if your horse is sensitive, you may need to consider one of the methods below to create a chemical-free spray at home.
Apple Cider Vinegar Spray
Get a spray bottle and put two cups of apple cider vinegar in it, then put one tablespoon of Mineral oil followed by half a tablespoon of dish soap in the mixture.
Lastly, add thirty to forty drops of any combination of oils such as Eucalyptus, Lemon Grass, Lavender, Tea Tree, Basil, Peppermint and Cedar wood. Gently shake the mixture and spray it on your horse while protecting its eyes and nose when required.
There is a quicker fix for this recipe when you do not feel very experimental and want a quick solution. Get natural apple cider vinegar, dilute it with water, add 1 tablespoon of eucalyptus oil and you are done.
Lemon and Rosemary Spray
This last recipe of homemade fly spray includes one big lemon, rosemary and water. Slice the lemon in half and cover it with boiling water. Put some rosemary finely in the mixture. Leave it overnight and then strain the solution in the morning. Put the fragrant spray in a spray bottle and apply when required.
All these recipes are budget friendly, easy to create at home and produce great results. So, go ahead and try one of them to keep the fly away from your horses.
Herbs that Keep Flies Away from Horses
Getting rid of flies is a tedious task. But luckily, there are many plants that flies hate.
Basil is one of the most favored herbs when it comes to repelling flies. Basil leaves release a very subtle fragrance that is disliked by the flies and keeps them away. You can use potted basil plants near your house barn and water their roots to release a stronger fragrance.
Moreover, bay leaves and lavender are two more herbs that produce fragrances that repel flies. Another useful and cheap herb is mint that does a good job to keep pests at bay. You can keep crushed mint leaves near the horses to keep the flies away. Rue leaves in crushed form can also be quite effective but you need to be very careful while dealing with them because they can cause skin irritation.
In addition, neem is really useful as well since it is non-toxic but has a very strong bitter taste. You can spray it on your horse or can even add it to your horse’s feed. The bitter taste would stop the flies from returning or biting your horses.
Lastly, you can use peppermint to keep your horse cool and reduce sweating. This can also contribute in keeping the flies away.
Horse Dietary Changes to Keep Flies Away
Horse owners can add natural supplements in their horse’s diet to make a fly repellent diet. One of the most popular ways is to add garlic in your horse’s feed.
Garlic is naturally a rich source of Sulphur and it stimulates an alkaline pH in the body whereas flies are more drawn to acidic environments. Garlic is also healthy for the horse in small measured quantities.
Start by sprinkling one tablespoon of garlic powder and see how your horse reacts to it. Gradually increase the amount to 2 tablespoons each day, not exceeding this as a large dosage can have adverse effects on your horse. With a regular dose of garlic powder, you will start seeing noticeable results in one week.
Moreover, apple cider vinegar can be a convenient addition to your horse’s water trough. It can have a positive impact on the overall health of your horse as it reduces the chance of bacteria and increases digestion.
The vinegar drunk by the horse is mostly sweated out through its skin. It then acts as a natural protector for the horse. One cup of apple cider vinegar can be added to a few gallons of water to see effective results. Moreover, herbs such as peppermint as mentioned above can also be added to the diet to lower the body temperature and reduce sweating.
Lastly, diatomaceous earth can also be added in minute quantities in the feed. It is safe to eat but should be still treated with caution. You should discuss with your vet about the safe quantities of diatomaceous earth for your horse.
Tips for Keeping Flies Away from Your Horse
We have discussed some natural home remedies that can help keep flies away from your horse, but there are still some other useful tips and techniques that can protect your horses from those nasty flies.
Use Fly Sprays
One of the most popular ways to keep flies away from your hoses is to use fly sprays. You can create your own do it yourself fly spray for horses at home as mentioned above or just purchase a fly repellent spray.
The sprays carry repellent fragrances that are spread throughout the barn. It is not a fool-proof solution of getting rid of the flies but is quick and effective.
A safe way to apply a fly spray on a horse is by putting it on a grooming mitt and then applying it carefully on its body and face. Make sure you do not spray or apply it on the eyes. If the spray accidentally comes in contact with the eyes, then quickly rinse them with water.
Buy a Fly Mask
In addition to fly repellent sprays, fly masks for horses can also be used which are made of see-through mesh and are a very effective means of keeping flies away.
