Keeping horses free of insects is constant battle for owners in summer months

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In the winter, horse owners worry about keeping their animals warm and dry and free of mud fever.

In summer, it’s the flies that are the problem. Several horse owners start repelling insects from the inside out.

Garlic is a favourite supplement that’s felt to control flies, although one small study found that excessive feeding of garlic could be harmful.

But generally speaking the small amount fed by most owners is generally considered safe and may help repel face and body flies.

Cider vinegar is a common ingredient in many home-made fly sprays and feeding it is popular too.

The vinegar is felt to make your horse less tasty to biting insects. Cider vinegar can be added to the horse’s feed, or in their water. Essential oils and herbs are often used in home -made fly repellent preparations. Some use lavender oil and others use eucalyptus and citronella oils. All are easy to find in pharmacies and health food shops. Another useful ingredient – used by families to repel mosquitoes and flying insects when holidaying in the Med – is Avon’s Skin so Soft body oil. This also works well when added to natural fly sprays for horses or can be wiped over the horse’s coat direct from the bottle.

One owner mixes four parts of vodka or another grain alcohol or water to one part of lavender oil which smells good and works for a short time.

Alternatively mix seven parts water with one part citronella for a non oily spray but decrease the volume of water during the worst of the fly season.

Browse the Internet for some useful recipes using natural ingredients – all are easy to mix up and can save quite a bit of money.