During the summer months flies are an annoyance to horses and their bites can be a major irritation. Fly rugs can provide relief and there are also a variety of fly repellents sold in equestrian stores but there are also fly repellent remedies that can be made at home.
Common recipes often involve a combination of essential oils, available from many chemists and health food outlets. Such oils include eucalyptus, tea tree, lavender and sandalwood, the first three being the most useful. These are most commonly mixed with water in a spray bottle and sprayed on as required.
Other fly repellent recipes involve garlic, probably the most powerful natural fly repellent there is, although spray-on garlic-based fly repellents tend to be rather unpleasant smelling especially when combined with the likes of lavender oil.
'Internal' fly repellent have the effect of either causing the horse's body to secrete oils that will repel flies (garlic), or raise the pH (acidity level) of the horse's blood enough to put flies off from biting. Such repellents take time to produce an effect so combining these with a fly repellent spray initially is recommended.
Below are some of the more popular home-made fly repellents.