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Fly Control for Horses: Choosing the Right Spray and Other Solutions

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Fly Spray for HorsesIf you’re a horse owner, you’re familiar with the pesky problem of flies. These annoying insects not only distract and irritate your horse, but they can also cause health issues.

Horse flies and gnats can cause skin irritations and infections, while mosquitoes are well-known carriers of diseases such as West Nile Virus. Fly control is essential for you and your horse’s well-being.

A good fly spray can make all the difference. Choosing the right fly spray for your horse might seem like a daunting task, with so many different products on the market.

Each spray has its own unique features and benefits, and finding the right one for your horse can be a challenge. This article aims to simplify the process by providing you with a comprehensive guide to choosing the right fly spray for your horse.

All-Natural Fly Sprays

If your horse has sensitive skin or you prefer natural solutions, an all-natural fly spray may be the perfect choice for you. These sprays contain essential oils and other natural ingredients that repel flies and other insects.

They’re also gentle on your horse’s skin, making them a great option for horses prone to skin irritations and allergies. When choosing an all-natural fly spray for your horse, look for one that contains essential oils such as citronella, lemongrass, and lavender.

These oils have natural insect-repelling properties and are safe for use on horses. Other ingredients such as neem oil, eucalyptus, and peppermint oil can also be effective.

Two excellent options for all-natural fly sprays are Absorbine UltraShield Green and Espree Aloe Herbal Horse Spray. Absorbine UltraShield Green contains a blend of natural oils such as thyme, cinnamon, and lemongrass, making it a potent and eco-friendly fly spray.

On the other hand, Espree Aloe Herbal Horse Spray combines aloe vera and essential oils like cedarwood and rosemary to soothe and protect your horse’s skin.

Sweat-Resistant Fly Sprays

If you have an active horse that sweats a lot, or if you live in an area with high humidity or frequent rainfall, you need a sweat-resistant fly spray. These sprays are designed to stay on your horse’s coat even when they sweat or are exposed to water.

When choosing a sweat-resistant fly spray, look for one that has a long-lasting formula that can withstand wet conditions. Ingredients such as RepeLock conditioner or silicone can help the spray adhere to your horse’s coat, providing extended fly protection.

Some sweat-resistant sprays also come with added benefits such as sunscreen protection and coat conditioners. Farnam Endure Sweat-Resistant Fly Spray is one of the best options for sweat-resistant fly sprays.

It contains RepeLock conditioner that binds to your horse’s hair shaft, providing up to 14 days of fly protection. In addition, it also contains sunscreen and coat conditioning ingredients.

Another excellent option is Absorbine UltraShield EX Insecticide Spray. It utilizes advanced sweat-resistant technology that can last for up to 17 days, even in wet conditions.

It also contains sunscreen and coat conditioning ingredients to keep your horse’s coat healthy and shiny.

Top-Rated Fly Sprays for Horses

Now that we’ve covered the two main categories of fly sprays, here are some of the top-rated fly sprays for horses that you can try:

Pyranha Wipe N Spray: This fly spray features a unique formula that combines citronella with lanolin to create a long-lasting repellent that also conditions your horse’s hair. Bronco E Equine Fly Spray: This budget-friendly fly spray provides a refreshing citronella scent while offering up to 30 days of protection against flies, gnats, and mosquitoes.

Bronco Gold Equine Fly Spray: This spray is a grooming aid and coat conditioner that also repels insects, making it ideal for horses with sensitive skin that is prone to irritation. Farnam Tri-Tec 14 Fly Repellent: This long-lasting fly spray provides up to 14 days of protection against flies, mosquitoes, and gnats.

It also contains sunscreen to protect your horse from harmful UV rays.


Choosing the right fly spray for your horse can seem overwhelming, but with the right information, the process is relatively straightforward. Determine if you want an all-natural formula or a sweat-resistant spray, and consider the ingredients that will best suit your horse’s specific needs.

Remember that when it comes to fly control, prevention is key. Choose the right fly spray for your horse, and enjoy a fly-free ride!

3) Water-based vs Oil-based Fly Sprays

When it comes to fly sprays, there are two main types: water-based and oil-based. Both types of sprays have their advantages and disadvantages, so choosing the right one depends on your specific needs and preferences.

Oil-Based Fly Sprays

Oil-based fly sprays have been around for a long time and are popular among horse owners because they work quickly and efficiently. The oil in the spray attracts dust and dirt, which makes it especially effective in dusty environments.

One of the main benefits of oil-based fly sprays is that they penetrate the hair coat quickly, providing fast-acting relief from flies and other biting insects. They also have long-lasting effects since the oil stays on the horse’s skin and haircoat even after they sweat or get wet.

This makes them ideal for horses that sweat a lot or are exposed to wet conditions. However, oil-based fly sprays are not without their disadvantages.

One of the biggest drawbacks is that they can make the horse’s coat look greasy and unattractive. Also, the use of oil can attract dirt and dust, which can lead to skin irritation if the horse is not bathed frequently.

Water-Based Fly Sprays

In contrast, water-based fly sprays do not use oil but instead use water as the base ingredient. This means that they are non-greasy and do not attract dust and dirt.

They are easy to apply and easy to clean off the horse, making them ideal for horses with sensitive skin or those who require frequent bathing. Another advantage of water-based fly sprays is that they are all-weatherproof, meaning that they are effective in both dry and wet conditions.

