If you own horses, or have spent a lot of time around them, then you know that flies are a real nuisance for them. All winter long we look forward to the clear warm days of spring but then out come the insects. But thanks to some creative owners, horse lovers, and just some crafty people in the kitchen, there are some recipes for homemade fly sprays for horses that really work. We are going to look at a few of our favorite ones in this article. We will tell you what materials you need, give you the recipes, and then what you should do with the spray once it is ready to be used.
Homemade Fly Spray for Horses
Homemade fly spray for horses is a way to replace chemical based sprays that are bought over the counter. They are also a way to ensure that you know exactly what is going on your horse and whether it is harmful to them. Making homemade fly spray for horses is also a cheaper way to experiment and determine if what you are doing works. If it doesn’t work, you can just throw it out and make something different without breaking the bank.
1. Why Should I Try Homemade Fly Sprays?
Homemade fly sprays are cheaper, they do not contain harsh chemicals, and some of them work just as well as commercial brands.
2. Why Is It Important to Repel Flies from My Horses?
If there was no other reason than the fact that flies are amongst some of the most annoying creatures on earth, it would be enough. But flies and other biting insects also carry diseases like Pigeon Fever, Equine Infectious Anemia, and West Nile Virus. It is important to apply something to your horses to repel the flies and decrease the chances of disease.
3. Are Homemade Fly Sprays Effective?
Surprisingly, they are a lot more effective than you think. Some sprays will work better for the face and others will work better for the body, but it is definitely worth experimenting to find out what works best for your horses.
4. Are Homemade Fly Sprays Safe?
Horses, just like humans, can have sensitivities to certain oils, soaps, and other ingredients used in homemade fly sprays. You should assess your horse to make sure they do not have anytype of reaction to the spray you use. Other than a possible reaction though, homemade fly spray for horses are usually the safest type of sprays you can use.
5. What Do I Need to Know about Applying Homemade Fly Sprays?
Do your research. Know your base ingredients and if it needs to be sprayed on heavily, or in the case of essential oils, know the proper carrier oil to use. In order for fly sprays to be effective, you must apply them to the coat. Also, when applying to a horse’s face, be mindful of their eyes, nose, ears, and mouth.
Recipes for Homemade Fly Spray for Horses
Next, we are going to look at some recipes that work. We have researched many types of homemade fly sprays and we have listened to what people had to say about them. We have also relied on our own knowledge of horses and talked to people who work with horses every day to get their input and draw on their knowledge and insight.
1. Skin So Soft Water Based Spray
This one is a favorite and is recommended by the U.S. Forest Service. Skin So Soft has long been known to be a great insect repellent and works especially well for face flies. You only need 5 ingredients: 1 cup of water, 2 cups of apple cider vinegar, 1 cup of Skin So Soft bath oil, 1 tablespoon of Citronella oil, and 1 tablespoon of Eucalyptus oil. Mix this all together in a large container and pour into a spray bottle.
2. Mineral Oil Fly Spray
This one is also good for face flies, but the oil attracts dust, so do not use it before you will be showing your horse. The ingredients you will need are 2 cups light mineral oil, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 2 teaspoons citronella oil, 2 teaspoons eucalyptus oil, 2 teaspoons lemon dish detergent, and if you desire, you can add 1/2 cup of glycerine. Mix this well and pour into a spray bottle.
3. Essential Oil Fly Blend (Credited to Nan Martin)
Everyone knows that insects do not like essential oils. This mixture is no exception. Be sure to use therapeutic grade essential oils. Take 5-10 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil, 5-10 drops of Tea Tree or Melaleuca Essential Oil, 5-10 drops of Idaho Tansy Essential Oil, 5-10 drops of Eucalyptus Essential Oil, 5-10 drops of Lemongrass Essential Oil, and 5-10 drops of Lavender Essential Oil and drop into a 32 ounce spray bottle of water.
4. Budget Homemade Fly Spray
This one can be made for around $1.25 each bottle after the initial purchase of the therapeutic grade essential oils, and it seems to work well. Mix the following ingredients in a 32 ounce spray bottle: 1 cup white vinegar, 2 cups water, 1/2 cup spray on sunscreen, 50 drops of citronella oil, 25 drops of Lemongrass Essential Oil, 25 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil, 20 drops of Lavender Essential Oil, and 2 Tablespoons of Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap.
5. Horse and Stable Fly Spray
The next homemade fly spray for horses actually works well for the barn too. It has 3 easy ingredients: 2 cups white vinegar, 1 tablespoon Eucalyptus Oil, and 1 cup of water. Mix these into a 32 ounce spray bottle.
How to Apply the Spray
We will now show you how to apply each of the homemade fly spray recipes we have given you above.
1. Applying Skin So Soft Water Based Spray
The Skin So Soft, as mentioned above, is great for face flies. Apply this spray to your horse’s face by spraying it on a cloth and then wiping it on their face. Do not apply above their eyes because they may sweat, causing it to run into their eyes. We also spoke with horse owners who use the Skin So Soft spray on their horse’s body as well as their face. They applied it by spraying it on the coat and rubbing it in if necessary. Flies do not like the smell of this product.
2. Applying Mineral Oil Fly Spray
As with the Skin So Soft, this mixture should be sprayed on a cloth and applied to the horses face except around the eyes. As mentioned before, this oil based mixture attracts dust, so most people don’t use it on the horse’s coat; just around the eyes. If your horse has pink skin on their face, apply sunscreen before applying this mixture.
3. Applying Essential Oil Fly Blend
Once this homemade fly spray for horses is mixed into the spray bottle, you can spray it on the horse’s coat, mane, tail, and with a cloth it can be applied to the face. Monitor the horse to make sure there is no reaction to any of the essential oils. This is rare but could happen.
4. Applying Budge Homemade Fly Spray
You can spray this one directly on the horse’s coat and it can be applied with a cloth to the face, avoiding the eye area. Some users suggested using different kinds of essential oils like Eucalyptus, Melaleuca, and Tea Tree Oil to change the scent from time to time.
5. Applying Horse and Stable Fly Spray
You can spray this one on the horse’s coat and apply to the horse’s face with a soft cloth, avoiding the eyes. Users suggest this one for the barn and stall too, recommending it instead of some commercial brands for repelling flies in the barn. Start out with a clean stall and then apply this spray every hour.
While nothing will do away with those pesky flies for good, they can be significantly reduced, and your horse can have the peace it deserves with some good homemade fly spray for horses. We have presented a few here for you and the best ways to apply them; and we hope this has given you some good ideas to use for the summer days ahead.
As always, we suggest cleaning your horses’ stalls every day and applying some pest control methods to grass and pasture areas to help reduce the number of flies you have to begin with; but using some kind of fly spray will be necessary to keep your horse healthy and happy. We hope that by using the recipes and methods we have suggested here, you will save time, money, and worry. Using homemade fly spray for horses reduces the risk to them because there are no harsh chemicals involved, but it increases their peace of mind, and yours, by repelling those annoying flies.
If you are still wondering where to begin, we suggest starting with our number one recipe, Skin So Soft Water Based Fly Spray, as it comes highly recommended.