Howdy Friends! Recently I was asked, “Do you use fly sheets and or boots on your horses? If not do you use anything special besides lots of fly spray? My horses are stomping themselves crazy even with spray.”
For Rosie I use nothing. Sometimes I use Wondercide as a fly spray, but not often. I will not willy nilly put chemicals on my horse or horses. The hair acts like a wick pulling those deadly chemicals into the horse’s blood and organs. Horribly compromising the immune system. I try to manage the situation differently.
Rosie’s track system is all dirt and rock in the trees, no grass to harbor insects. Her slow feed hay nets are scattered so she walks about. Her run in is big and airy, and has a fan, she goes in there when bugs get bad. I have used, and love fly sheets in the past with other horses. And I’m a big fan of proper fitting fly masks that cover the ears.
Also speaking about immune system I do use Dr Thomas’ “Total Immune Health” chinese herbal blend to keep her immune at top levels. And to the best of my ability, I do nothing to weaken it such as routine worming, no re-vacs, except tetanus every 10 years.
No grain all forage diet, free range exercise. I also pick up manure every day, and have chickens running with her to naturally keep bugs down – And that really helps!
Having said all that
The forests I ride in are loaded with ticks. And by golly a few years ago a cowboy told me he gives his horses the Ivermectine horse wormer once a month to keep the ticks off. And I have done that, last year and this, in the couple of peek months. While it goes against my thinking, ticks are awful too. And I believe I agree with the cowboy. This does seem to help more than sprays.
Hope this helps. ~ Gitty Up, Dutch.
It is not too difficult to keep the Fly population in balance and lessen the effect of flies on horses.
Manure management and the introduction and maintenance of natural Fly predator and parasite populations, along with effective use of traps is very low cost and effective.
Ivermectin will also take out bot flies. We get a lot of those.