They do not cause any skin irritation or harm to the horse’s coat and are safe to use on foals and pregnant mares. However, water-based fly sprays take longer to dry and do not have the same immediate effect as oil-based sprays.

They may require more frequent reapplication, especially in areas with high fly populations. Ultimately, the choice between water-based and oil-based fly sprays depends on your needs and your horse’s specific requirements.

If you don’t mind the greasy and unappealing look and need something that works quickly and efficiently, then an oil-based fly spray is the way to go. But if you prefer something non-greasy and easy to clean off while still being effective in all weather conditions, then a water-based fly spray is what you need.

4) Safety of Fly Sprays for People

While fly sprays are designed to repel flies and other insects from horses, they can also be harmful to humans if not used correctly. The active ingredients in fly sprays, such as pyrethrins and pyrethroids, can cause skin irritation and even more severe reactions in people.

To protect yourself from the harmful effects of fly sprays, it’s essential to read the label carefully and follow the directions for use. Always wear gloves when applying fly spray to avoid skin contact, and avoid inhaling the spray.

It’s also essential to avoid spraying the horse’s face directly and instead spray it onto a cloth and wipe it on the horse’s face. In case of accidental exposure or ingestion, seek medical attention immediately.

Symptoms of toxicity include dizziness, breathing difficulties, and skin irritation. It’s also important to note that some fly sprays may be potentially toxic to animals other than horses.

Dogs, cats, and birds are particularly sensitive to certain chemicals in insecticides, so it’s essential to keep them away from treated areas and dispose of empty containers properly. In conclusion, while fly sprays are an effective way to control flies and other biting insects, it’s essential to handle them with care and follow the label instructions carefully.

Always wear protective gear, avoid spraying the face directly, and keep it out of reach from other animals. By taking the necessary precautions, you can keep your horse and yourself safe while keeping the pesky flies at bay.

5) Other Ways to Keep Flies Away from Horses

Fly sprays are an effective way to keep flies away from horses, but they are not the only solution. There are other measures you can take to keep your horse fly-free and make their time outside more comfortable.

Fly Sheets, Fly Boots, and Fly Masks

Fly sheets, fly boots, and fly masks are all popular options for keeping flies away from horses. These items provide physical protection against biting insects and offer a barrier between the horse’s skin and the environment.

Fly sheets are lightweight blankets that cover the horse’s body, protecting them from flies and other biting insects. Fly boots cover the horse’s lower legs, preventing flies from landing on the sensitive skin around the hooves and pasterns.

Fly masks cover the horse’s face, keeping flies away from the eyes, ears, and mouth. When choosing fly sheets, boots, or masks, it’s essential to select ones that fit properly.

Too tight, and they can cause rubs or discomfort, and too loose, and they won’t be effective.

Feed Through Fly Protection

Feed-through fly protection is another option for keeping flies away from horses. This type of protection involves adding a supplement to the horse’s daily feed that works from the inside out to prevent painful and irritating bites.

The supplements contain ingredients such as garlic, brewer’s yeast, and diatomaceous earth, which work to repel flies and other insects. They can take a few weeks to start working, so it’s important to begin using them before fly season.

It’s also important to note that not all horses can take feed-through fly protection supplements. Some horses may be allergic to the ingredients, and it’s best to consult with a veterinarian before starting a supplement regimen.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a natural and safe way to keep flies away from horses. It can either be added to the horse’s daily feed or applied topically to the coat.

When ingested, apple cider vinegar changes the pH level of the horse’s skin, making it less appealing to flies and other biting insects. When applied topically, it creates an acidic environment on the skin, which repels the insects.

To add apple cider vinegar to the horse’s feed, mix it with water and pour it over their food. It’s recommended to start with a small amount and gradually increase it to avoid digestive upset.

When applying apple cider vinegar topically, mix apple cider vinegar with water and spray it onto the horse’s coat. Avoid spraying it near the horse’s eyes, nose, or mouth.

In conclusion, fly sprays are just one way to keep flies away from your horse. Fly sheets, fly boots, and fly masks offer physical protection, while feed-through fly protection and apple cider vinegar provide a natural and safe alternative to insecticides.

By combining these methods, you can keep your horse fly-free and make their time outside more comfortable. In summary, keeping flies away from horses is important for their well-being and comfort.

Fly sprays are effective but choosing the right type depends on your horse’s needs and your preferences. Other measures such as fly sheets, feed-through fly protection, and apple cider vinegar can also be used to repel flies and make the horse’s time outside more comfortable.

Remember to handle fly sprays with care and familiarize yourself with the label instructions. Seek medical attention if you experience any side-effects, and keep it out of reach from other animals.


Q: Are all-natural fly sprays just as effective as chemical ones? A: Yes, all-natural fly sprays containing essential oils can be effective for repelling insects.

Q: Can fly sprays cause harm to humans? A: If not properly handled and used according to the label instructions, fly sprays can cause skin irritation and other side-effects.

Q: Can I use fly sheets, boots, and masks on my horse year-round? A: Yes, fly protection can be used year-round to protect horses from flies and other biting insects.

Q: Can I make my own fly spray at home? A: While it’s possible to make your own fly spray at home, it’s important to ensure that the ingredients used are safe for horses and that the spray is effective in repelling flies.

Q: Can other animals such as dogs or cats be affected by fly sprays? A: Yes, certain chemicals in fly sprays can be toxic to dogs, cats, and birds, so it’s important to keep them away from treated areas and dispose of empty containers properly.

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