The best fly sprays for horses are an absolute lifesaver in the summer months – they are highly effective and long-lasting, which negates the need for constant reapplication. Flies are a general nuisance, but for some horses their bites can lead to reactions and persistent itching and discomfort. With a wide range of flying insects across the country, protecting your horse can present a challenge.
Preventing flies from landing in the first instance is the best solution for protecting your horse – in addition to fly sprays, you can use fly gels, lotions or washes as well as fly masks and fly rugs to arm your horse with a full defence. Fly gels are particularly handy if your horse is averse to the spray. It can be a case of trial and error to find out what works for your horse, but once you’ve found a solution you can buy in bulk and save money in the long run. Some owners swear by their own home recipes.
Some fly deterrents contain synthetic active ingredients such as DEET or permethrin, some of which are insecticides, while other sprays contain natural ingredients known to deter a range of flying insects. Some formulas will need to be reapplied more often than others, so while some appear to be more expensive they may last you a lot longer. It’s also wise to consider the bottle and spray type – finding a gentle and quiet spray with good coverage can be difference between a calm and stressful turnout routine.
In the UK there are a lot of restrictions about what can be called a fly repellent, what can be applied to your horse and how companies can talk about different products. This guide includes a full range of fly deterrents – those you can apply to your horse, as well as those that should be applied to his living area or your feed room. Some products in this guide have been approved for use on animals in the US, while in the UK they are only approved for premise use around horses. Anyone choosing to use the spray in a manner that is not in line with the guidance on the bottle’s label, does so at their own risk.
Here is a selection of some of the best fly sprays for horses and their premises…
Absorbine Ultrashield insecticide and repellent
Active ingredients: Permethrin and pyrethrin | Sizes: 956ml | RRP: £29.33
This spray provides what is described as an ‘instant knock-down’ to nuisance insects, as well as a long-lasting protective ‘shield’. This new bottle provides an ergonomic grip, plus a vertical and horizontal fan spray option, for upside-down usage and hard-to-reach areas, which also makes sure you can use every last drop. This Absorbine spray was reviewed as part of our independent testing scheme and scored 10/10 – read the full review.
Audevard Flymax Nano Extract
Sizes: 500ml | RRP: £24.95
With a texture designed to provide optimal adherence, this formula is made from blended plant extracts. It repels and eliminates flies, flat flies, biting midges, mosquitoes, horseflies, fleas and ticks. The adjustable nozzle allows you to alter the size of the spray.
Barrier Super Plus fly repellent
Active ingredients: Eucalyptus citriodora oil | Sizes: 500ml, 1l, 5l, 20l | RRP: From £9.50 for 500ml
Trusted by many horse owners, this fly repellent deters all flying insects and calms the effects of midge bites. The pleasant-smelling formula contains a blend of concentrated herbal oils, volatile essential oils and pure avocado oil, which is a skin and coat conditioner. The trigger spray has a quiet, fine action, and the formula is also available in a refill bottle.
Botanica fly spray
Sizes: 750ml | RRP: £16.50
This all-natural plant-based spray can be used directly on your horse. It’s described as sweat resistant and a deterrent to all insects.
More info and view at botanica.ie
Carr & Day & Martin Flygard Extra Strength insect repellent spray
Active ingredients: DEET | Sizes: 500ml, 1l | RRP: £16.75
This is described as an effective alternative to a natural-based repellent. This formula offers protection from midges and biting insects and contains the proven, researched active ingredient DEET at an optimum level of 20% for long-lasting protection. This Carr & Day & Martin spray was reviewed as part of our independent testing scheme and scored 9/10 – read the full review.
Active ingredients: Icaridine | Sizes: 500ml | RRP: £24.99
This gentle and non-sticky formula protects against horseflies, flies, mosquitoes, ticks and other insects. It contains icaridine, which forms a scented blanket on the skin, disrupting the mechanism that attracts insects to human and animal skin. This Cavalor spray was reviewed as part of our independent testing scheme and scored 6/10 – read the full review.
Equine America Stinger fly and insect repellent
Sizes: 1l | RRP: £16.99
Each application of this flying insect and midge repellent is effective for up to seven hours, depending on the weather conditions, which negates the need for constant reapplication. This Carr & Day & Martin spray was reviewed as part of our independent testing scheme and scored 6/10 – read the full review.
