10 Fly Control Products to Protect Your Horse from Flies

Where there are horses, there are bound to be flies. Aside from being a nuisance to your horse, these pesky flies can lead to physical discomfort or illness. Every year, your horse will likely come into contact with a variety of fly types, including midges, house, stable, bot, deer, horse, and horn flies. These pests can cause frustration and illness as they land on and sometimes bite your horse. They are infamous for depositing the bacteria they’re carrying, leading to irritation, open sores, and disease.

Midges (commonly called black flies) can cause serious annoyance and effects on your horse. These swarming gnats love to feed in areas with running water. Streams and small creeks are a natural attraction to them. They also love aquatic plants and vegetation, including the moist dew typically found in horse pastures. These pests typically attack the head, ears, eyes, and nose. Not only can associated blood loss cause health issues, their saliva commonly causes intense itching, irritation, and swelling. The non-stop annoyance of these pests can cause your horses to relentlessly exhaust themselves trying to escape from the attacks. Some species of black flies can also cause vesicular stomatitus, a disease that can infect horses, cattle and pigs.

House flies breed in manure piles, trash, spilled feed, bedding, animal droppings, and any other area that might have decaying matter. They love barns. Even though this type of fly is non-biting, they can be very annoying to your horse. Since they typically live around moist, dirty conditions, they can carry considerable amounts of bacteria, and have the potential to transmit numerous diseases and parasites. They are drawn to cuts and scrapes on your horse, which can lead to infection in otherwise minor injuries.

The stable fly is also attracted to barns and horses. They breed in wet straw and manure, spilled feeds, grass clippings, and various other types of decaying vegetation. The stable fly feeds on blood several times a day, and can be a major nuisance to horses. Horses being bothered by stable flies will often kick and stomp since these pests love attacking horses’ legs and underneath the belly. Stable flies are known to be capable of transmitting disease, such as equine infectious anemia.

Bot flies attach their eggs to your horse’s legs. During this stage, your horse may incur weight-loss from running around or stomping. However, the direct impact comes from the eggs being ingested by your horse which happens by licking or biting at the afflicted areas. The mouth can develop sores and irritation causing a lack of appetite. Once your horse has fully ingested the bot eggs, the eggs hatch into larvae and attach to your horse’s stomach lining. This can cause colic, stomach blockages, ulcers, and anemia.

The deer fly and horse fly are both part of the family Tabanidae. They produce painful bites and inflict immediate pain to your horse. They penetrate the skin in a scissor-like action and pump anticoagulants into the wound to feed from your horse. Not only are these bites extremely painful and a source for infection, the bloody, sponge-like mouthpart of female deer and horse flies harvest numerous viruses, bacteria, and protozoa. In large numbers, these flies can cause anemia.

The horn fly is a blood-sucking fly that is most commonly seen around horses pastured with cattle. These flies typically swarm the animal which is not only irritating, but can also cause a loss of blood due to incessant biting. This can lead to anemia and weight loss, in addition to the stress they cause to horses.

Since flies can be a dangerous nuisance around the barn, it is essential to provide fly prevention in the stable. The care you provide your horse during fly season will protect and relieve your horse from fly-related irritations and illness. Good fly control around your horse’s body and face using fly sheets and fly masks is vital to a healthy, comfortable horse.

Here are ten fly control products can help you in the effort to protect your horse from flies.

