Horse flies. Do any repellents actually work.

Silver

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My horse is a little bothered by the horse flies and they do seem to be particularly attracted to him. How can I help?
Tried stinky stuff no help what so ever
Tried jungle formula - just the same
 

MyBoyChe

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I bit the bullet and bought some deosect this year as he was being eaten by midgey things. Expensive outlay but Ive worked it out and it will actually cost less over the summer than buying ready made sprays. So far its working much better than anything else Ive tried.
 

JennBags

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Horse flies don't hunt by scent, they hunt by sight so no repellent will work. You can get deet based ones that kill them if they bite I believe, but your only real hope is fly rugs, the zebra striped ones are best.
 

WandaMare

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I don't think the repellents work so well with horseflies but they definitely reduce them to some extent. I forgot to put any on yesterday morning and I was swamped with the little pests. Put on some Barrier super plus fly repellent this morning and although we had the odd one annoy us, it was nothing like yesterday. I do use fly rugs as well but the one I have pulls back across my horse's chest if I do anything other than walk, so not ideal. I ve been getting up very early to ride the last week or so because they don't seem to come out earlier on and also keeping away from fields with long grass seems to help.
 

ycbm

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The most effective fly repellent I've ever found is a mix of 50% Dettol 50% vinegar. It doesn't last all day, though. And do a patch test as it can irritate some horses.
 

Follysmum

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I find some work better than others but as soon as your horse starts sweating flies seem to be attracted a lot more . It’s so frustrating when you have a really sensitive chestnut!
 

BeckyFlowers

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I've found nothing repels horseflies. I've tried Deosect, Power Phazer, plus all manner of other sprays and also essential oils and nothing works for me. They repel other flying critters, but horseflies don't give a flying chuff. I've given up riding until they die off as me and the horse get swarmed (he's black and I have that sweet sweet body chemistry that's attractive to biting insects). Sad times.
 

Penny Less

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I bought Effol horsefly blocker a couple of years ago, it seemed to work, unless we just don't get horseflies at our yard !
 

Yeomans

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A girl on our yard used Dettol mixed with vinegar and the horse came out in hives all of its body so be careful if you do use it.
 

Carrottom

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One of mine has an old fly rug with no neck cover, its the only one I have that fits him and I will be buying a new one. So today, before turning out, I sprayed his legs, neck, ears and face with the power phazer spray. He had multiple horse flies on the rug (at least a dozen) but although they were buzzing around they didn't seem to be landing on the treated areas. Maybe not perfect but a lot better than nothing. He is dark bay so usually attracts them like mad.
 

DJ

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As stated further up they hunt by sight, I got a zebra fly rug and it did actually work.
 

TGM

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As I said earlier, you can't repel horse flies as they don't hunt by scent.
Actually, according to research done by the University of Kentucky, although horseflies do hunt partly by sight, they also are attracted by odours emitted by animals such as carbon dioxide, so repellants can work, although I don't think any can guarantee no flies 100%. I've found some repellents such as Power Phaser (if you don't mind using Deet) or EqWax (if you want more natural) make a noticeable difference to how many horseflies attack.
 

criso

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Today's report, nothing works. I had to hack 20 minutes up the road to a clinic and poor tb was eaten alive despite many sprays. I use more than one to combine some key ingredients.

I was killing the ones that landed within reach on his neck and shoulder but stopped counting at 20. He is covered in lumps and bites, some of which are bleeding

The only thing that works at the moment is keeping a fly rug on day and night but that doesn't help for riding.
 

Art Nouveau

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You can get ride-on fly rugs, I've just ordered a zebra one after today's rather tense ride. I'm sure I'll get funny looks hacking out but better that than have my horse causing traffic problems.
 

Dave's Mam

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They are utter gits, hunt by sight for large dark things. Only repellent? Buy a grey horse.

I am usually eaten alive, to the point of hospital treatment. Praying for none this year.
 

Bernster

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They are utter gits, hunt by sight for large dark things. Only repellent? Buy a grey horse.

I am usually eaten alive, to the point of hospital treatment. Praying for none this year.
Yikes that’s grim. Interesting re greys as I’ve been assuming we just don’t have many around us as not been bothered much by them at all. Maybe the one advantage, which makes up for constant bathing in summer!

I’ve been using tri tec from horse health, expensive but only need to apply like once a week. Horse def not as bothered by flies as his field mates, he’s out with just a fly fringe and they are in full masks with fly rugs on.
 

Smitty

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I used to find covering my bays and roans in vinegar would work very well for up to about 3 hours, so fine for a hack/lesson.

I applied it liberally with a damp sponge, obviously taking care around the face.
 

Bradsmum

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My poor grey gets bitten alive and has the blood smears to prove it so sorry the grey theory is not so. I cover him with fly rugs with good belly coverage but they get a little area on chest and on his legs. I have found that smearing Nettol midge cream - comes in a small tub - seems to deter them a little.
 

pixie27

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Ride-on fly rugs seem to be the only thing keeping ours sane at the moment. They make a huge difference, even if you do look like you're about to go jousting! Even for competing, if you could keep it on until just before you go in, it might help.
 

flying_high

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I used to find covering my bays and roans in vinegar would work very well for up to about 3 hours, so fine for a hack/lesson.

I applied it liberally with a damp sponge, obviously taking care around the face.
Neat vinegar? And which type? White wine / malt / cider? This sounds cheap if works.
 

Reacher

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Yesterday went for hack with hi viz quarter sheet, detachable fly sheet neck cover and a fly mask on. Better than no cover but might think about a ride on fly sheet. We got strange looks.
ETA the fly mask is a very sheer one (for vision) that wouldn’t last 5 mins on turnout
 
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Rollin

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I have tried everything and only use DEET but think the effectiveness is limited. As my vet says, rain and sweat wash it away. All our horses come in to their stables every day. It means sometimes mucking out at 9.00pm. It is too hot to use fly sheets here. I no longer use fly masks either as I found lots of dead flies in the tip of the ears. Down to a labour of love.
 

Smitty

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Neat vinegar? And which type? White wine / malt / cider? This sounds cheap if works.
Neat malt vinegar, cheapest you can get! Dunk sponge in water first to let it soak up moisture then squeeze out - don't want to be wasting vinegar - then drench sponge in vinegar and apy to horse.

I'm not sure how much cheaper it works out - I got through bottles of the stuff - and you do have a smelly horse but I found it more effective than most of the other stuff.

I think this is donkeys years old trick anyway. I must have got it from somewhere as the only fly repellent I remember as a kid was 'Extra Tail' !
 
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