Fly control is something we all deal with, whether you’re an avid trail rider or someone who enjoys a majority of their time in the show pen. It never fails that as you’re tackling tricky trails, in the middle of a reining pattern, or letting your horse enjoy the beautiful outdoors, there’s a pesky bug distracting your horse by constantly buzzing around his face.
Here we offer seven kinds of fly-fighting solutions that’ll help your bug-prone horse avoid irritating insects, making time in the saddle more enjoyable for the both of you during peak fly season.
The product: UltraShield Fly Mask With a Removable Nose.
The buzz: When Absorbine redesigned their already popular UltraShield fly mask, they added a mask with a removable nosepiece to their lineup. The nosepiece attaches with double-locking hook-and-loop closures. Two closures allow the nosepiece to curve around your horse’s nose rather than sit straight across the bridge of his nose. High-performance fabric wicks away any moisture and prevents rubbing. It’s also available with or without the ear attachments.
What you’ll like: Protection from sun. On top of keeping pesky insects out of your horse’s face, this mask and its removable nosepiece are designed with flexible mesh that has a UV rating of 80 to help safeguard your horse from the damaging effects of the sun.
More info: $26.99; absorbine.com.
The product: Nature’s Force Herbal Face and Body Wipes.
The buzz: Looking for a way to keep your horse protected from insects when you hit the trails? You’re going to want to stash a canister of Nature’s Force herbal face and body wipes in your saddle bag or groom bag to touchup your horse’s fly protection during your next all-day ride. Each canister contains 40 quick-and-easy-to-use wipes that can safely be applied on your horse’s face and body to repel flies, gnats, ticks, and other flying insects while conditioning and protecting your horse’s coat.
What you’ll like: These wipes are great for horses with sensitive skin. The citronella oil assists in healing any insect bites your horse does get, and the cedar wood oil and rosemary oil have antifungal and antibacterial properties that help reduce any skin irritations while keeping the bugs away.
More info: $8.99 per canister; mannapro.com.
The product: Buggzo!
The buzz: Help your horse fight the flies from the inside out with a tasty supplement that goes in his daily feed. HorseTech’s Buggzo! supplement is a non-chemical, feed-through fly-control pellet that uses garlic and vinegar as its main pest-fighting ingredients.
What you’ll like: No gloves needed. This formula is easy to feed and isn’t sticky or powdery. Once you’ve been feeding this supplement for two weeks, your bug-prone horse should be dealing with fewer flies and other pesky insects.
More info: Starting at $63.95; horsetech.com.
Comfortable Fly Sheet
The product: Cashel Crusader Lightweight Fly Sheet.
The buzz: Even on warm summer days, a breathable fly sheet can help your horse fight irritating insects and keep him cool at the same time. This fly sheet by Cashel has a contoured shoulder area to help secure the sheet and avoid any irritation from rubbing, and gussets that allow your horse to move comfortably. It also uses a breathable mesh that provides plenty of airflow when your horse is turned out and in the sun.
What you’ll like: Added protection to sensitive areas. The Cashel Crusader fly sheet offers a wide belly flap that helps keep your sheet in place and is designed to protect your horse’s stomach and other sensitive areas from flies.
More info: 143.99; cashelcompany.com.
The product: Farnam Grand Champion Fly Repellent.
The buzz: Keep your horse looking his best while protecting against pests with this two-in-one fly spray. Not only does this spray actively repel biting flies, gnats, and mosquitos, leaving your horse more relaxed under saddle, it also has a high-end hair conditioner so your horse will have that show-ring shine we all strive for.
What you’ll like: The 360-degree continuous-spray can. No more fumbling around; this fly repellent allows for an even, consistent application at any angle—making it ideal for spraying tricky spots like your horse’s belly and back legs. This two-in-one repellent is quiet when sprayed and comes out of the nozzle at room temperature, making it a perfect option for horses that are sensitive to sound and touch.
More info: $15.50; farnam.com.
Use Fly Products Safely
• Watch for tears or broken straps on your horse’s fly sheet or mask that he can get caught on.
• Check for spots that rub or pinch your horse on his fly mask and sheet. Sores resulting from poor fit can attract more flies, not to mention cause your horse discomfort.
• If your horse is new to wearing a fly mask, watch for his reaction. Is he trying to rub it off?
• Look for skin sensitivities when using a new topical repellent to be sure it’s not irritating to your horse’s skin.
• If you notice that your horse is extra sensitive to bug bites, apply a fly repellent under your fly sheet or fly mask for additional protection against them.
Natural Fly Control
The product: Fly Predators by Spalding Labs.
The buzz: Fight the flies before they even arrive. Fly predators are a natural alternative to fly sprays and chemicals by using beneficial insects to control your barn’s fly population. Spalding Labs actively monitors weather history to ensure that your fly predators arrive to your door at the right time of year, so you can effectively stop pesky flies from bothering your horses before they become a problem.
What you’ll like: The email notifications. New this year, Spalding Labs sends recommended schedule changes to your predator program based on your weather throughout fly season. If spring comes early, you’ll receive an email suggesting you move your first shipment of fly predators up earlier. If it stays cooler, they’ll send you an email suggesting you push your first shipment back a bit.
More info: Call (866) 404-3902 or visit spalding-labs.com/qyzkp.
The product: SmartPak’s OutSmart Roll-On Fly Repellent.
The buzz: This fan-favorite fly spray by SmartPak is now offered in a roll-on applicator—making quick touchups on the go even easier. It still has the same ingredients in it as the fly spray features, using an innovative combination of plant-based ingredients that are designed to repel house flies, stable flies, mosquitoes, and ticks, keeping your horse happy and fly-free. And it smells great; peppermint oil offers a fresh, minty smell when you apply it.
What you’ll like: It’s good for horses and humans. Save room in your saddle bag with repellent that you and your horse can both use, but be sure to read the label so you effectively apply it to your skin for best results.
More info: $6.95; smartpakequine.com.