It can be really difficult to do anything with your horse when he’s being plagued by flies and midges. But they’re hard to avoid! However, there are a few things you can do to minimise the problem.
Homemade Fly Repellant for Horses
I use a completely natural home made fly repellent which not only works but is cost effective as well. It’s safe enough for use on your horse’s face and is also suitable for human use (yes, I use it myself). Just keep it away from the eyes.
The main ingredients are readily available from either your stock feed shop or a supermarket. The essential oils can be bought from most health food shops. The oils may seem a bit expensive, but as you are only using small quantities at a time, the bottle will last for years. This means that overall the spray is quite cheap!
300 ml Apple Cider Vinegar
150 ml Chamomile Tea (brewed as per normal)
4 drops Eucalyptus Oil
20 drops Citronella Oil
10 drops Peppermint Oil
20 drops Pennyroyal Oil (optional)
Mix all ingredients together and decant into a spray bottle. Use as required.
Commercial Fly Repellents for Horses
If you prefer not to have to make your own there are a large number of products available commercially. I tend to stick to those advertised as “natural” – if you feel the same, make sure you check the ingredients to confirm.
Donnybrook Equine is a company specialising in completely natural equine products. They offer two varieties of insect repellent specifically for horses (see below). Both are equally effective so it’s just a matter of personal choice. The ingredients are deionized water, natural wax, plant oil and essential oils.
Rosemary & Cedarwood
Rosemary essential oil is a strongly aromatic oil with anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. It is the characteristic smell of rosemary that leads to its repellent ability. Cedarwood essential oil is sourced from various conifer trees. It too has has a very characteristic odour and has been used for centuries by the Indians as an insect repellent.
Citronella & Lavender
Citronella essential oil is a well known, plant-based insect repellent. The repellent action of citronella has been clinically proven, but it does require more regular application than synthetic repellents. Lavender essential oil is potent repellent for many types of insect. Lavender also has anti-inflammatory qualities that will reduce the irritation and the pain associated with insect bites.
Both products can be purchased from Donnybrook Equine directly, or from eBay.
Price from Donnybrook:
250ml bottle $19.00
500ml bottle $25.00
I hope you find the above useful. I have been trying different natural fly repellents for a long time, and the above 2 solutions are the best I have found to date. If you have any alternative suggestions or recipes please let me know!