There is nothing better than a long woodland hack on a summer’s day, the dappled sunlight illuminating your path as you and your horse jump fallen branches. That is, of course, until the swarm of midges surround you both and horse flies take great bites out of you. Flies are a fact of life, and summer brings them out in abundance. Your horse’s trusty forelock, mane and tail rarely provide adequate fly protection, and while we cannot wave a magic wand to eliminate them forever, we can offer you some new natural ideas to fight flies this summer. If you prefer to steer clear of chemical filled fly repellents, read on to find out how you can help protect your horse naturally.
There are many fly repellent remedies that you can find in your bathroom cupboard. Avon Skin So Soft is recommended across the UK as an effective midge repellent and it can be sprayed directly on to the mane, coat and tail. Not only does it repel flies and midges it is also a gentle moisturiser that soothes and soften itchy dry skin. Other natural fly remedies include Sudocrem, Tea Tree Oil and even Vicks Vaporub that can be applied directly to the coat to combat flies in target areas. Each of these are well documented fly repellents, however, be wary of applying vaporub and tea tree too near to the face or on irritated, broken skin as the strong vapours can cause extreme irritation for your horse.
This is a brand new 100% natural equine friendly product that has both antifungal and antibacterial properties, as well as being a brilliant fly repellent. Available in a shampoo and carrier oil, you can apply this product as a barrier cream or use it to wash you horse or pony and keep flies at bay naturally.
Citronella has been widely hailed as the natural fly repellent of choice for decades, and when combined with other fly repellent agents you can create a powerful homemade concoction that packs a punch. Make your own Citronella spray using 300ml of Avon Skin So Soft, 300ml of cider vinegar, 300ml of water, a drop of washing-up liquid and five drops of citronella.
Horses and ponies that have already been affected by flies and midges may have extremely sore, broken skin which means that even natural topical sprays and ointments can be irritants. In this instance, fly sheets and stabling during the day is often the only answer, but why not try oral remedies to aid recovery? Garlic acts as a natural fly repellent, so include daily garlic supplements in your horses feed to keep pesky flies at bay.
Set Your Alarm
It is a well-known fact that flies are most prevalent between dawn and dusk, so in order to make your morning ride more pleasant try setting your alarm clock to wake in the early hours and enjoy a hack before the rest of the world is awake. Stabling with a field mate or two for company in a well ventilated stable during the day provides essential relief from flies, then turn out after dark to keep your horse happy during the summer months.