How to keep flies away from your Horses for good!

As all horse owners know, flies are a common nuisance that every horse has to deal with. More than being inconvenient and annoying they also cause irritation, infection and undue stress to horses and their owners as well as pose a significant risk to health as they have been known to carry dangerous diseases like West Nile Virus which has been known to cause partial paralysis and in some cases death in horses as well as tuberculosis which can be fatal to humans.

The presence of flies not only poses a risk to health but it also decreases focus, performance, quality of life, etc.

There are many ways to keep flies away from horses:

Use Fly Repellents or Fly Sprays

Fly Free Equine's highly effective and affordable Equine Fly Repellent

Fly Repellents are one of the quickest, easiest and most effective ways to keep flies away from horses in and out of their stables meaning the horse and rider remain unbothered by flies throughout the duration of a ride. In competition, this can increase focus, performance and safety for both the horse and rider as well as increase enjoyment and comfort on gentler hacks.

Fly Free Equine manufactures and distributes highly effective and affordable equine fly repellent which all our customers say is more effective than any other brand on the market. Fly Free Equine is also endorsed by Adam Kemp (International Dressage Rider and Trainer, FBHS)

Keep the Stable Clean

A horse standing on a stable floor

Another effective way to keep flies away from horses is to maintain a clean and hygienic stable. Flies thrive in dirty and damp environments, so it is important to always keep the stable clean and dry. Remove any manure and wet bedding regularly and ensure that the stable is well-ventilated.

Accumulated manure, urine, and bedding can lead to the growth of bacteria, fungi, and parasites, which can cause respiratory problems, skin irritations, and other health issues for the horse and the rider.

So effective stable management significantly decreases the number of flies around the stable but it also reduces the risk of substantial health issues.

Install Fly Traps

A Fly Trap

Fly traps are another effective way to keep flies away from horses. There are many different types of fly traps available, including sticky traps, bait traps, and zappers. Sticky traps use a sticky substance to trap flies, while bait traps use an attractant to lure flies in and are cheaper than zappers which use electricity to kill flies. We recommend choosing the type of trap that works best for your situation and following the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

Provide Shade and Fans

Two horses standing in a filed shelter

Often, flies are less likely to bother horses in shaded areas or areas with a breeze. Providing shade and fans can help keep horses cool and comfortable while also keeping flies away. Install fans in the stable and paddock areas, and provide shaded areas for horses to rest in.

Use Fly Rugs and Masks

A horse wearing a fly rug and fly mask

Using fly rugs and fly masks is another effective way to keep flies away from horses. Fly rugs are made of a lightweight mesh material that covers the horse’s body and provides protection from flies. Fly masks cover the horse’s face and eyes and help to prevent flies from bothering sensitive areas. Choose a high-quality fly rug and mask that fit your horse properly for maximum effectiveness.

Implement Manure Management Strategies

A muck pile
The immaculate muck heap

Flies are attracted to manure, so proper manure management is crucial in keeping flies away from horses. This involves removing manure from the paddock, stables and surrounding areas regularly, ideally on a daily basis. You can also use manure as fertilizer or compost it in a designated area away from the stable to reduce the attraction of flies. By storing manure and organic waste away from stables or other areas where horses are handled can greatly reduce the number of flies around the horse and as mentioned before greatly increase hygiene, create a healthier environment and reduce the risk of significant health issues.

Use Fly-Repellent Feed Additives

A horse eating feed

Another effective method to keep flies away from horses is to use fly-repellent feed additives. These are supplements that are added to the horse’s feed and contain ingredients such as garlic, apple cider vinegar, or diatomaceous earth, which can help repel flies from the inside out. These supplements work by altering the horse’s body chemistry, making them less attractive to flies. However, it is important to note that not all horses will respond to these additives, and it may take some trial and error to find the right supplement and dosage for your horse. It is also essential to consult with your veterinarian before adding any supplements to your horse’s diet.

Implement Fly Barrier Methods

A fly barrier around a filed shelter

Fly barrier methods involve creating physical barriers that prevent flies from reaching horses. These can include using fly screens on stable windows and doors, installing fly sheets or curtains over stall doors, or creating a perimeter of fly tape or sticky traps around the stable or paddock. These methods create a physical barrier that prevents flies from entering the horse’s living space and reduce the risk of fly-borne illnesses. However, it is important to regularly clean and replace these barriers to maintain their effectiveness. Additionally, be mindful of any potential hazards that may be associated with using these methods, such as horses becoming entangled in fly tape.

Practice Rotational Grazing

Mulitple horses grazing peacfully in a field

Rotational grazing is a method of managing pastures where horses are moved to a different grazing area every few days or weeks. This allows the previously grazed areas to rest and recover, while also reducing the build-up of manure and fly breeding grounds. By implementing rotational grazing, you can reduce the number of flies in your horse’s living space and improve their overall health and well-being. Additionally, grazing horses on higher ground or breezier areas can also help reduce the number of flies around them.

Rotational Grazing is also far better for land management as it allows the ground a chance to rest, recover and regrow.

To conclude, keeping flies away from horses requires a combination of proper hygiene, fly sprays, fly traps, shade and fans, and fly rugs and masks. By implementing these strategies, you can help keep your horse healthy and comfortable while also reducing the risk of fly-related health problems and increasing focus and performance for both the horse and the rider.

For more about the importance of fly repellent, click here

For more on the dangers of flies and why horse flies are so much worse than other flies, click here