While we love the summer for its great riding weather, flies can ruin it.
Flies are pesky nuisances and can make both you and your horse miserable. They're attracted to horses, feed, and manure, making barns a central hub for these annoying insects. Even worse, flies can transmit diseases and some horses have painful reactions to fly bites.
That's why keeping your horse as fly-free as possible each summer is so important. Check out these tips and see which ones you can implement in your barn.
Promptly Remove Manure
Flies are attracted to horse manure, so promptly remove manure during the summer. Clean stalls at least once a day, and clean them more often if your horse is inside. Don't forget to also clean the manure out of the pastures, or use a harrow to break it up and dry it out.
It's also important to keep your manure pile far away from your barn so that flies don't come into the barn.
Keep Feed Concealed
Make sure that you store all of the horse feed in covered containers that flies can't access. Feeds containing molasses will be particularly attractive to flies.
When you feed your horse, use a wide bucket to help minimize the feed that he spills. It may also help to sweep up any spilled feed when you clean your horse's stall each day.
Keep Air Circulating Through Your Barn
Flies don't like moving air, so open up all of your barn doors and windows to take advantage of the natural breezes.
You may choose to install some barn fans - just make sure that you only use fans manufactured specifically to be used in a barn.
Use Environmental Fly Control Methods
There are a number of environmental fly control methods that you can put to work in your barn. You may want to install a fly spray misting system, which periodically releases fly spray in the barn to minimize the flies present.
Some owners also like to use Fly Predators. You can order these insects through the mail, then release them near your barn. Fly Predators prey on flies, reducing their numbers. Guinea hens also eat insects and may be useful around the barn.
Don't forget that you can also hang fly traps, such as the sticky tape traps or the concealed bait traps.
Turn Your Horse out at Night
Consider turning your horse out at night during the summer. Flies are less active at night, and your horse can enjoy his turnout without being bitten alive.
As an added bonus, the air is often cooler at night and your horse doesn't run the risk of contracting a sunburn.
Use Fly Preventative Products
Finally, equip your horse with a quality fly spray, a fly sheet, and even a fly mask to give him added protection against flies. You can also buy feed-through supplements which help make your horse's scent less appealing to flies.
There are many ways that you can help to keep your horse fly-free. Which of these methods are you likely to try this year? What have you found to be effective in the past?