Especially during the hot summer months, flies are not only a pain in the butt for your horses. They can be a hazard as well.
For these reasons, choosing an effective fly and bug spray for your horse is critical. There are a lot of options on the market.
In this article, we will dive into some of the top fly sprays on the market. We will address why they are needed, how they are applied, their advantages, and their disadvantages.
This information will enable you to decide which product is best for your horse and your situation.
Why a Horse Fly Spray is Needed.
Especially during the warm summer months, flies and other bugs can run rampant on your horses. Unfortunately, your horses are prime targets for these bugs when out on pasture.
Bug bites can transmit diseases, cause the development of sores, and be downright annoying.
In addition, bugs biting your horse when you are trying to ride or train can cause a dangerous situation.
One time, I was trying to get a halter on Dart. A botfly kept circling him. Most of time, he was able to shake it off. But, a couple of times, the bug got a bite in. The bite caused Dart to kick his leg or lunge forward.
Luckily, I was aware of the situation. So, I knew where to position myself and understood he wasn't trying to be aggressive toward me. Instead, he was trying to seek relief from the bug.
Why Are Flies Attracted To Horses?
According to Horse Racing Sense, flies are most attracted to horses because of their warmth and movement. In addition, flies and other bugs can get protein from the horses' blood and the moisture near their eyes.
Finding the Right Fly Spray for Your Horse.
Choosing a fly spray for your horse is a personal choice. However, there are a lot of factors that can weigh into your decision.
A Quick Comparison of the Top-Rated Fly Sprays.
When I started researching fly sprays, I did what you are doing. I researched the top review websites and looked at what fly sprays they included. In addition, I watched some of the leading horse trainers on YouTube. I noted when they recommended certain brands of fly spray.
I was watching one of Clinton Anderson's training videos on YouTube. In this video, he not only explained how to introduce fly spray to a horse for the first time; but also mentioned the best spray he likes. The Pyranha brand of fly spray.
So, the next day I went to my local farm and ranch store (Murdoch's) to purchase some spray. I found the Pyranha brand on the shelf, but I noticed they had a "natural" spray. So, I ended up opting for that option.
There might be a better fit for this particular product for your situation. That is up to you. The following products include the one I chose, and the listed items are all of the other top industry recommendations.
Zero-Bite®Natural Insect Spray
Instead of using a chemical active ingredient, this spray from Pyranha uses natural products such as geraniol, clove, and peppermint. This combination of products creates a powerful natural fly fighter and repellent.
Pyranha Wipe N' Spray
This fly spray from Pyranha is their traditional pyrethrum-based formula applied directly to the animal. This is a popular option amongst show-horse owners. The spray is citronella scented and contains lanolin as a coat conditioner.
Farnam Bronco Gold Equine Fly Horse Spray
Bronco Gold is both an all-in-one fly spray and coat conditioner. The active ingredients are Pyrethrins, Piperonyl Butoxide, and Butoxypolypropylene Glycol. It kills and repels six fly species, mosquitoes, and gnats. In addition, it doubles as a grooming aid.
Farnam Repel-X Emulsifiable Horse Fly Spray
This insecticide and repellent spray from Farnam could be a great option if you need to stretch your budget. It is a concentrated formula that can be extended and mixed with water. This solution kills and repels flies, gnats, mosquitoes, and ticks. The active ingredients of this horse spray are Prallethrin and Piperony Butoxide.
Tri Tec 14 Equine Fly Spray
Tri-Tec 14 is a water-based repellent that protects your horse against six types of flies, gnats, mosquitoes, live, and deer ticks. The company claims that this spray is effective for up to 14 days. The active ingredients include Cypermethrin, Pyrethrins, Piperonyl Butoxide, Technical, and Butoxypolypropylene Glycol.
Ultra Shield Ex Fly Spray
This award-winning formula is used on horses, dogs, and outdoor enthusiasts. The spray kills and repels more than 70 bugs, including biting and nuisance flies, mosquitoes, ticks, and gnats. The manufacturer also claims that the product is weatherproof and effective for up to 17 days. In addition, the product's advanced formula contains multiple sunscreens and coat conditioners, including aloe and lanolin.
Alternatives to Fly Spray.
Some options are available if you are looking for an alternative to commercially available fly spray.
The easiest way to find an alternative is to Google "alternative to fly spray for horses." That Google search will yield a variety of websites with recipes for fly sprays that are vinegar based and contain different essential oils.
I have never used any specific recipe or made my own. I am still determining which recipes are better than others or how effective the homemade sprays are.
If this is the route you decide to take, try different recipes and test them. It might take a while to settle on one you like, but it will be worth it if it is important to you.
How to Apply Horse Fly Spray.
There are a few tools and tactics that you can use to apply fly spray to your horse.
First, to set you and your horse up for success, you must learn how to introduce fly spray to your horse correctly. There are many videos on YouTube on this topic. I watched Clinton Anderson's video on "Introducing Fly Spray to Your Horse,"; but there are many trainers with videos on the subject. Choose the video from the trainer you enjoy.
Second, make sure your fly spray is in a quality spray bottle. The bottle should have multiple spray settings so you can adjust the stream of the spray depending on where on the animal you are trying to apply.
Lastly, I recommend using a rag or sponge to apply the spray to more sensitive areas (especially around the horse's face). Your horse will prefer to avoid getting pelted with a stream of spray in the face. A rag or sponge is a gentler way to apply the spray without spooking him.
I decided to pick up one of these sponges with microfiber bristles.
It works great and can be used for applying the spray and grooming the horse.
How Long Does Fly Spray Last On a Horse?
Depending on the fly spray you decide to use and the weather conditions after you apply it, horse fly spray can remain effective for up to 17 days.
To understand the potential effectiveness of whichever fly spray you choose, read the label.
No matter which direction you decide to take when it comes to a spray for your horses, it is critical that you do something. Put yourself in your horse's shoes. It doesn't take long for flies to annoy you to no end.
How do you think your horse feels?
Imagine dealing with annoying insects all day and being unable to seek relief.
You need to provide that relief for them.
So, do the right thing. Pay attention to your horse's needs, and apply the fly spray as often as necessary.
About David Didier
After growing up working on his family's farm in the Midwest, life brought him to Missoula, MT. There, he connected with a mustang named Dart and was called to a lifelong journey of learning about horses and horsemanship. It is his hope to share the knowledge, experiences, and resources he has come across along the way.
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