The summer is here at last and coming to a horse near you is the return of that irritating little horror - The Fly (horsefly to be precise).
Of course horses do have their own natural defences, such as tail swishing, biting, kicking and head shaking, but that can be very inconvenient when riding a dressage test, not to mention those itchy lumps and bumps and the fact flies can spread equine diseases. Did you know that it’s now believed flies can spread Sarcoids?
So if you want to keep these pesky critters at bay it’s time to bring out the repellent. Now for the science bit-even though it’s called a repellent, fly sprays actually work by confusing the fly, which relies heavily on it sense of smell. Scent molecules are released mixed in the horses own smell creating a "fog" making it difficult for the fly to find its victim. Aha, so now you know!
There are many forms of repellent available, from the age old sprig of elder in the browband, to cider vinegar, lavender and garlic (which is the base oil used in the aptly named NAFOFF range of topical sprays). Or you can opt for a product that many horse owners rave about (once only available through vets) called Deosect by Deosan. One application lasts for up to 2 weeks (some people say more) making it an efficient and cost effective choice, especially for owners of horses turned out 24/7 or those who don’t take kindly to too much fuss.
As with all repellents care must be taken when applying them (even with natural products) and always read the label.
If you have any tips on how stop flies spoiling the summer fun for horse and rider why not post them in our Everything Horse Care group. Consuming vast amounts of garlic bread is supposed to work wonders, not only does it keeps flies away but most of your friends too!!
First published in 2012.