Horse Fly Protection: How to Manage Bugs and Insects this Season

Fly season brings challenges for our horses. Not only are insects and bugs irritating to deal with but they can also cause skin sensitivities, such as sweet itch. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to help manage this and keep your horse happy all spring and summer long.

In this guide:

1. What to Consider When Choosing Horse Fly Protection

2. Fly Rugs

3. Fly Masks

4. Fly Protection While Riding or Driving

5. Fly Sprays

6. Horse Supplements for Fly Protection

What to Consider When Choosing Horse Fly Protection

When considering what fly protection your horse might need, think about the following factors:

Location – some areas more prone to midges or horse flies than others.
Schedule – if your horse is turned out 24/7 they may need more protection (including UV protection from the sun) than a horse that is stabled in the day.
Behaviour - is your horse prone to ripping rugs or rubbing fly masks off? Perhaps a fly spray may work best or look for designs that can withstand this.
Skin Sensitivities – if your horse is prone to reactions from insect bites, such as sweet itch, you’ll need to be diligent about fly protection.

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Fly Rugs

Prevent flies from biting your horse with a fly rug. These are typically made from lightweight, breathable material and provide full coverage of your horse’s body.

The Zilco Aircon Combo Fly Rug has a unique mesh fabric to allow plenty of air flow on hot days.

Zilco Aircon Combo Fly Rug

We also love the Equilibrium Field Relief Fly Rug. Equilibrium found research showing that the colour yellow repels flies. The yellow coloured mesh is designed to keep dirt and flies away. It also offers UV protection to prevent sun burn or bleaching of darker coloured horses.

Equilibrium Field Relief Fly Rug Max

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Fly Masks

Flies swarming around your horse’s face is pretty miserable. A fly mask offers protection from pesky bugs. These come in different styles, such as with or without ears and nose pieces, depending on your horse’s preference.

When choosing a fly mask, look for one that offers good clearance of the eyes and padding for comfort.

Equilibrium Field Relief Max Fly Mask
The Equilibrium Field Relief Max Fly Mask is a great option as it provides excellent coverage, has eye darts for clearance of the eyes, padded nose and brow, as well as having over 70% UV protection.

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Fly Protection While Riding or Carriage Driving

Flies are not only bothersome in the field but when out riding and driving. A mesh ear bonnet helps prevent insects getting into your horse’s ears and can reduce headshaking as a result. Equisafety also make ear bonnets in high viz fabric which are handy if you’re out hacking.

If your horse is particularly sensitive to flies around their face, a full face mask like Equilibrium’s Net Relief Riding Mask could be ideal as it specifically designed for ridden work and use with a bridle.

Equisafety Multi Coloured Mesh Fly Exercise Sheet
A mesh exercise sheet can also keep flies away. We like Equisafety’s Multi Coloured Mesh Quarter Sheet as not only does it deter flies but the high viz fabric increases visibility when out riding.

For driving horses and ponies, why not try the Ideal Anti-Fly Exercise Driving Rug? The tug and rein terret holes allow it to fit perfectly over the driving harness.

Ideal Anti Fly Carriage Driving Exercise Sheet

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Fly Sprays

Another option to deal with flies this season is to use a fly spray. These contain ingredients which help to repel flies, midges and insects. Sprays are useful when your horse isn’t wearing a fly rug or to reach areas that might not be covered.

There are lots of different sprays on the market depending on what you’re looking for. Some formulas are more natural, containing essential oils and citronella, whereas others contain deet which is known for being an effective repellent.

Gold Label Citronella Fly Spray for Horses
If your horse is a little tricky to spray with fly repellent, try a gel version instead. These are also useful for covering hard to reach places like the head and belly.

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Horse Supplements for Fly Protection

Protect your horse from the inside with a supplement designed to repel flies. Research has shown that some supplements can reduce irritation from flies.

The Brinicombe Think Fly Granules contain different herbs and spices which exude an aroma through the horse’s pores to repel flies. The granules are added to your horse’s feed to provide 24 hours of fly-free comfort.

Think Fly Granules Supplements for Horses

We hope that has given you some ideas about how you can protect your horse against flies and insects this season. Whether a quick spritz of some fly spray is sufficient or your horse needs to be fully covered with a mask and rug, they will appreciate the protection against pesky flies this season.

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