Throughout most of the year, flies and other pesky insects are an ongoing issue no matter which part of the country you live in. Despite the best stable keeping practices they seem to be a necessary evil when dealing with horses. There are several highly effective insecticide fly sprays on the market (ie. UltraShield Ex) that undoubtedly repel, and even kill, most insects….but is that something we want sprayed on our horses (or ourselves) on a daily basis? Probably not.
While insecticides have their place (think hot summer horse show on a thin skinned, fussy mare), I’ve found that natural fly sprays can also be quite effective, and are a great step to reducing exposure to harmful chemicals. Unfortunately the terms “natural” and “green” can mean almost anything these days, so it’s important to read the labels and find a brand that you’re comfortable with and, most importantly, works! I’ve included a list of popular options to start your search, along with links to the reviews. If you have a sensitive skinned horse I highly recommend reading these. Most of these brands include essential oils, which are awesome natural fly repellents. The DIY recipe below also uses them to closely match these store-bought options. Here are some of the top rated natural fly sprays for horses:
Pyranha Zero Bite All Natural Fly Spray – No pesticides, water-based, uses Geraniol. Read the Reviews
Absorbine UltraShield Green Natural Fly Repellent – Guaranteed up to 8 hours, uses essential oils. Read the Reviews
Animal Legends Flicks Horse and Pet Spray – Concentrated (comes with sprayer), biodegradable. Read the Reviews
Equisect Botanical Fly Repellent Rtu Spray – Uses botanical and essential oils of citronella, clove stem, and thyme. Read the Reviews
Calm Coat Natural Repellent – Concentrated, uses a combination of citronella, eucalyptus and botanical oils. Read the Reviews
Given the choice, I’m always happy to use a homemade option over store-bought. If you’re looking for a quick fix, my super Easy Homemade Fly Spray is a great choice. It uses apple cider vinegar and any other bug repelling ingredients you happen to have on hand. The only downside is that the smell isn’t as pleasant as the store-bought brands, so it’s not as appealing for me to share with my horse. Here is a more rider-friendly option (that smells great!)
DIY Homemade Fly Spray Recipe (with Essential Oils)
16 oz spray bottle (preferable amber, like this one, to preserve the essential oils)
1/2 cup Witch Hazel
1 tsp. vanilla extract
100-150 drops of a Bug Repelling Essential Oil Blend (I like this one, or this one if you use it around children)
100-150 drops of any combination of the following oils:
Add all ingredients to the spray bottle, and fill with water. Shake well and spray on horses and riders as needed, being careful to avoid the eyes and nose. Store in a cool, dark place.
What’s your favorite natural fly spray for horses?