Defying the Flying Pests (Plus, we’ve moved!)

We’ve moved! So long to east county and helloooooo west coast! It’s all very exciting and terrifying at the same time. I hate the unsure part of a transition period, but I know it will be worth it in the long run. The horses are now about two miles from the beach which means cooler weather. But it also means more flying pests, particularly mosquitoes. I’ve invested in a few insect defense options and I’ll be keeping a close eye on the progress.

If you’re knee deep in your search for the best solution to a pest problem, I’m sure you’ve heard of feed-through fly control. If you haven’t, it’s a supplement that is supposed to deter flies from the inside out. I tried SimpliFly pelleted fly control and I am pleased with the price considering it has lasted well for my two horses. I wrote a bit about it in a previous post. I did notice a pretty immediate lack of flies on his poop within the first week. However, there were still flies on him. It has been a few weeks now and I can’t say for certain if the flies have since become less attracted to my horses themselves. I cannot find anything that indicates that this feed-through fly control is actually intended to repel flies from the bodies of the horses themselves, and I don’t believe that it is supposed to. I would highly recommend this product to someone who is planning to feed this product to all the horses on the property. I think in that case that the product could do some serious good. However, considering there are lots of other horses at our new ranch, I have a feeling that this product is not going to do my boys much good.

I tried spraying a few concoctions on my horses from a whole plethora of things in one bottle to just one or two things at a time. As far as a homemade remedy….nothing really seems to have done any good.

I tried apple cider vinegar with dish soap and peppermint, melaleuca, and lavender essential oils as well as some garlic salt because I didn’t have powdered or crushed garlic, and slathered it on my horses religiously.

I also tried plain apple cider vinegar, or manna pro equine fly spray concentrate with apple cider vinegar instead of water.

I tried a variety of ratios of Manna Pro equine fly spray with water all the way down to the straight concentrate.

NONE OF THESE WORKED.

Manna Pro equine fly spray makes a great coat conditioner but does very little else. Apple cider vinegar makes the coat crunchy. Moral of this story, don’t waste your time or money.

So that’s all very disappointing. On to the next…

I bought three fly sheets….

#1. Saxon Softmesh Combo Fly Sheet (with neck cover) in “Rust/Frappe.” Size 81

#2. Shires fly sheet (grey with blue trim, two buckles and velcro in front, crossing belly straps and single rear leg/under tail strap) in size 81

#3. Light weight summer fly sheet in size 66

If you are buying any fly sheet, I recommend that you purchase a shoulder guard. I will reiterate this several times to anyone that I talk to who is looking for a fly sheet. I had never heard of these before but I will never go without one again. I bought one for the Saxon fly sheet because many reviewers mentioned that it moves and rubs. I did not, however, purchase one for the “light weight summer fly sheet” for my other horse because I forgot. Two days later, he had big ugly bare spots on his shoulders. I immediately removed it and found a “Jammies” shoulder guard at a resale shop for $8 and it was worth every penny.

#1. The Saxon fly sheet runs a bit small and is not contoured for horses with high withers or other “shapely” features. The neck portion is a bit looser than a normal horse and would probably fit snugly on a horse with a slightly cresty neck on the smallest position. The straps are a velcro cinch-type of closure so they’re somewhat adjustable. One thing that I did NOT like about this fly sheet was the back/under-tail strap. It’s a piece of rope with two loops on either side. How cheesy is that? Not to mention that the rope was so long that I was able to cut it in half, sew on loops behind the belly guard and create crossing straps for between his legs. Also, like many others mention in other reviews of this blanket, it does shift to the left side where the buckles are due to the weight, and it will rub your horse’s shoulder after longer than a day without a shoulder guard. However, I have to give this fly sheet credit since my horse did manage to snag it within the first five minutes. Even though he did successfully rip a considerable hole in it, it held up pretty well and there were no other incidents for the few weeks that he wore it, even when a piece of his pipe corral came dislodged and was hanging partway into his stall and I’m sure he was close enough to it to do some damage.

#2. I bought the Shires fly sheet in place of the Saxon because it was on sale at my tack shop for $30 and I kicked myself for a week for walking away from it the first time. SO, when I went in to pay for my new saddle and it was no longer outside I was disappointed, but soon found it in the back corner and snatched it up. It fits him great and does move around a bit but tends to go back into place. There is a bit of satin behind the buckles but not enough to protect the full shoulder so I still recommend picking up a shoulder guard even with this fly sheet.

#3. The Light Weight Summer fly sheet from AJTackWholesale.com also seems a bit small and does rub without a shoulder guard, but other than that I like it. It’s effective for the money. Nothing fancy, no UV protection or anything like that. It definitely will not repel against mosquitoes out here (they’re vicious) and it has bigger holes in the mesh. I will be investing in a more effective sheet when I can afford it but I’m happy with this one for what I paid.

I decided to try out Bronco e Equine Fly Spray with citronella and luckily found it on sale at a local tack shop. I haven’t hardly seen a fly on my horses and no bites so far, but they’ve only been there three days and it’s been sprinkling so I’m not sure if that’s a fair trial period. I love the spray nozzle on this (32oz) bottle! It is so nice to spray, sprays straight, thick but not clumpy or drizzly and very fine despite dispensing a lot of fly spray at once, and it doesn’t leak all over your hand. It also made my horse’s coat shiny and smooth which is always a great plus, right?

I am also testing out the effect of Garlic on fly control. I have some powdered garlic that I am sprinkling on grain and feeding to my horses. Bubba eats it without a second thought, but Gem seems to pick at it unless there is a lot of grain and a little garlic. We will see!

So we’ll see how this all pans out…Now I’m off to write up a quick update for my big sweet boy.

 

 

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