Homemade Fly Spray for Horses {Printable}

If you’d like to make homemade fly spray for horses, I have two great recipes for you.

The first is so easy there’s no excuse NOT to try it! 

And the second uses simple ingredients for GREAT results. Even better than the store-bought brands.

Let’s get started!

Homemade Fly Spray for Horses | Apple Cider Vinegar Fly Repellent | DIY Fly Spray

βœ… Easy Homemade Fly Spray for Horses

With just one ingredient it’s perfect for those “I’m late for a lesson, the tack store is 20 min away, and there’s flies the size of bats” kind of days (and we’ve all been there).

Thanks to my procrastination when it comes to buying or making fly spray, I’ve tested this out in many situations from horse shows to trail rides.

While it doesn’t pack the same kind of punch as a heavy duty spray like Absorbine, it’s guaranteed to be better than nothing. Plus I’m always up for the challenge of a wallet friendly, DIY option.

Are you ready? Grab an empty spray bottle (here’s a cheap 3 pack) and fill it with Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV).

That’s it!

Now here’s the catch: Not all vinegar is created equal. While the regular store brand can work, it’s not nearly as effective as unpasteurised, organic ACV.

I didn’t believe this myself until I tried it, and now that I use it at home as well, I REALLY notice.

Buying Tip:
πŸ’² I order this Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar by Bragg (1 gallon) because it’s so inexpensive and lasts forever, but some grocery and health stores carry it as well.

For more ideas check out Apple Cider Vinegar for Horses – Top 10 Uses.

More From Savvy Horsewoman:  Savvy Guide to DIY Horse Care

If the smell of ACV happens to make you gag, or your equine partner is particularly sensitive I highly recommend diluting this mixture with water up to a 50/50 ratio. Or try my recipe without ACV found here.

The less AVC, the more often you should reapply. Like all fly sprays, it shouldn’t be sprayed near the eyes or nose (I spray it into my hands and rub it onto their face). It works great for dogs too!

βœ… Best Homemade Fly Spray for Horses

If you’re feeling more ambitious you can add these easy-to-find-around-the-house ingredients to give you extra fly protection.

This recipes make a highly effective fly repellent for horses and just takes a few extra minutes to make.

Best Homemade Fly Spray for Horses

Best Homemade Fly Spray for Horses



  1. Add all ingredients to the spray bottle
  2. Gently shake before use
  3. Spray on horses and livestock as needed, being careful to avoid the eyes and nose
  4. Store in a cool, dark place


*If you don't have mineral oil on hand, it can be replaced with any liquid oil such as olive oil.

For best results apply at least 1-2 times per day!

βœ… More Natural Fly Sprays

If you don’t have the right ingredients for the other homemade option, here’s what I’ve had success adding to ACV so far:

More From Savvy Horsewoman:  How to Recognise Laminitis in Your Horse

Avon Skin so Soft β€“ This stuff smells great and is a good DEET free bug deterrent for both horses and riders.

Lemon Juice β€“ Bugs seem to have a strong dislike for this stuff.

Commercial Fly Spray β€“ Don’t throw out those last few drops stuck in the bottle! Add it to this mix to stretch your budget.

For a fly spray option that doesn’t include Apple Cider Vinegar, be sure to check out Natural Fly Spray for Horses. It also includes reviews of the top store bought natural brands, just in case you’re not in the mood for DIY!

What’s in your favorite homemade fly spray for horses?

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Homemade Fly Spray for Horses | Apple Cider Vinegar Fly Repellent | DIY Fly Spray


  1. Horsafur
    June 10, 2015 / 7:41 pm

    I had a mare with extreme fly sensitivity. They would bite her non-stop and then she would rub or chew herself raw from the sting. I tried every kind of fly spray, repellents, sheets, kept her indoors and eventually had the vet give her a vetalog (?) injection. The relief she received from the injection was brief at best and I was warned of the possible complications of steroid injections of this type. I tried feed through supplements, garlic and added apple cider vinegar to her water. Still no relief. Then I read online that someone had misread a post about feeding ACV to horses for relief and instead applied to the horse directly. She had great success so I thought I'd give it a try. What do you know….it worked. Twice a day for 2 weeks I would soak a rag in ACV then wipe my mare down paying extra attention to her chest, neck and legs, the areas most bothered by the flies. Within days I saw a reduction of rubbing a chewing on herself. Then the sores scabbing over, healing and the fly stopped biting. After 2 weeks I cut down to once a day and then after all another week put the ACV in a bottle and lightly sprayed her down once a day. It was so wonderful to see my mare no longer suffering I almost cried. I have told dozens of people of my experience but they all seem hesitant. Try it, I tell them, what have you got to lose?!

    • Dawna Fallo
      August 14, 2016 / 10:24 pm

      Thank you so so very much for sharing this story, those people may be hesitant but I certainly am so glad you shared your story..I have been using ACV daily..spraying them off but very little relief..so I will try soaking a rag and rubbing it on them the way you said..again thanks

    • Crystal Roy
      September 15, 2017 / 2:21 am

      Does the ACV sting at all on bites or scratches? After Hurricane Harvey the mosquitoes have become unbearable & my poor mare is being attacked! I spray her down 2x's day but it isn't completely helping with the mosquitoes. Since she has bites I'd hate to use something that would cause her even more discomfort. Thanks for any advice

  2. Anonymous
    June 7, 2016 / 1:58 am

    Do you mix the cider vinegar with water or just in the spray bottle without an additive like water or anything.

