It’s the time of year that those pesky flies can start causing a real nuisance to our equine friends. You may have even experienced a bite yourself!  Here are a few species to look out for and some solutions to keeping them at bay, these are our top 3 beasties to shoo away!

Stable Fly

Stable flies closely resembles the Housefly, but this bug bites! To evade the biting flies, horses stamp and swish their tails constantly.

Horse Fly

Also known as clegs – Horse flies have razor-sharp teeth that can cause a very painful bite. It can take longer to recover from  because they cut into the skin rather than pierce it – which can also cause the wound to become infected

Bot Fly

The Bot fly lays large groups of highly sticky, yellow eggs on the horse’s coat. The horse ingests the eggs by licking or biting them off. The eggs hatch out of the horse’s face and can migrate to the stomach and/or intestines.

Keeping them at bay on a general day-to-day basis can be tricky! Here are a few of our tips for providing an environment that won’t attract the flies.

Sometimes though, providing the environment isn’t enough. There are many solutions, but it really does depend on which beastie your dealing with and also, what you’re doing with your horse.

Horse flies and Stable flies will attack your horse whether they are in the field or our on a hack – often then lurk in the shaded areas, especially near grass and hedges. A fly repellent can sometimes helps, but other times you may need to look at fly rug options. We stock the ride on fly masks for such purposes – at least we can help keep those critters our of the horse’s face.

The ride on fly masks from Cavallo can fit both bitted and bitless bridles and come in a range of sizes with and without ears. From only €19.95 these are a super fast solution for providing relief around the face.

When it comes to Bot flies, yes fly repellent is one option, but preventing them from being able to lay their eggs on the horse, with a protective barrier such as a fly rug, and checking the coat regularly is a safer bet.

Removing the eggs from hair is tough going, they are super sticky so you may need to use a sharp instrument like a hoof knife (only adults should do this). Make sure to remove every last one. The result if you don’t is pretty gruesome (speaking from experience!).

Bot eggs on the coat
Bot hatching from the nose

If you are looking to reduce your fly infestation, you could look at fly traps, whether they are those that you can hang in the stable/barn/shelter or a homemade one such as this one below – from the Healthy Home Economist