Flies are not just a nuisance for humans. They can be quite dangerous if left to their devices in the barn or stable. You’ll find out sooner or later that using the best fly sprays for horses will help the animals stay healthy, happy, and even live longer.
Here are some of my top picks in equine protection products, as well as the reasons for choosing them. Be sure also to check out my guide on how to use fly sprays and conditioners for maximum effect.
6 Best Fly Sprays for Horses
- 6 Best Fly Sprays for Horses
- Most Common Fly Spray Ingredients
- What Type of Fly Spray Do You Need?
- How to Use Fly Sprays on Horses
If you’re looking for a fly repellent and sunscreen combo, the Farnam Tri-Tec 14 may be the right product for you. The formula is pyrethrin-based and quickly affects the nervous system of pesky flies.
Piperonyl butoxide is also on the list of the ingredients. It is also the reason why an otherwise low-concentration formula can be as effective. It is often used as an enhancing compound that heightens the effect of pyrethroids and pyrethrins.
The Tri-Tec 14 repellent can keep flies away and also prevent new ones from moving in. It should remain active for up to two weeks, and it will even provide some UV protection for your horse. I recommend either the 32oz sprayer or 50oz bottle with the easy pouring spout.
That said, Farnam offers the same formula in various delivery systems, as well as some refillable containers.
This insecticide and repellent combo can handle over 70 species of insects. It can provide complete protection for your adult horses and ponies during any season and any type of weather.
The formula becomes waterproof very fast and even provides some residual control. However, regardless of how much you use, you may have to reapply it three or four days later. The UltraShield EX formula is complex as it also acts as a coat conditioner and sunscreen.
The essential ingredients are lanolin, aloe, permethrin, and pyrethrins. The first two help with the conditioning aspect while the latter are responsible for repelling and killing flies, ticks, and other pests.
You can get this in 32oz ready-to-spray bottles or 128oz pour bottles. The formula will have the same concentration, so it’s just a matter of balancing your budget and picking the right amount for your situation.
The Pyranha Wipe N Spray triple-action formula is one of the most popular with horse owners. It is a pyrethrin-based formula that also contains a repellent and conditioning compounds such as lanolin. The lanolin acts as a coat conditioner and makes the product safer to use more often.
That’s important because the residual control is not as long-lasting as advertised. However, I do like that the Wipe N Spray contains citronella. It makes the spray more pleasant to humans and more unappealing for flies.
The Wipe N Spray comes in standard 32oz spray bottles and one-gallon canisters. Take a pair of gloves and rub this formula into your horse’s coat. In some cases, the rubbing may help it absorb lanolin faster and thus give it better protection.
You should know that the oily residue will become waterproof fast. That means that you can still wash your horse, ride it in the rain, and not worry about sweat. However, this product won’t offer much residual protection, so be sure to reapply it on schedule.
Scented with citronella and featuring a unique prallethrin and permethrin formula, the Bronco e Equine Fly Spray is one of the top fly killers for horses, ponies, and even dogs. It comes in ready-to-use spray bottles, as well as larger pour containers.
It is a water-based formula. It doesn’t contain a coat conditioner, so it may not be the best thing to use long-term. However, for short-term applications, it is one of the best.
Flies that don’t die will fly off the coat immediately. This Farnam formula is also a bit cheaper because it offers no UV protection or coat conditioning. Therefore, I recommend it for short-term treatments, as well as if you’re shopping on a tight budget.
It also seems to have a beneficial effect when sprayed on stable walls, although the residual control effect is not too impressive. I do like its potency, though. If you get the big one-gallon canister, you could treat up to 1,000sq.ft with one pint of wet spray.
If you ride your horse frequently, then you may need a special kind of fly spray. You will need something with excellent waterproofing to prevent the formula from washing off from sweat. Farnam addresses this issue with the RepeLock conditioner.
This formula binds to the hair shaft much better than most alternatives. It also deals with insects during all life stages and not only kills them but also repels new ones. It should provide up to 14 days of protection when appropriately applied.
The pump spray delivery system is the most effective one, in my opinion. It creates a dense mist in a concentrated, narrow pattern.
But it’s the waterproofing that makes this formula unique. However, rubbing it in might take some time. This one is considerably oily, and to make the conditioner stick, you have to take your time and be very thorough.
The Neem Aloe Hose Spray by Equiderma is one of the best fly sprays for horses if you want to use only natural and organic products. The Neem & Aloe Herbal Repellent has a formula free of permethrin, pyrethrins, and any other substances that may damage your horse’s skin and coat.
The natural essential oils leave behind a pleasant smell and a silky coat. This spray also lasts quite a while and becomes waterproof in a matter of hours. That ensures long-term protection from flies for both horse and the rider.
Cedarwood, lemongrass, citronella, and lavender extracts will repel insects, while aloe does most of the coat conditioning and provides a soothing effect on the skin. Still, I do recommend that you don’t skip the spot application. Some horses may be allergic even to some of these natural ingredients.
I also recommend you apply the formula in light mists instead of dousing the coat, as it is potent enough. That way, the spray may last you longer than some alternative products.
Most Common Fly Spray Ingredients
Let’s start things off with pyrethrins. These organic compounds are known insecticides that target the nervous system of most insects. Another common active ingredient synthetic pyrethrin called pyrethroid. It’s a must-have if you want better residual control. The downside is that it’s more toxic.
Concentrated oils are also often used, but not in combination with the previously mentioned active ingredients. You can find oils in organic formulas, and they may not always act as insecticides, being more on the repellent and conditioner side of the spectrum.
Puperonyl butoxide is also a popular ingredient. It can’t do much on its own, but when present in a fly spray, it will boost the effect of pyrethrins and pyrethroids, regardless of their concentration.
What Type of Fly Spray Do You Need?
Although you can categorize fly sprays for horses as insecticides, repellents, wound treatments, or conditioners, you’ll often need a combo solution.
As you’ve already seen, most manufacturers create 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 formulas. Therefore, it shouldn’t be tough to find a potent insecticide that soothes the skin, protects the coat, and repels incoming flies.
UV protection is not mandatory, but a good conditioner should be. Not just to keep your horse’s coat healthy, but also to protect it against some of the more aggressive fly spray formulas.
How to Use Fly Sprays on Horses
Sprays are not your only options. You can use roll-on repellents, conditioners, and concentrates.
Regardless of the delivery method, you need to remember that you always have to wipe the formula thoroughly. Apply it in multiple directions, and even massage it into the coat. The deeper you get it, the more it will last.
Horse Maintenance Is Easier Than Ever
Given the rate at which fly spray formulas are improving each year, there’s no excuse not to take better care of your horses. It shouldn’t take more than a few minutes every other day, or every week or so. Of course, that depends on the quality of the residual control. And, as you can see, there are plenty of good options out there.