How to Protect Your Horse from Pests and the Sun

The need to protect your horse

Protecting horses from pests and too much sun exposureis important. We’ve all experienced flies or gnats bugging us in the summer and know how annoying it can be. We also understand how important it is to protect our own skin from damaging sun rays. Just like we need to keep the pests from buzzing around us and protect our skin from UVA and UVB rays, so too do horses.


Ways to protect your horse

Fly masks are a great item to keep pests from annoying your horse. These are generally made of fine mesh materials using soft fabric that’s breathable for your horse. Some masks have nose protection on them for extra protection from gnats and the sun. Fly sprays and repellants are important as well. Spray products all over your horse so they are more fully protected. In addition, you can drape a light cotton sheet over your horse to protect them from the sun while still keeping your equine friend cool.


Tips to protect your horse:


  • Fly masks

  • Fly sprays

  • Repellants

  • Fly rugs

  • Vaccinate your horse against mosquito-borne viruses

  • Light cotton sheets

  • Let your horse out in the evening rather than the mid-day

  • Regularly rinse your stock tank

  • Use sawdust or wood shavings for bedding

  • Keep stalls clean and dry

  • Compost correctly to kill flies, maggots, eggs, and pupae from old bedding

  • Turn on fans

  • Use mosquito screens

  • Apply protection daily (unless otherwise indicated)


Protect your horse from the sun’s rays


Why is protecting your horse from the sun so important?

Too much exposure to the sun can cause:

  • Squamous cell carcinomas– Exposure to the sun can cause tumors that form typically on pink skin around the eyes or on the eyelids.

  • Photosensitization – Sunlight can trigger chemical reactions in the blood below your horse’s skin, resulting in a burning sensation and painful scabbing on pink skin.

To guard against this, use products that provide UVA and UVB protection for your horse.


A UV-blocking fly mask will protect your horse's face from insects and sunlight. Some masks come with a nose-covering flap to protect pink noses. Coat the muzzle area with a zinc oxide cream similar to that of lifeguards. It’s messy, but it does the job!


Ear gel

For additional protection, you can apply ear gel before you place a mask on your horse.


Protecting horses from pests

Mites, lice, flies, ticks, and mosquitoes irritate horses and also carry diseases.


The type of bugs you and your horse will have to contend with varies by geography and season.


Protecting horses from pests in summer:


Biting midges (Culicoides) cause horses to become irritated, itchy, and catch the virus that causes vesicular stomatitis.


Mosquitoes tend to breed in stagnant water.

Tip: Make sure to regularly dump and rinse your stock tank. Note whether water is collecting anywhere in the barn or outside; for instance, on tarps.


Horseflies (Tabanids) and deerflies are everywhere. Replace straw bedding with sawdust or wood shavings to dissuade flies from breeding there. Make sure to keep stalls clean and dry.


Tip: Hot composting of bedding kills flies, maggots, eggs, and pupae.


Recommended products for protecting horses from pests and the sun:

Products we highly recommend (because we use them!) include:

  • Guardsman Fly Mask With Ears

  • Farnam Roll On Fly Repellent

  • UltraShield Ex Easy Swipes

  • Bug Block


Guardsman Fly Mask With Ears

Noble Outfitters Guardsman Fly Mask protects your horse’s eyes and ears from gnats and is designed for comfort and durability.

  • Flex Spline Technology creates a canopy away from horse's eyes.

  • Contoured fit prevents insects from penetrating the mask.

  • Perfect comfort fit with fleece lining on crown and nose.

  • Removable nose attachment provides UPF 25+ protection.

  • Easy hang bridle loop for storage or wear with halter/bridle.

  • Strong double-sided hook and loop for secure attachment.

  • Heavy-duty UV-coated mesh with rub guard rip stop protection.

  • Designed with ears for additional protection.

  • Black (019) or Gold (100).






Farnam Roll On Fly Repellent – 2 oz.

A convenient roll-on applicator for horses’ more sensitive areas.

  • Helps keep flies away from sensitive areas you do not want to spray (ears, eyes, nostrils, and wounds).

  • Repels and kills house, stable, face, and horn flies.

  • Pleasant scent.

  • 2-oz. roll-on applicator






UltraShield EX Easy Swipes 4 oz. Absorbine

On-the-go insecticide and repellent in a convenient easy-to use, hands-free bottle.

  • Kills and repels biting and nuisance flies, mosquitoes, gnats, and ticks for up to 17 days.

  • Sweat resistant and weatherproof.

  • Contains multiple sunscreens and coat conditioners.

  • Ideal for hard-to-reach areas (i.e. belly and face).






Bug Block Easy Swipe Insecticide and Repellent

Bug Block Easy Swipe is a professional-strength pest control that kills and repels flying and biting pests, including mosquitoes.

  • Hands-free applicator for ease of use around eyes, ears, and sensitive areas.

  • Use on horses, ponies, and dogs.

  • 4 oz.






Contact us

If you have any questions about protecting your horse from pests, don’t hesitate to give us a call at The Wire Horse. Or, visit our shop for more advice on protecting horses from pestsand the sun. Our staff are here and eager to help you!

  • Aug 05, 2020
  • Category: News
  • Comments: 0
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