The summer is upon us! For most horsey folk that means hoping for long, hot days, stretched at both ends by an early morning sunrise and late evening sunset, allowing plenty of hours for enjoying the day with your equine friend. But it isn’t all fun n’ frolics, there’s a lingering danger waiting in the wings, with their wings, to spoil your day. FLIES.

The bane of most horse owners’ lives, flies are an absolute pain during the warmer months. So which type of flies should you be looking out for specifically? And what products are on the market to help you do battle?

Standard black flies

These 2-5mm sized flies usually feed around the face and especially in the ears of your horse. Their bites cause painful lumps and pinprick bleeding.

WHAT CAN WE DO? The best policy here is prevention in the form of straightforward mesh fly masks with ear covers and using a good quality fly spray.


These breed in standing water, most active at dusk and dawn. They commonly exacerbate sweet itch, leading to patches of rubbed mane and tail.

WHAT CAN WE DO? Use a mesh fly sheet outside, a fan in the stable and invest in a really good insect repellent such as Deosect, which also protects against ticks.

Horse flies

These aptly named flies are one of the worst. They typically feed on the underbelly of your horse, the female has a nasty bite, and can be a real bother to some horses causing much distress as they attempt to rid them with their hooves. The bite causes painful wheals and papules with a distinctive central ulcer. They are mostly active in damp, sultry conditions and especially in woodland.

WHAT CAN WE DO? Horse flies rarely come into darker areas, so summer time stabling should help, plus using insecticides from your local tack shop offer the best protection. It has also been said that a striped fly rug can confuse the fly, although this has yet to be proven indefinitely, if you’re like me and hate seeing your horse constantly irritated by these little pests, you’ll try anything once!

If you’re looking for an au naturel solution to flies, then feeding your horse a small amount of garlic daily will help fend off the pesky things. The more irritating flies such as the Horse Fly will generally gravitate towards darker coloured horses as well so those of you with a grey might have a bit easier this summer.


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