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equestrianbreeches

Bug Repellant On The Trail

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Ok went on a trail ride on Memorial Day. Bathed poor horse in fly spray before we headed out. He was ok on the way out, but after riding through some water, the Deer Flies and those huge B52 bomber type bugs started driving him nuts. Poor thing was losing his mind, kicking at his belly and flailing his neck all around. He just wanted to run away from them. I even let him gait at a pretty good clip toward the barn because that seemed the best way to keep them at bay and I felt bad for him.

So the eternal question emerges, what do you all do for a horse that seems particularly sensitive to the bugs? Do you have a proven product you use, or do you just avoid trail riding in the summer all together? Any advice you guys can offer would be helpful. I want to hit the trails more this year and don't want to miss out on some summer riding fun......

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We bouught a couple of masks for horses that have worked for us. They are made of fine net, and very light weight, so you just ride with them over the bridle and bit. Here is what I am talking about; Cashel, quiet ride mask.

Steve-2-1.jpg

We got ours from country supply, and they were about $22

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We have trail rode quite a bit and see several with fly masks or fly sheets on the rump. We also tie bounce sheets to our saddle which seem to help.

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yep bounce sheets work good especially for the horse flys, rub the horse entirely over his body with them then tie them on his headstall, back saddle, just aywhere, works pretty good around here

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We have used the bounce sheets with pretty good success. The rump rugs Doublelhorses mentioned are WELL worth the investment. About 8 years ago we were riding at a park where I spent more time looking at my horse's rump than the trail and in the course of one ride killed almost 60 horseflies. My gelding is a saint and just swishes his tail super fast to let you know there is trouble back there. Bought the mesh rump rugs and now can ride mostly in peace when the bugs are terrible. They make them for necks too, but I didn't really think that was necessary since I can see them when they get close to landing in front.

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I'm fortunate in that we just don't get the nasty bugs that some of you get. I remember a trail ride in the Mark Twain forest in Missouri when I was test ridding a horse. I thought no wonder these horses all put on 200 lbs when I bring them home,. No blood sucking bugs.

But we do on occasions have to deal with deer flies in the mountains. It doesn't seem to matter how much fly spray you put on, Those flies will ignore it and still attack the horses. So the fly mask, ear covers and rump sheets may be the best solution and I may have to consider them. I usually got by using a short leafy branch I break off a tree as a fly swatter and keeping them brushed off my horses neck.

I've also worried about the swarms of mosquitos that cover my horses in camp when I pack into the back country. They also seem totally unaffected by the amount of fly spray. They don't seem to be too bad during the day while we ride, But the swarms just about carry off the horses when they are standing at the highline.

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Our big nemesis is ground bees.

They seem to find the packed soil next to or under meadow trails a great place to dig a huge nest. They don't care what spray you have, they are out in a swarm to defend their home.

Riding in second or third place on the trail is the most dangerous spot. Usually the first horse stomps on the nest & starts it going. So the second or third horse & rider get swarmed. Then following riders see/hear the attack and back up really fast.

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Thanks for the replies, unfortunately they targeted his belly. Got back from the ride (he was all juiced up), dismounted and found three large deer flies on his belly biting the cr*!p out of him. He had bloody spots where they were biting him. I did find this http://www.statelinetack.com/item/cashel-quiet-ride-belly-guard/E002186/?srccode=GPSLT&gclid=CMWP0ti5yLgCFREV7AodNzEAOg but it gets horrible reviews and most who have tried it says it doesn't stay on very well. I would imagine when stepping over fallen logs and such it might actually catch on something and create a problem. A friend of mine suggested slathering Swat on his belly before we head out, so think I will give that a try next time.

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OFF just go get some people spray.. I hate chemicals... living in the bug capital of the states UP of Mich I don't ride much in the bad bug season but have found nothing works long.. people spray works the longest for deer and horse flies. My horse hates the swarms, even with fly gear and when the deer flies aren't landing on her.

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