There seems to have been a sudden explosion in the number of flies out and about around the horses in the last few days. Is it because we finally had rain at the weekend, or just because all fly eggs have decided to hatch simultaneously?

In any case, horses everywhere are being bothered by the flies, from tail swishing, to running the chance of infected eyes, to the risk of serious injury from stamping or kicking at flies.

Our horse insurance experts have come together to look at how we can ease the discomfort of flies at this time of year?

Feed garlic.

Many people swear by feeding garlic granules or powder to their horses or ponies to ward off flies. The thought is that as the horse or pony sweats slightly having eaten the garlic, their skin will give off a garlicky aroma that will be unattractive to flies, keeping them away.

Invest in a decent fly mask.

Thanks to modern technology, long-gone are the string fly fringes of yesteryear. Many modern fly masks are made from fabric with uv technology – some even include a nose cover to prevent sunburn – and have faux-fur edging to prevent chafing. A sure-fire way to safely keep flies off your horse’s head, but are they safe to be left on in the dark overnight?

Fly Spray.

The options with fly spray are endless and include; home-made – various concoctions of citronella, lemon, dettol and vinegar; Specialist – top of the range (often expensive) technologically advanced sprays; premises spray – to keep the flies out of stables and barns in the first place. On top of what one to buy or make, there are then decisions to be made about where and when to use a spray (or lotion).

Change routine when the flies are bad.

Are there certain times of day – often dawn and dusk - when the flies are at their worst? Or sometimes they are simply relentless all day long. A few hours in the stable each day away from the flies can make a huge difference to a horse’s life at this time of year. Some yards even hang up old-fashioned sticky fly papers from the ceiling to help minimise the amount of flies and bugs in the stable.

Stagnant water or streams.

Flies and midges are frequently worse nearby stagnant water and streams. If possible, make sure your horse is kept as far away from either as possible. Even water butts or open drums of water left around the yard can increase the number of flies that might be bothering your horse.

About SEIB

We have been providing insurance for horses for over 50 years. This experience allows us to tailor policies to suit your circumstances and ensure that you and your horses are covered should the worst happen. If you’d like advice on your insurance please call us on 01708 850000.