Fly Prevention Tips from Baker Blanket
It seems that, throughout the country, we went from a cold, frozen winter to a hot, muggy summer without much of a Spring, at all. To many, heat was welcome after such frigid and icy winter months, but to us riders, barn owners, stable manangers, and trainers, jumping right into summer is no fun!
Spring is great, you see. We get trail rides with breezes, frisky horses coming back into work, the ability to start riding later and later… and a few, precious weeks of hardly any flies.
Summer’s great, too – riding at 6 AM or 8 PM to beat the heat, sweltering in the sand arena teaching lessons, wondering if you’d be better off in a real desert… okay, maybe it’s not that bad. One thing is for certain, though – when summer comes around, the fly spray comes out, the fly traps come out, and the fly sheets come out. Our arsenal against the mighty Insect Army is our only hope at preserving what good riding time we can get from May through October.
Fly Spray is the both the best enemy and worst friend that we have in our barns. Here at Baker Blanket, we’ve done our research, and want to share our best tips for picking out a fly spray that will make a difference in your horses’ comfort – and yours!
- Look for a long lasting, waterproof or sweatproof fly spray. They may be more expensive initially, but they tend to last way longer than traditional fly sprays. We tend reapply after heavy rains, sweaty workouts, and baths, but for days when our horses are resting, it’s nice to not have to worry about spraying your horses multiple times a day.
- Figure out what type of bug prevention is most important to you, and select your fly spray based on that. For example, some fly sprays are affective against ticks, and some are better against mosquitos. Read the label to find out.
- Know your horse – many can be sensitive to harsh chemicals, and would prefer an all-natural fly spray. These tend to work, but for shorter periods of time, so make sure you reapply according to the directions on the label
Fly traps are great to have around the barn, but be sure to empty them regularly to keep your barn sanitary. Many barns use feed-through fly control to varying degrees of success – we’ve found the brand we use to be effective against ticks moreso than flies, but others work well against flies. Generally, this is an option that works best if the entire barn is on a feed-through supplement, as it cuts down on fly population overall. Some of us here are big believers in fly predators. As long as you’re not next to a dairy farm or big livestock operation who’s not also on fly predators – those suckers really work! And always, be sure to do good manure management practices, as flies lay their eggs in damp manure and rotting vegetation.
However, no matter how well you control your fly population and keep your horse sprayed, there are going to be resilient flies who have a hard time saying “no” when they see your big, beautiful horse. That’s where we step in to help.
The Baker Fly Sheet is unlike any other on the market – it is sturdy – it will hold up to your horses’s best game of ‘blanket tag’ and stay on through rolls, gallops and bucks in the field. It is designed for your horses’ comfort – soft enough to be gentle on the coat, but with enough strength, body, and darting to hold position and reduce unpleasant tail-area developments. It won’t shift around, and we’ve found it stays significantly cleaner than the other white, paper-thin fly sheets on the market.
The best part, though, is that it comes in two colors – Baker Original Plaid and Tartan Plaid. Nearly every other fly sheet on the market comes in a very light white or pale blue – which can actually ATTRACT flies to your horse! Flies look for differences in color – light on dark – to find livestock. By placing your dark bay horse in a white fly sheet, you’ve just made the fly’s job easy! However, put a Tartan Plaid fly sheet on the same horse, and he blends in and is more likely to be passed over by a searching fly. If you’ve got a lighter horse, then deck them out in Original Baker Plaid and be the talk of the barn.
So, with fly season suddenly among us, it’s time to gear up! Pick out your fly spray, pick out your fly traps, decide if a feed-through is right for you, and grab yourself a snazzy new Baker fly sheet.