6 ways to protect your horse from insects this summer

Summer brings warm weather, lush pastures, and unfortunately, an influx of bothersome flies. These pesky insects can irritate and stress your horse, leading to discomfort, potential skin issues, and even reduced performance. As a responsible horse owner, it is essential to implement effective strategies to protect your horse from flies during the summer months. In this blog, we will discuss valuable tips and techniques to keep your equine companion fly-free and comfortable this summer.

Use fly sheets and masks

Investing in quality fly sheets and masks is a highly effective method to shield your horse from pesky flies. These protective garments act as a physical barrier, preventing insects from landing on your horse's body and face. Opt for lightweight, breathable materials that offer UV protection while allowing air circulation to prevent overheating.

Use fly sprays and repellents
Utilize fly sprays and repellents specifically formulated for horses to keep flies at bay. Choose products that contain ingredients like pyrethrin, permethrin, or essential oils such as citronella and eucalyptus. Apply these products as directed on the label, focusing on areas where flies tend to gather, such as the head, neck, and legs. Reapply as necessary, particularly after your horse has been sweating or if they have been out in wet conditions. For areas more prone to insect bites, such as in the ears, under the belly and under the throat, apply an insecticide ointment such as Swat.

Use citronella shampoos
Regular shampoos leave a scent that can attract insects. Citronella, a natural ingredient known for its insect-repellent properties, acts as a powerful shield against flies, mosquitoes, and other pesky insects that thrive in the summer heat. By using a citronella shampoo like Citrobug, you provide an additional layer of protection for your horse, reducing the risk of bites, irritations, and the discomfort caused by relentless buzzing insects. 

Maintain a clean barn and pastures

Maintaining clean stables and pastures plays a crucial role in fly control. Regularly remove manure, as it serves as a breeding ground for flies. Consider using fly traps or sticky tapes strategically placed around the stable and pasture to attract and capture flies. Additionally, practice rotational grazing to minimize fly exposure and ensure your horse has access to areas with fewer insects.

Use fans and shelters
Create a fly-free zone in your horse's living environment by using fans and providing ample shelter. Fans not only help to keep your horse cool but also deter flies, as they dislike the airflow. Install fans in the stable or use portable fans during turnout in shaded areas. Additionally, provide shelters such as run-in sheds or well-ventilated stables where your horse can seek refuge from flies and harsh sunlight.

Schedule turnout strategically
Flies are typically more active during certain times of the day. To minimize your horse's exposure, consider scheduling turnout during periods when fly activity is lower, such as early morning or late evening. This allows your horse to enjoy outdoor time while reducing their exposure to annoying insects.

By implementing a combination of strategies you can effectively reduce fly annoyance and keep your horse fly-free throughout the summer season. A fly-free horse is a happier, healthier, and more contented equine companion.


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