Applying Insect Repellents

Whether a horse is troublesome or trouble-free about fly spray, here are some basic do’s and don’ts to follow.
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Applying Insect Repellents
Topical insecticides can help provide more immediate protection against the disease. | Photo: The Horse Staff

For many horse owners, applying fly control products to a horse involves nothing more than spritzing on a little spray before turning out or tacking up. But other owners don’t have it so easy: The horse shies away from the spritzer bottle, won’t tolerate fly products on its face, or breaks out in a rash from the repellents. Regardless of whether your horse is troublesome or trouble-free when it comes to fly control, there are basic do’s and don’ts that every horse handler should follow in order to keep a cooperative horse cooperating, to gain the agreeableness of a difficult horse, and to maintain maximum safety for horse and handler.

Begin the fly control program when you start seeing flies in the spring, and continue until the flies are finished for the season. There are a myriad of product types that one can use–sprays, gels, pre-moistened wipes, liquids, ointments, roll-ons, powders, pour-on dips, foams, tags, and strips. It’s a matter of personal preference and what you find easiest for your horse.

Powders and dips are not very popular. Powders are messy, can drift into the eyes and nose, and can be shaken or rolled off. Dips are pretty inconvenient to use on a regular basis, at least for standard-sized horses and ponies. Unless you have an equine-sized pool or tub that you can run a horse or a number of horses through, you’ll have to mix the dip in buckets of water and pour it on the horse

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Written by:

Marcia King is an award-winning freelance writer based in Ohio who specializes in equine, canine, and feline veterinary topics. She’s schooled in hunt seat, dressage, and Western pleasure.

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