Flies are a menace around stables, turnouts, and pastures, especially in the summertime. The warm months with their longer days may allow for more time to ride out in the sun, but they also come with an abundance of flies to agitate your horse, making horse fly care essential. Understanding the ways you can provide relief and horse fly care is a crucial part of being a horse owner. Here are a few things you can do to help your horse deal with flies.
When To Start Horse Fly Care
The ideal time to start preventative horse fly care is before fly season starts. This is so that you can control the amount of flies you’re dealing with. The best horse fly care is limiting the fly population. This can be done through keeping a tidy stable by storing food as exposed feed can draw flies to it, not leaving trash around, and controlling how much moisture is around the premises.
Flies breed in manure and lay eggs in wet areas, like standing water, a horse’s preferred spot to pee, and wet stall shavings or straw. Keeping a clean stable prevents flies from proliferating because it takes away their breeding areas. This can be done by mucking stalls quickly and having manure composted or spread thinly over an area as far from the stables as possible. Checking for any leaks around waterers and the stables, as well as ensuring the drainage is good, will fix any wet areas. Dry areas are not good breeding grounds, so effective moisture control disrupts fly life cycles, meaning it’s an effective method of fly control for horse fly care.
Another way to keep flies from populating is by feeding your horse approved fly control supplements. These do not hurt your horse, as rather than affecting your horse’s body, they work in your horse’s manure, creating insect growth regulators that impact any fly eggs laid there so that they do not grow, ergo, controlling how many flies you get.
Flies are lessened when there’s wind or a breeze because they can’t fly as well. Fans that cause an air current through your barn aisles or into your horse’s stall disrupt flies and keeps them from entering the area. Setting up a fan effectively helps your horse deal with flies by discouraging them from coming near.
Fly Traps and Barn Repellents
Sticky paper and fly traps catch and kill flies. Do not set up traps in the barn or by horses’ stalls, as this will draw flies right to them, causing nuisance for your horse. Instead, set the traps up outside the barn, to keep them out of it. You can also use fly repellent spray around your stable to reduce flies.
A key component of horse fly care is fly spray. Fly spray wards flies away from horses, providing temporary relief. In order to work properly, fly sprays need to be applied correctly. This means that dirt and loose hair should be brushed off, and that your horse should be dry before applying. Avoid spraying in your horse’s eyes and use either a roll-on fly control or apply your fly spray on to a rag to protect your horse’s face. When using fly spray, keep in mind that you shouldn’t use the entire bottle or spray too close to your horse, as this can cause chemical burns.
There are many options for fly spray; find the one that works best for your horse. You can do this by considering your horse’s environment, how long the spray needs to last, and if there are other pests you need to protect your horse from too. If your horse sweats a lot, consider a water-resistant formula. If you cannot spray your horse daily, opt for a long-lasting one. Some fly sprays promise shine as well, so if you are planning on showing, that could be a good option for you.
Fly masks are an important method of keeping flies out of your horse’s eyes and protecting their faces from bites. Choose a mask that fits your horse’s head properly with darts or rounded inserts so that it raises over your horse’s eyes, giving them clear lines of vision. Check it for rips or anything that might get caught in the mesh, as these can give your horse rubs and sores. Keep it clean too, as dirty fly masks can cause skin infections. A well-fitted fly mask made of a nonabrasive material, like mesh or lycra, is a summer horse essential.
Fly sheets offer extra protection against flies for your horse. Fly sheets are lightweight to keep your horse from overheating, and cover your horse’s body. They come in a variety of styles, so you can opt for one that covers your horse’s neck as well, or just their back.
Fly Boots and Leg Wraps
Especially if bot flies bother your horse, you can cover their legs with fly boots as an extra measure against biting flies and against bot flies laying their eggs on your horse’s legs. Fly boots and leg wraps can also help your horse not have to stomp in order to disrupt flies by providing a cool, usually mesh, barrier.
It’s important to care for your horse, especially during fly season. Horse fly care is essential for any horse person to know. To learn more about how to help your horse deal with flies, contact us at Borrett Animal Hospital today!