Fly masks have many different styles and sizes that can help protect you horse’s eyes, nose, ears and face. You need to select the mask very carefully as the wrong fit can cause irritation to your horse and make him uncomfortable.
Make sure the edge of the mask reaches below the cheekbones of your horse. Also check if the horse can move around its ears in the mask and listen without rubbing on anything.
Finally, make sure there is enough space in the see-through mesh for the horse’s eyelashes. If you do not find the right fit of fly mask, it would not be very effective and might even harm your horse’s eyes.
Dispose of Manure
Many flies are attracted to horses due to their manure. Most of the flies are born near the horses and continue increasing in number.
A stable fly can use manure as its breeding spot and can produce eggs in it. By eliminating the larval stage, which requires fresh manure, we can break the life cycle of the fly which will result in a lesser number of flies.
A sanitation routine should be established in which manure should be cleaned at least once a day from paddocks. It should then be stored properly in sealed containers or should be covered with clear plastic and composted appropriately to avoid hatching of the eggs.
Manure in pastures should be spread out widely so that it can dry off quickly and hatching can be prevented. The quicker you dispose the manure and clean the paddocks, the lesser the chance there is of fly breeding.
Groom and Clean Your Horse Regularly
Grooming your horse can also be really beneficial in reducing the number of flies hovering it. Wash and clean your horse regularly while making sure that the grooming equipment is also clean. Do not cut its hair, instead, let your horse’s mane and bangs grow. This can help it to whisk away flies and can also protect it against fly bites.
Similarly, do not braid the tail and keep it tangle-free and straight. The tail can act as a natural fly swatter and keep the flies at a distance. You should also let the protective hair on your horse’s locks, muzzle, eyes and ears grow longer as this can further act as a protection for its face.
FAQs About Keeping Flies Away from a Horse
If you are not interested in reading the entire article and just want answers to some specific questions, do not worry. You can get a complete solution by reading these precisely answered frequently asked questions here.
How to make a homemade fly spray for a horse?
There are a number of sprays available in the market but a do it yourself horse spray at home is always the safest and cheapest option. You can start making the spray by taking an empty spray bottle. Put an equal amount of apple cider vinegar and water in it. Then put 1 tablespoon of mineral oil followed by forty drops of lavender or eucalyptus oil. Shake the mixture well and you are done. Make sure you keep spraying it every few hours because the water will dilute the mixture.
Does apple cider vinegar keep flies away from a horse?
Apple cider vinegar acts as an excellent repellent for flies. It can either be applied on your horse directly or can be added to the diet. You need to add one cup of apple cider vinegar in a few gallons of water. The vinegar is not dangerous as it is mostly sweated out of the horse’s body and acts as a natural repellent for flies.
Flies absolutely hate the smell of apple cider vinegar which is why it is used in many homemade fly sprays, just like the ones that are mentioned above. Just make sure you dilute it before applying to the horse’s body directly as it may cause irritation in its concentrated form. Moreover, be careful not to spray it in the horse’s eyes or nose. If it accidentally goes into your horse’s eye, quickly rinse it with ample water.
What is the best natural repellent for horses?
Apple cider vinegar is a great repellent for flies but there are many amazing herbs that can keep the flies away from your horses. Basil, bay leaves and lavender produce a very strong fragrance that is hated by the flies and keeps them away. You can grow these plants in pots and keep them near your horses or their barns.
You can water the root of the basil plants which will help them increase a stronger fragrance, keeping the flies at bay. Moreover, if you do not want to keep potted plants near your horses, you can also dry their leaves and crush them in a bowl. Just keep the bowl near the horses and you are done.
What fly repellents can I use for my horse?
There are a number of fly repellents available in the market. But if your horse is sensitive, it is always better to use natural home remedies to keep the flies away. One of the best ways to keep the flies away is to make a fly spray at home by using apple cider vinegar and tea tree oil. Flies hate the smell of apple cider vinegar and tend to stay away from it. Similarly, you can also use natural herbs and plants such as garlic, basil, rue leaves and lavender. These plants produce strong fragrances that are disliked by the flies. Neem can also be sprayed on the horses. It has a bitter taste and acts as a good remedy to keep flies away from your horse.