Flies and insects are common pests in stables, leading to unnecessary discomfort for your equine friends. If you want to protect against stable flies, bot flies, horse flies, deer flies, mosquitoes, gnats, ticks, and lice, you need a quality fly spray for horses.
Fly sprays contain powerful repellents to help keep flies away. Some options also come with UV protection, conditioners, and other beneficial features.
You have hundreds of fly sprays, repellents, and masks to choose from, which can be a little overwhelming. To help you find the right protection, use the following fly spray review and buyer’s guide.
How Do Horse Fly Sprays Work?
A fly spray is designed to repel pests, keeping your horse free of nasty bites and irritation. The sprays are typically oil-based or water-based and include natural or chemical repellents.
You can purchase horse fly sprays in concentrated form or ready-to-use spray bottles. The concentrated formulas require mixing with water, but they tend to provide a more cost-effective solution.
The sprays are intended for application directly on the horses. The ingredients cover the horse’s coat, providing continual protection until the product starts to wear off.
Sprays typically contain an insecticide and a repellent. Insecticides kill flies on contact and may also help repel pests. Repellents do not kill flies. They emit an odor that pests find repulsive.
Some of the less expensive sprays may not provide long-lasting protection and may even cause unwanted irritation. For optimal protection, take the time to compare products, starting with the top eight fly sprays for horses.
Farnam is a popular choice for fly sprays. The company produces a variety of products, including this ready-to-use water-based formula. The Endure Sweat-Resistant Spray provides up to 14 days of protection.
After applying the spray, it continues to protect against biting and nuisance pests, including flies, ticks, gnats, and lice. It is designed to bind to the hair shafts, allowing it to stay active in wet conditions.
The long-lasting spray is affordable and easy to apply. The formula goes on evenly and is not known to cause any irritation. It is considered one of the most effective sprays for horses, ponies, donkeys, dogs, and other animals.
The Farnam Repel-X Fly Spray is a concentrated formula that does not leave an oily residue. With a 32-ounce container, you can make two gallons of fly spray. This is one of the most affordable ways to repel pests.
The formula kills and repels most pests, including ticks, gnats, mosquitoes, and a variety of flies. It is safe to use on horses and other animals. You can also use it around the stable to create a defensive barrier.
The mixture has a combination of insecticides, repellents, and other ingredients for effective results. You just mix one-part formula to four-parts water in a spray bottle or commercial sprayer.
As with the Farnam sprays, this product is designed to last up to two weeks. It offers protection against biting flies, fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes.
The spray also includes a coat conditioner. When you brush out your horse’s hair, it provides a nice sheen while still protecting against pests.
The UltraShield EX spray is weatherproof and lasts up to 17 days thanks to a unique formula with multiple coat conditioners and sunscreens. The formula is designed to repel more than 70 different species of nuisance flies and biting flies, along with ticks, gnats, and mosquitoes.
The formula is ready-to-use. It comes in a 128-ounce container, providing enough refills for four 32-ounce spray bottles. To apply, you simply spray a brush before grooming your horse.
Available in a 32-ounce container, Martin’s Permethrin 10% Insecticide is intended for indoor and outdoor use. It is a concentrated oil-based formula for use on horses, stables, and even inside your home.
The dilution rate depends on where you intend to apply the formula. Whether you have severe insect infestations or minor pest problems, you can dilute the formula to meet your specific needs. It remains effective against most pests, including biting flies, for up to 28 days, making it one of the longest-lasting fly sprays.
The Manna Pro Pro-Force Fly Spray comes in a one-gallon container and protects for up to 14 days. It is a water-based formula and it is ready to use without diluting. However, it does not come in a spray bottle.
The water-based formula should not clog spray bottles, which is sometimes an issue with oil-based formulas. It applies evenly and works well against most pests, including stable flies, gnats, and ticks.
The Horse Health Fly Repellent Spray from Farnam includes an insecticide and repellents to kill and repel pests. The ready-to-use formula comes in a 32-ounce spray bottle and works on horses and dogs.
It is a non-oily formula and easy to apply. You can use it at full strength to kill and repel most pests. The label also provides instructions for wipe-on use and trigger spray use. It is a versatile product that can provide continuous protection for a week or longer.
The repellent comes from Farnam, one of the leading manufacturers of fly repellents and insecticides for horses. While it is not the most effective solution for repelling ticks, fleas, lice, and chiggers, it can repel common pests. The product is tested to repel house flies, stable flies, face flies, and horn flies.
The main benefit of this repellent is that you can easily apply it around sensitive areas, such as the nose and eyes. However, it does not provide optimal protection against every pest in the stable.
How to Choose the Best Fly Spray for Your Horses
The main factors to consider when comparing fly sprays include:
- Concentrated or ready-to-use formula
- Natural or chemical ingredients
- Oil-based or water-based sprays
Along with these details, you should consider any specific conditions that affect your horses. For example, a fly spray with natural ingredients may cause less irritation for a horse with sensitive skin.
Concentrated or Ready-to-Use Formula
Fly sprays come in concentrated formulas or ready-to-use formulas. The concentrated containers require mixing with water to dilute the formula. This tends to provide the most cost-effective option.
When using a concentrated formula, make sure that you get the ratio of water to formula correct. If you dilute the formula too much, it may become less effective. If you do not add enough water, the ingredients may be too harsh and irritate your horse’s skin.
Ready-to-use formulas avoid the need to add water, but also cost more per ounce.
Natural or Chemical Ingredients
For those that are worried about exposing their horses to chemicals, you can find horse fly spray products made from natural ingredients. These sprays typically contain a mixture of essential oils to repel flies.
Peppermint, lemongrass, eucalyptus, lavender, and citronella are commonly used to keep pests away. However, without synthetic insecticides, these sprays are less likely to kill the flies. They still repel pests, but may not offer maximum protection.
Oil-Based or Water-Based Sprays
Choosing between oil-based and water-based sprays is an important decision based on how and when you plan on using the spray.
Water-based sprays include water as a primary ingredient. The consistency of the spray allows it to spread evenly. However, the spray also wears off quickly.
You may need to reapply water-based sprays more frequently. Oil-based sprays last longer, but also promote dust and debris buildup. Dealing with oily residue is a little annoying. However, these sprays can last up to 14 days, depending on the brand.
Conclusion – Which Is the Best Fly Spray for Horses
Choosing the right spray depends on your preferences and needs. If you want a simple spray that you can use just before a ride, you may prefer one of the water-based sprays.
Those that are worried about harsh chemicals may want to choose the natural sprays made with essential oils.
No matter your decision, make sure that you read the instructions on the packaging. Each spray has different requirements for proper application. You may need to dilute the formula with a specific ratio of water or avoid using the spray on certain areas of the horse’s body.
As a final tip for those that have not applied fly sprays before, start slowly to avoid spooking your horse. Some horses are startled by the sound and feel of the spray. Start spraying slowly at the legs and work your way up.