herd of horses stand in green field with horse flies

5 Must-Haves to Protect Your Horse From Horse Flies


Horse flies are one of the few insects that are universally hated, like mosquitoes and ticks. Both equestrians and their horses detest the time of year when flies start to emerge from their hiding places, when the horse fly spray starts to come out, and when the horses spend their days in the pasture constantly flicking their tails. 

But, as a horse owner, there are several things you can do to make your horse more comfortable. Whether you’re on a trail ride or your horse is relaxing in the pasture, having these five items on hand is essential for an enjoyable summer at the barn. 

Repel Horse Flies with Long-Lasting Ointment

As much as every equestrian has fantasized about keeping their horse in a protected bubble, it’s impossible to cover every inch of your horse. No matter how many pieces your fly sheet has, even the best fly sheet with a belly wrap, neck cover, and tail flap is not impervious to flies. That’s where a high-quality horse fly repellent ointment can really save your horse’s skin– literally. 

swat horse fly spray ointment

Essentially, this product is horse fly spray but in ointment form. All you have to do is wipe a small amount onto the area you want to protect and you’re all set! Horse flies that aren't deterred by the gooey texture, will be killed on contact by the botanically-derived pyrethrin formula.  Swat Clear Fly Repellent Ointment is the perfect choice for horses who won’t wear fly masks with ears. Simply apply a small amount of Swat onto the backs of the ears for added protection. 

Does your horse have a cut or abrasion that horse flies won’t stop bothering? Unlike horse fly spray, Swat is safe to apply over wounds, open sores, scratches, and abrasions. It will even pull double-duty and protect these injuries from dirt as well as disease-carrying horse flies. 


Plus, Swat is great for bot flies! Bot flies are small black flies that lay sticky eggs onto your horse's legs, commonly near the knees. Instead of scraping off the eggs with a both knife, you can apply a little bit of Swat around your horse's knees to deter these flies from laying eggs. 

Spray Away the Horse Flies

Go old school with a tried-and-tested method of fly protection– horse fly spray! Unfortunately, there are a few downsides to using horse fly spray at the barn. Some horse fly sprays don’t smell great and are full of toxic chemicals that are bad for your horse, for you, and for beneficial insects like bees. Luckily, there are some great natural options on the market. 

horse fly spray

The  Equiderma Outdoor Horse Fly Spray was designed and tested in the swampy Florida Everglades for maximum protection. It’s made with all-natural ingredients, like certified organic neem leaf, certified organic aloe vera gel, certified organic neem oil, red cedarwood oil, eucalyptus, white thyme, lemongrass, citronella, lemon peel, tea tree, bergamot, and lavender. Unlike other horse fly sprays that contain less than 5 percent of the active ingredient, Equiderma Neem Oil & Aloe Vera Horse Fly Spray is 100 percent active ingredients, so you’re really getting the best bang for your buck. 

Thanks to this natural horse fly spray, you can protect your horse from flies and you won’t have to worry about using toxic chemicals in the barn or near yourself.

Full-Coverage Fly Sheet

If horse fly sprays and ointments just aren’t enough to protect your horse from horse flies, the next step is to create a physical barrier between your horse and the insects. When shopping for a fly sheet, there are a few things you need to consider. How hot does it typically get during the day? Is your horse tough on their blankets? 

Based on the answer to those two questions, you’ll be able to tell if you should choose a heavy-duty or more lightweight option. If your horse gets very hot during the day, you should choose a lightweight and extremely breathable sheet. On the other hand, if your horse is a notorious blanket destroyer, you may want to choose a mesh option that is thicker and more durable.

horse flies horse fly sheet

Combine the best of both worlds with the  TuffRider Power Mesh Detachable Neck Fly Sheet. This sheet is crafted with 250g polyester material to help make it durable and lightweight. The detachable neck cover allows you to add additional coverage when necessary or to remove it on hotter days. This fly sheet is truly full coverage– the attached mesh belly protector helps deliver added protection from bugs and horse flies.

Protect Your Horse’s Legs from Horse Flies

If your horse spends their whole day stomping at horse flies, they’re more likely to develop stone bruises, hoof cracks, and tender, sore feet. One of the best ways to prevent this from happening to your horse is to use fly boots. Similar to a fly sheet, fly boots cover your horse’s legs from the knee to the fetlock and create a physical barrier between your horse’s delicate skin and biting horse flies. 

fly boots to protect your horse from horse flies

Jacks Shoofly Leggins have a unique design that protects your horse from horse flies, cuts down on rubs, and has optimal breathability. They’re made from flexible, plastic mesh to allow air circulation. They’re easy to attach, comfortable to wear, and will not sag due to their unique sewn-in plastic stays.


The Shoofly Leggins also create a physical barrier between your horse's legs and bot flies! One of the most effective ways to prevent a bot fly infestation in your horse is to prevent these insects from laying eggs in the first place. With fly boots, you'll find yourself using your bot fly knife less and less. 

Fly Masks for Riding and Turnout

horse fly mask for horse flies

A horse fly mask has become standard practice for most equestrians. But there are so many different types on the market, it can be difficult to tell which one you should buy. Start off with one that has the best coverage for your horse, the  Crusader Horse Fly Mask with Long Nose and Ears. If your horse doesn’t like the full coverage, you can always try fly masks without the nose and possibly without the ear coverage. 

Do you have a horse that is so bothered by horse flies they will not stop shaking their head? This can become a real problem when you’re trying to ride and your horse just cannot focus. If you use your standard fly mask under saddle, you run the risk of obscuring your horse’s vision. That’s where the  Cashel Quiet Ride Horse Fly Mask comes in. Made of a different, lighter mesh than the standard pasture fly mask, your horse will be able to see with ease. Plus, the slightly different design will not hinder your bit or rein cues. 

All the Fly Protection You Need in One Convenient Place

We’re only halfway through the fly season! Stock up on all of the horse fly spray and horse fly protection gear that you’ll need to make it through the rest of the summer. 

Shop our  Fly Protection Tab on Breeches.com to purchase all your horse fly repellent needs. 

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