It happens every year…the weather warms up, but there’s still moisture in the air. The flies start appearing, along with the mosquitoes and other nasty little critters who like to feast on both you and your horse while you’re at the barn, at a show or out on the trail. You have probably already wanted to say, “buzz off” to irritating bugs. By all accounts, this year is going to be a bad one in terms of insects, so let’s get a handle on things now!
Say, “Buzz Off” to Those Pesky Bugs
Here are a few little general tips before we get started with some great products to help keep you all more comfortable in the saddle this summer. First, remember that your horses need to be vaccinated for West Nile – this is crucial, especially during this time of year. Just recently I was out in Los Osos, and I came home with no less than ten mosquito bites on my arms, neck and even on my head! This means that our horses are having to deal with the same thing. If you haven’t already vaccinated, do so quickly.
A Multi-faceted Approach
Secondly, a little rule of thumb when it comes to fly and insect protection that works all year, every year…you have to use a multi-faceted approach to prevention and protection. I employ several methods, including a home-made “feed through” that consists of garlic powder and apple cider vinegar, a fly mask and blanket, fly sprays and stall sprays. I also always have hydro-cortisone cream on hand to rub on those “bumps” that are a little larger than others when the insects manage to make it passed my other defenses – it helps to take the itch away from your horse’s skin, and you can also use it on yourself! This is a “must carry” in your travel “grooming bag”. To keep things simple and cost effective, I purchase several tubes at a time at the Dollar Store so that I always have some on hand.
Lastly, when it comes to fly sprays and other topicals, it’s great to “rotate” your products. We tend to douse our horses in these sprays, wipes, creams and other concoctions, and in the process, the insects start to build up a resistance to what we’re trying to use. I try to rotate between brands and “types” of sprays on a monthly basis during the worst times of the year.
Now it’s time for some of our favorite picks from Riding Warehouse to keep your horses bug free this summer!
Fly, Bug and Tick Sprays
When it comes to fly spray, sometimes the ones that have been around the longest really do work the best. Along this line, Repel-X is always a great choice! It smells nice, it works well (especially as an early summer spray), and it doesn’t leave your horse with that greasy film that some other sprays do.
If you’re in a particularly bad fly area, or you find that you ride out where the bugs get particularly nasty, Pyranha Wipe and Spray is always a good choice. Okay, the smell isn’t that great, and it does tend to be a little greasy and attract dirt, but the main thing here is that it actually works. Spray it over your horse and then wipe it on those problem areas like the legs and face before you go out for a hack, and you’ll find that it helps to repel flies, mosquitoes, gnats and all manner of insects.
If you’re looking for more “natural” fly protection that doesn’t employ insecticides, there are a few great products on the market. Zephyr’s Garden Pure & Simple Spray is a great choice, as it uses a combination of essential oils, herbs and apple cider vinegar to repel those nasty bugs. It’s considered a “summer spray” and the company actually has an entire line of products for different needs. Another great natural spray is Espree Aloe Herbal Natural Fly Spray Concentrate . This stuff is actually really affordable as it comes in a concentrate, and it also has sunscreen elements, coat conditioners, and it repels gnats, flies and other insects.
Do you have horses out in a summer pasture? Are you not able to make it out to the barn every day to spray your horses with the traditional sprays? Why not try a “spot treatment” like Equi-Spot? This product claims to last up to 6 weeks and is much like flea and tick spot treatments we use on our dogs and cats. A friend of mine actually has a group of mares on pasture and swears by this product for keeping them fly, gnat and mosquito free for “at least a month”.
Don’t forget the ticks when you’re considering insect control! Tick season is upon us right now as well, and these little guys can be really dangerous. Grab some Ticks-Off Spray to use before you head out on your next trail ride. Concentrate on the legs, tail, and give a light mist all over the body. This product has a nice lavender scent and it’s quick drying and residue free.
Don’t Leave Yourself Out!
Don’t leave yourself out of the equation when you’re preparing to go out on a trail ride. Remember those 10 nasty mosquito bites I came home with from Los Osos the other day? Well, I wish I would have had some Horseware Moskito Care Rider Spray on hand! This stuff is great, and should be a staple in the horse trailer. Give yourself a spritz before you head out and you’ll thank yourself later!
So, remember that when it comes to insect prevention and control, you may have to get into some more advanced “multi-pronged” approaches, including sheets, masks, feed-throughs, etc., but one thing that we all use with regularity is the “topicals”. Follow these links to get a great deal on some of the best insect repellents around and say “Buzz Off” to those nasty biting critters this year.
Just so you know, clicking the above links takes you to the product on the Riding Warehouse site. This makes shopping easy and convenient for you. We do get a little kick-back from items purchased, giving us resources to bring you more stories, but your price stays the same. It’s a win-win! Also for local riders you can order items online and request pick-up – during checkout – at the Riding Warehouse store. Happy Trails!