Ten Products to Control Flies around Your Horse

  1. Rider’s International Stretch Micro Mesh Fly Sheet. This soft, breathable mesh fabric conforms to your horse’s shape while also stretching with movement. Protects your horse from insects, sun and dust.
  2. Rambo® Fly Buster™ Fly Sheet. This lightweight long-wearing sheet is ultra breathable and features the No Fly Zone™ technology. The odorless, colorless No Fly Zone™ technology helps to repels flies, ants, ticks, chiggers, and midges and remains effective through 70 washings. Also protects against UV damage and sun bleaching.
  3. Farnam Swat Clear Ointment. Protect wounds, the ears and other areas around the face with this botanically derived ointment.
  4. Absorbine UltraShield EX. Moisture from your horse’s sweat attracts flies. This water-based formula repels biting insects for up to 17 days, while also providing a coat conditioner and sunscreen. Provides a weatherproof and sweat resistant formula.
  5. Cashel® Cool Crusader™ Fly MaskProvides excellent protection from pests and harmful UV rays. Durable and comfortable. Many design options available, including, with or without ears, as well as a standard nose length or long nose that protects the nostril area.
  6. Flies Be Gone TrapThis non-toxic fly trap effectively decreases the fly population in a 50- to 100-yard area for up to four weeks at a time.
  7. BuggzoDried apple cider vinegar that’s pH-buffered and aroma-controlled garlic are the mainstays behind this eco-friendly bug repellant. A truly palatable garlic-vinegar based feed-through fly protection.
  8. Fly Predators. Get a little help from nature with fly control problems. These tiny flies will not sting, bother or bite you or your horses, but they will destroy flies in the cocoon stage, thereby reducing the population.
  9. Fly Country Vet® Dispenser Kit†. A battery operated automatic fly and insect repellant dispenser. Repels and kills flies, mosquitoes, and gnats 24-hours a day for 30 days.
  10. Fly Wraps®. Protects your horse’s sensitive legs from pests. Soft shearling lining and imbedded stays. 24 hour protection. Comes in a set of 4.


Tips for Discouraging Fly Populations

  • Keep manure and trash away from areas frequented by horses
  • Control moisture that attracts flies
  • Maintain clean stalls, aisles, pastures, and confinement areas for your horses
  • Use large fans to keep flies away
  • Turn off barn or stall lights, which attract flies

Consistent Fly Control Treatment Produces Results

Particularly during peak fly season, it’s critical to apply fly control products to your horse on a daily basis. Likewise, maintaining a clean environment for your horse will reduce the attraction for flies and the laying of eggs, which exacerbates the situation. We have a large variety of products available to help you protect your horses’ comfort and health.

Jessica Adcock is a lifelong equestrian and a member of the e-commerce team at Dover Saddlery, a leading retailer of quality English horse tack, supplies and riding apparel for horse and rider.

7 Horse Grooming Supplies

Grooming is an important part of caring for a horse and maintaining horse health. A daily maintenance regiment can help prevent nagging skin and hoof conditions from occurring and escalating down the road—scratches, thrush, etc. After a tough winter for horses and riders alike, your grooming kit may be in need of resupply. Here are seven horse grooming supplies you shouldn’t be without this spring!

1. Curry Comb/ Shedding Blade: Your horse brushes can only do so much! A good curry will help lift dirt, dander, and shedding hair from your horse’s healthy coat. The course rubber fingers on the Oster Curry Comb and the Jr. Grooma Groomer are ideal for the job. For unclipped horses, a shedding blade with metal teeth does wonders for thinning out a thick winter coat and removing caked on mud. Don’t use this product on your horse’s face or legs.

2. Brushes: Every horse grooming kit should contain at least two types of horse brush—a stiff brush (to remove dirt, mud, and dried sweat) and a softer body brush (to clean dust and add shine). Personally, I’m a huge fan of flick brushes because the long, flexible bristles make brushing off dirt and dust easier and more efficient. The high quality and wide selection of Winner’s Circle brushes has made this brand particularly popular. To keep your brushes clean and looking like new, try soaking them in Brush Therapy.

3. Horse Clippers and Clipper Blades: A good set of horse clippers makes the task a whole lot easier. Check out the Oster Variable Speed Clipmaster—a model well suited for full body clipping. The 2-speed Oster Turbo A-5 is great for smaller jobs, such as clipping the ears, legs, and face. To prevent scratches, keep pasterns trimmed and dry. On the go, use the battery operated Wahl Pocket Pro to trim your horse’s whiskers.

