Control of flies on horses


I’d appreciate hearing from anyone who has horses and who has found a good way to control/deter flies on them. it’s that time of year when the flies are swarming on them and biting.

My friend has two horses. The flies are swarming around the horses’ faces and bite and then congregate on the horse where it rubs and scratches itself to alleviate the biting.

My friend says this will go on for months now; she says it’s the start of the season that will last months.

She says she’s tried a lot of different things but hasn’t found a solution for her horses. The flies are attracted to moisture on the horses, so applying something wet like a salve would not help, she thinks.

I was wondering if it might be good to try something like a powder, for drying and for making a thin layer on the horse that would deter the flies from alighting, perhaps? She says she hasn’t tried this. I’ve not had luck finding anything on the internet that suggests clay (powdered bentonite or kaolin perhaps) would work.

I found an interesting website ( that suggested some valid-sounding options, including having the horses ingest garlic (5 - 10 cloves a day), and which also mentions that flies are attracted to horses with ‘sugar in their veins’.

Does anyone have experience who can suggest something to help?

Flies hate elderflower.
An old remedy was to put elder on their browbands.
Sheeting and headgear are efficient deterrents.


I’ve seen head nets in use at the riding clubs around here. They seem to work well enough.