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!
✅ 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).
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.
💲 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.
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!
✅ 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.
✅ 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:
Avon Skin so Soft – This stuff smells great and is a good DEET free bug deterrent for both horses and riders.
Lemon Juice – Bugs seem to have a strong dislike for this stuff.
Commercial Fly Spray – 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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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?!
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
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
Do you mix the cider vinegar with water or just in the spray bottle without an additive like water or anything.
You can use straight ACV or dilute up to 50/50 with water.
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
Great advice! I wonder if it would bleach out the stains on my gray… 🙂
Will this take care of the pain in the …knats??
Yes! I've had good luck with ACV detouring gnats.
Does the ACV work for mosquito's?
Yes, although for best results ACV can be used internally as well. Check out this post for more details :https://www.savvyhorsewoman.com/2014/12/apple-cider-vinegar-for-horses-top-10.html
How much of each ingredient and do you mix it with water?
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!!!!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for sharing this tip!
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.
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?
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.
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?
What about ticks, will it help with them?
Yes, and I recommend adding geranium oil to make it even more effective. You can get more info here: https://www.savvyhorsewoman.com/2018/05/geranium-oil-horses-tick-prevention.html
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.
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
So I am confused ?? Do I soak the rag in straight ACV or Dilute it with water?
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.
What about adding neem oil and/or garlic oil to the ACV in conjunction with the essential oils?
Good suggestions! Those are both great bug deterrents as well.
Hi will any of these ingredients help to deter midges and sting flies?