4. Mane, Tail, and Coat Spray: Before running a comb through your horse’s tail, help protect it. Car & Day & Martin Canter Mane and Tail Detangler eases tangles, conditions, and adds healthy shine. Until the weather warms up enough to give your equine companion a full bath, Cowboy Magic Green Spot Remover provides the no-rinse solution to dissolving manure, dirt, and sweat stains.

5. Hoof Pick and Hoof Conditioner: Hoof care is a critical part of keeping your horse healthy. Pick feet on a daily basis, especially after turn-out and before and after your ride. Wet conditions foster the growth of thrush. By removing mud from the frog and sole areas, the risk of thrush development is significantly mitigated. Condition and restore brittle hooves on an as needed basis with Absorbine Hooflex Therapeutic Conditioner Liquid.

6. Liniment: As the spring/ summer horse show season begins to ramp up, our horses’ muscles and tendons are working harder than ever. Help relieve soreness and inflammation with horse liniments like Sore No-More and Vetrolin Liniment Gel.

7. Fly Spray: Be prepared for bug season. There are many great products on the market to keep your horse pest free. Choose fly spray based on the types of bugs in your area and on the sensitivity of your horses’ skin. Ultrashield Ex is a quality product that protects against mosquitoes, biting flies, fleas, ticks, and gnats. Swat Clear Ointment is the perfect solution for protecting cuts and other sensitive areas from house flies, stable flies, and face flies.

For more horse grooming supplies, check out our Horse Care section.

Your Turn: What’s In Your Horse Grooming Kit?

We love hearing from riders! What’s your horse grooming routine? What horse grooming supplies are must-haves for you and your horse? What are your favorite horse care products?

Muck Boots Are a Must-Have for Spring Stable Chores

The advent of spring in the equestrian community has been affirmed! Horses and riders are returning from their winter hideouts in Ocala, Wellington, Aiken and Thermal. Outdoor riding rings across the country are becoming serviceable, and the spring horse shows in Culpepper, Saratoga, and Parker are on the horizon.

With the arrival of spring, barns, paddocks, and horse show grounds will inevitably become ankle deep with mud. Whether you’re a trainer, rider, groom, or spectator, a reliable pair of waterproof muck boots will keep your feet dry and comfortable in any wet or muddy venue.

There are a ton of options to choose from when shopping for a muck boot. After testing some of the boots myself and surveying my fellow horse savvy co-workers, I am able to offer a few thoughts that will help you choose the muck boot that’s right for your feet!


Mudruckers Muck BootsMudruckers makes quality products while keeping your budget in mind. The unisex Mudruckers Tall Boot is 100% waterproof with a reinforced rubber toe, a stretchy neoprene calf, and Comfort-Flo lining that wicks moisture to keep feet dry and warm. In comparison to its Muck Boot Company equivalent, this boot is equally comfortable and lighter weight with a deeper tread.

Conclusion: The Mudruckers Tall Boot is an excellent value.

Muck Boot Company

The Original Muck Boot Company is renowned for its durable, high quality performance footwear. The distinctive design and tailored cut of the new Reign Tall makes this boot both functional and flattering. Like the Tack Classic, The Reign is highly durable and 100% waterproof. However, this particular model is unique (and awesome!) because it has been designed specifically for a woman’s foot. For those who prefer a muck boot without the clunky feel, the Reign Tall is definitely the way to go. The XPressCool interior lining truly makes this boot more breathable than other models (I took them for a test drive). As an added bonus, these boots are suitable to ride in; the toe, heel (complete with spur rest), and tread have been designed to fit safely and appropriately into a stirrup.The four-way stretch neoprene calf will comfortably accommodate jeans, riding tights, or breeches.

Conclusion: For women, the Reign Tall is the lowest profile and most comfortable boot made by Muck Boot Company.

