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Choosing Fly Repellent For Your Horse

scottie wearing his fly mask, the piece of tack horse owners are always searching the field for! Great fly repellent

Over the summer, flies are the bane of many horse owners’ lives. You get the little ones what constantly surround our horses’ eyes, the midges which bug us in the evenings and the horrible horse flies who attack us all. If you are unlucky enough to have a horse who reacts badly to insect bites, it can be a horrible time of year and you might feel like nothing helps. 

Ingredients to look for: 

A bit like people, I think different things work for different horses. So it can be difficult to find a product which works for you and your horse. But there are 3 ingredients which seem to be the favourites and deemed the most successful. 


I am a major fan of Citronella. I love the smell; I love that it’s all natural and soothing, and it does seem to work for me. While it isn’t unusual for Scottie to occasionally come out in hives from insect bites, for him, Citronella seems to help keep the flies at bay.  

However, for many horses (and people) citronella just isn’t strong enough to keep the flies at bay. So while citronella may have other benefits such as; pain relief, anti fungal and calming effects, you might need something stronger for fly repellent.

Neem Oil 

Another, natural, non-toxic ingredient is Neem Oil. Much like citronella, there are many benefits to neem oil such as; soothing itchy skin and helping with allergies.

But as with Citronella, Neem Oil is not always strong enough to keep the biting insects at bay. It also doesn’t seem to be as popular, with less ready-made fly repellents using it. 


Deet is one of the best fly repellents in the world and was created by the US Army to help protect their soldiers. It is great at repelling all insects but being a chemical, can cause issues. Some people and horses can react to it if it is on their skin and many sources recommend not using it on babies or near the face, to prevent it being breathed in.

The Fly-Off Solution 

fly off tag leg strap

Fly-Off have created a product range to help you find the combination what works best for you and your horse. I first used them last year when they launched with the Citronella tabs, which seemed to work really well for us. One of the biggest issues with fly sprays is that once it evaporates, it stops working. But the tabs keep letting out the scent for days, keeping your horse protected for longer. 

However, this year they have launched with 3 new tabs, to help you find the perfect protection for your horse. These new tabs are Citronella (with Eucalyptus and Gereniol), Neem Oil (with Lavender and Peppermint) and Deet (Citronella & Eucalyptus.) Each tab has slightly different properties and works best on different types of insect. Meaning you can change things up depending on what your needs are. Also, the way the tabs contain the oils means that there is no risk of skin irritation or staining. 

I have just started using these new tabs on a leg strap for Scottie in the field. I have paired the Deet tab with the Citronella Extra to start with and so far it seems to be working well. I need to try them for a bit longer before I can give you a full review, but so far I am happy with them and I am enjoying trying the different combinations.

Last Updated on 31/07/2019

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