More info and view at equine-america.co.uk
Farnam Tri-Tec 14
Active ingredients: Cypermethrin and pyrethrins | Sizes: 300ml, 600ml, 946ml, 3.8l | RRP: £29.95 for 600ml
This is the leading fly product in the US. It kills horse flies, mosquitoes, Scottish midges, mites, stable flies, crab flies, deer flies and ticks. The water-based formula has a nice scent and can stay in place for up to 14 days.
Feedmark Blue Bottle
Active ingredients: DEET and PMD | Sizes: 500ml, 1l | RRP: £20.99 for 500ml
This highly fragrant spray deters flying and biting insects, providing up to 12 hours of relief. It is described as gentle on the skin.
More info and view at feedmark.com
Fine Fettle fly spray
Sizes: 1l | RRP: £34
Made from a complex of herbs, this natural formula forms a healthy barrier that helps counter fly bites and irritation. It’s water-based so leaves no oily residue.
More info and view at finefettlefeed.com
Global Herbs citronella spray
Sizes: 500ml | RRP: £6.92
This soothing citrus spray contains lavender, tea tree and lemongrass essential oils. This gentle spray has a pleasant fragrance and will also soothe your horse’s skin.
Happy Equine Fly Off Super Strength
Sizes: 750ml | RRP: £16.95
This insect spray combines lemon citronella, geranium oil, eucalyptus, tea tree oil, basil and neem oils for a long-lasting repellent effect that is organic and not diluted by your horse’s sweat.
More info and view at happyequine.uk
Hawkins Organic Buck Off spray
Sizes: 1l, 2.5l, 5l | RRP: From £13.95 for 1l
This natural fly spray is described as highly effective and suitable for horses who are unable to tolerate DEET- or chemical-based repellents. It contains organic lemongrass essential oils.
More info and view at hawkinsorganic.com
Incognito insect repellent spray
Active ingredient: PMD | Sizes: 50ml, 100ml | RRP: £11.99 for 100ml
This natural, DEET-free formula contains citronella, tea tree oil and neem. It has a light citrus aroma and a non-greasy feel.
Leovet Power Phaser
Sizes: 550ml, 2.5l | RRP: £21 for 550ml
This optimised blend of effective ingredients provides a long-lasting stay-off effect from all insects, even when your horse sweats. Correctly applied, this product can last upto seven hours.
Mastacare Extra Strength fly spray repellent
Active ingredients: Citriodiol, lemon eucalyptus and chrysanthemum oils | Sizes: 500ml | RRP: £14.29
The water-based formula means this fly repellent isn’t greasy. It contains a scientific blend of natural insect repellents making it suitable for sensitive horses.
More info and view at harryhall.com
NAF Off DEET Power Performance spray
Active ingredients: DEET | Sizes: 750ml, 2.5l, 5l | RRP: £14.99 for 750ml
This concentrated anti-fly and anti-insect repellent spray is designed for year-round protection from a wide range of pests. Contains 19.6% DEET.
Nettex Standard fly repellent
Active ingredients: DEET | Sizes: 250ml, 500ml, 2l | RRP: £14.90 for 500ml
This DEEt-based formula has added moisturisers and conditioners and is ideal for everyday use. It repels flies, stable flies, and all biting insects. This Nettex spray was reviewed as part of our independent testing scheme and scored 8/10 – read the full review.
Shires Ezi-Groom citronella spray
Sizes: 500ml | RRP: £8.99
This spray contains a natural blend of citronella, lavender oil, chrysanthemum oil and tea tree oil.
Stübben fly spray
Sizes: 500ml | RRP: £18.99
This formula contains natural oils with a long-lasting fragrance to keep annoying insects away from your horse.
More info at view at stuebben.co.uk
WildWash equine summer spray
Sizes: 300ml, 5l | RRP: £14.95 for 300ml
Made in England, this natural and pH balanced formula is made of pure essential oils. Horsetail, eucalyptus and nettle are combined to create an effective and aroma, which will last up to 24 hours, for summer use.
More info and view at wildwash.co.uk
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