Noble Outfitters

Noble Outfitters Muck BootsThe Noble Outfitters Muds Tall Boot is a new muck boot also designed specifically for women. This boot offers a superior comfortable footbed (with arch support), as well as the best tread for slippery conditions. The upper is made from industrial grade rubber and features a reinforced toe and heel, making these boots both durable and protective. The neoprene calf is lined with ultra breathable and moisture wicking mesh to help you stay cool.

Conclusion: The Muds Tall Boot is a comfortable, well made muck boot for women at a reasonable price.

We’d love to hear from you! What’s your favorite pair of muck boots?

Spotlight on Ariat Riding Apparel

For nearly 25 years, Ariat boots, riding apparel and accessories have been favorites of English riders. Ariat riding breeches are some of the most popular products with Dover customers, yet there’s so much to the Ariat brand. Here are a few of our favorite Ariat items.

Ariat Terrain H20 Boots

These boots are suitable for all types of terrain and all types of weather. You can go straight from working in the barn to riding in any weather without changing footwear, which makes these Ariat boots perfect for this time of year.

The Terrain H20 boots feature full-grain leather uppers and a removable moisture-wicking footbed designed to keep you comfortable in all conditions. The supportive midsole and durable tread offer plenty of traction while in no way compromising style. If you are looking for a high-performance boot that will keep you feeling great through a long day of working and riding, the Terrain H20 from Ariat is the boot.

Ariat Olympia Euro Seat Knee Patch Breech

These classic Ariat riding breeches feature advanced technology. They are made of a unique nylon fabric with a soft cotton lining, meaning that they are breathable but still durable and stain resistant. The four-way stretch fabric ensures that these breeches will give riders of every shape and size the flattering fit they are looking for.

Ariat Tek Grip Riding Gloves

Even with the enormous range of high-end gear available to today’s horse rider, sometimes the simplest things are still the best. These Ariat riding gloves are a perfect example. Ariat’s Tek Grip gloves feature a palm and fingers made of synthetic suede to give you excellent grip, while the back is made of a durable stretch material. A simple Velcro closure adds an extra bit of practicality. These gloves offer everything you need, with no unnecessary extras.

Your Turn: Tell Us Your Favorite Ariat Items

We love Ariat riding apparel, and Dover customers are big fans of Ariat, too. What’s your favorite piece of Ariat gear?

3 Tips for Organizing a Barn

Spring has arrived (at last!) in many regions of the country. If you’re like most riders, you’re enjoying the fresh air and sunshine and the warmth of the sun as you ride. Spring is also a time for organizing your barn. Tack and riding equipment have a funny way or piling up and getting disheveled during long, cold winter months, and the thaw of Spring is a perfect reason to tidy up the barn.

Here are a few tips to help you organize your barn for Spring:

1. Remove out-of-season items from the barn

Winter riding apparel and heavy fleece coolers should be cleaned and packed away. A large tack trunk is perfect for stowing away winter gear during spring and summer months. You can use the same trunk to store summer riding gear and equipment when cool weather returns in the fall. Look for a sturdy trunk or rodent-proof bin.

2. Clean and store horse blankets

That heavy-weight turnout blanket you used all winter? Stow it away! Bulky winter horse clothing takes up space; clean horse blankets and store them in an air-tight container. Products like Nikwax Rug Wash™ are ideal for use on waterproof horse clothing. You can also search for a professional horse cleaner in your area.

3. Add cedar blocks to tack trunks to deter pests

Nothing is more frustrating than taking seasonal horse gear out of storage and discovering it’s full of holes. Rodents, moths, and other pests can wreak havoc on your horse tack and riding apparel – gear you’ve spent hundreds or thousands of dollars on. Protect your gear by placing a cedar block inside your tack trunk and securing the lid tightly before stashing it away for the summer.

Organizing a barn for spring can be a tedious, time-consuming chore, but it’s worth it. You’ll extend the life of your tack and spend less time rummaging through clutter when it’s time to ride.