Fly season. It is the bane of all horse owners and riders. Some of us may have to combat these pests year round while others only need to worry about them in the summer months. If you visit any store with horse supplies you'll see a variety of fly sprays and insect repellents available. Many of these sprays don't work for longer than an hour. The ones that do last for a while tend to smell extremely strong. They also can be quite expensive on top of being full of chemicals.
Horses have sensitive skin and it's not a rare occurrence for a horse to have an allergic reaction to some of the store-bought fly sprays. If your horse, or yourself even, is sensitive to fly spray or you'd rather use a more natural option, consider trying out these homemade fly sprays.
*You may want to check how you and your horse react to essential oils before using. If you're mixing your own fly spray err on the side of caution, always use less oil rather than too much.*
Basic Chemical-Free Fly Spray
Be sure you use real 100% essential oils in these recipes. For example, Citronella scent from a big box store is almost always synthetic so double-check your labels.
- 2 cups white vinegar
- 1 cup water
- ½ tablespoon of Citronella essential oil
- ½ tablespoon of Eucalyptus essential oil
Simply combine ingredients into a spray bottle and shake well before using.
Skin So Soft Fly Spray
You can find Skin So Soft online or through a local Avon representative.
- 1 oz of Citronella oil
- 2 oz of Avon's Skin So Soft
- 1 cup pure Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 cup water
Combine ingredients in spray bottle and shake well before spraying.
Commerical Fly Spray Enhancer
If your current fly spray works well but you'd like to make the bottle last a little longer, try this simple recipe to help extend your commercial fly spray and even enhance it.
- 5 oz of your favorite fly spray
- 5 oz of white vinegar (you may use apple cider vinegar if you wish)
- 2 oz of coconut oil (melt down first)
- 2 oz of a nontoxic dish soap such as Dawn
You may forgo using the Dawn if you find it leaves a film on your horse's coat. Many people find that Dawn works well but it is best to not use too much in your recipes or layer it on your own for weeks.
If you decide to give these fly sprays a try please keep in mind that all horses and people may have different reactions. It is always best to be cautious when using a new product on your horse, especially those with essential oils.
Also, as with your typical fly sprays, if you're going riding it is wise to tack up before spraying your horse. Fly spray, commercial or homemade, can make the coat very slick. Another potential problem with saddling over fresh fly spray is a slightly caustic reaction from the heat trapped under the saddle working with the ingredients in the spray.
Happy riding and may you keep those flies at bay! As always, if you try these recipes or have your own tools against the fly war, please share in the comments below.
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