    • Savvy Horsewoman
      August 4, 2017 / 8:34 pm

      You can use straight ACV or dilute up to 50/50 with water.

  3. Anonymous
    May 30, 2017 / 6:44 pm

    I just want to add in while lemon juice is harmless it WILL bleach hair when out in the sun! We used to use it before going to the beach to get blonde streaks…I'd hate for a beautiful blood bay to walk in someones barn looking like a bleached out buckskin lol

    • Savvy Horsewoman
      August 4, 2017 / 8:37 pm

      Great advice! I wonder if it would bleach out the stains on my gray… πŸ™‚

  4. Anonymous
    July 15, 2017 / 3:18 am

    Will this take care of the pain in the …knats??

    • Savvy Horsewoman
      April 19, 2018 / 8:37 pm

      Yes! I've had good luck with ACV detouring gnats.

  5. jacqueline runyard
    July 21, 2017 / 1:34 am

    Does the ACV work for mosquito's?

  6. Anonymous
    July 24, 2017 / 1:40 pm

    How much of each ingredient and do you mix it with water?

  7. Anonymous
    April 24, 2018 / 6:59 pm

    I am excited to go home and try this. Our gilding came from nort Ga and we didnt know he had allergies till the summer hit! For 2 summers now we have been to the vet… looking forward to testing this out!!!!

  8. Vanessa
    September 10, 2018 / 7:18 pm

    No kidding I have been using Avon Skin so Soft for over 15 years on my horses, dogs, myself, works great, only need a little, works great on those big nasty horse flies that drive you crazy, , Avon usually has a large bottle of buy one get one, also buy smaller spray bottle refill it all time, smaller bottle gives you a fine mist, so you can spray a little wipe in in.maryvanessa@icloud.com

    • savvyhorsewoman
      September 13, 2018 / 9:45 am

      Thanks for sharing this tip!

    • giantsdancefarm
      May 13, 2021 / 9:20 pm

      Just be careful to test in a small area first. My chestnut TB mare proved to be sensitive to SSS and I literally caused her chemical burns from 50/50 SSS and water and being out in the sun.

      I’ve been mixing up essential oil recipes for a number of years really successfully.

      • Catherine Bower
        July 4, 2021 / 8:39 am

        My chestnut Arabian had the same issues with SSS. He developed welts the size of a quarter! Would you be willing to share your essential oils recipe? I lost mine and figured it may be time to try a different mix. Have you tried the ACV on your mare?

      • Kim Christopher
        April 28, 2022 / 12:26 pm

        I’m so glad you mentioned Chestnut sensitivity. I used Dawn Dishsoap in a mixture and it worked GREAT!!!! Until we were finished riding and as I was turning him out I saw welts coming out everywhere. It was the first and only time I used the Dawn on him. Rinsed it off and gave him a steroid and he was much better. I guess I won’t be using the SSS on him either.

  9. Susan
    February 21, 2019 / 6:29 am

    I have used the ACV with essential oils for several years now. Love it for the black flies and horse flies but the deer flies seem to ignore and bite anyway. Any suggestions?

  10. Bonita Slaughterbeck
    April 11, 2019 / 5:37 am

    What about ticks, will it help with them?

      • giantsdancefarm
        May 13, 2021 / 9:28 pm

        Even better than geranium oil is Rose Geranium oil. Not a combo of the 2 oils, but from a plant call Rose Geranium. I use it in my essential oil/witch hazel/almond oil mix I use on myself and my horses, and I use 2 drops once a day on each of out 4 dogs. 2 golden retrievers, 1 golden mix, and a doberman…. one drop at their withers, one at the base of their tail on their back. No fleas, no ticks, no mosquitos.

        • November 7, 2022 / 3:08 pm

          Hi there. We live in Central Queensland Australia. Hot ,wet and humid.
          The mozzies and flies are relentless. The poor horses ,dogs and cattle get attack all the time. Unfortunately, good products have been discontinued while other products are too expensive plus don’t work.
          I have thought about making my own but had no idea how to start. I like the sound of your recipe for dogs and horses that sounds like a winner.
          You have inspired me to try and make my own.
          Cheers, have a wonderful day

  11. Tammy
    May 26, 2019 / 5:01 pm

    So I am confused ?? Do I soak the rag in straight ACV or Dilute it with water?

  12. KC
    April 16, 2020 / 8:28 am

    We also coat the walls of the stalls, spray the outside of all buckets and lightly spray the shavings. We use a combo of straight ACV and 49 drops or more if essential oils– most any mix but if you have mosquitoes I recommend a LOT of citronella. Play around with ratios to kill what bugs you and write recipe on your spray bottle. We put a few cedar shavings into the stall, and put evergreen between the boards and walls, & we add some evergreen needles & bows into stall floor. Flies hate evergreen & pine sol.

  13. Melissa Rauch
    June 24, 2020 / 10:30 am

    What about adding neem oil and/or garlic oil to the ACV in conjunction with the essential oils?

    • savvyhorsewoman
      June 25, 2020 / 9:09 am

      Good suggestions! Those are both great bug deterrents as well.

  14. Marilize
    February 25, 2021 / 11:25 am

    Hi will any of these ingredients help to deter midges and sting flies?

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