Hot summer days are all too often synonymous with copious amounts of bloodthirsty flying insects. Flies in particular are perhaps the most irritating to deal with due to their propensity for biting you right on the ankle where it hurts the most and causing your horse to shake his head in fits of rage.
A Google search for “how to keep flies away” or “fly control at the barn” brings up loads of information and tips. Creating some daily habits around the barn, though, can do a lot of good – reducing the risk of build-up and a higher population of flying pests.
Keep it clean
Sweep or blow your barn aisles frequently, and make sure to clean up any and all trash and food remnants after you eat. Dirty water or buckets can also attract insects. Automatic watering systems such as the Classic Equine by Ritchie are effective options for cutting down on stagnant or dirty water. At the very least, you should be in the habit of dumping and scrubbing water buckets frequently to prevent build-up.
Pick stalls frequently
Forget once a day. If you have the manpower, try to keep the stalls in your barn as clean as possible. Particularly in barns without a lot of moving air, it’s important to keep the air inside as fresh and clear as possible. Removing waste as often as possible gives flies less incentive to take up residence.
If you use products, use the right ones
Do your research on fly spray, as they aren’t all created equal. Switching up your fly spray ingredients can be effective, so keeping one or two different options on hand is a good way to keep the bugs guessing. One of our favorites to have around is SmartPak’s OutSmart Fly Spray.
If you use a fly sheet, mask, and/or boots on your horse, we’re partial to the Kensington line of fly protection. The material offers UV protection and durability, and the material softens over time, eliminating that “patio furniture” feel in your hand.
Fans are your best friend
Moving air is much more discouraging to flies than hot, still air. Your horses will appreciate more of a breeze, too, so keep the windows and doors open to encourage cross-breeze and employ the help of fans if you have access to them.
Grooming isn’t just for looks
Dirty horses attract more flies. A horse on vacation or in a lesson program is no less deserving of a thorough daily grooming than your hunter derby horse. Take the time out to make sure the horses in your care are free of dirt and mud and that their feet are picked out. Not only will they look and feel better, their cleanliness helps keep the barn cleaner, too!