Fly BuddiesIt happens every year about this time.  One day I’m complaining about snow, and the next it’s flying insects that have my attention.  The transition from early to late spring here can be amazingly abrupt.  Since I’ve received more than one email in just a few days regarding fly spray, I can tell I’m not the only one who’s needing to adapt to changed conditions.

The emails I received asked me what I do for fly spray.  My interest in natural approaches to this sort of question is what caused the inquirers to ask.  They had all tried natural sprays and found them to be effective for short periods but not for a duration that gave any meaningful relief to their equines.

My experience has been the same.  One application of the product I use lasts about the time it takes to trim hooves, for instance, taking into account that I’m not terribly fast (click here to read a post about fly spray and my ponies.)  When I work professionally skidding logs and brush in our logging business, I take breaks to give my work partner and me a breather, and I re-apply the spray then.  The flies aren’t much of an issue when we’re moving; it’s when we’re standing idle that it’s helpful, which is about half the time when skidding:  hitching and unhitching the load or waiting for a log to be prepared for us.

I’ve gotten the sense that some people want to use fly spray to give their equines relief when they’re not working or being handled.  My strategy when my ponies aren’t working is to give them every chance to use their built-in fly protection.  Each of my paddocks, for instance, is large enough that the ponies can find a spot where they can catch a breeze.  And as much as possible I make sure my ponies are housed with buddies so they can help each other by standing nose to tail.  Of course the buddy system only works when manes, tails, and forelocks are left au naturel (click here to read a post on that topic).

Some people have found fly predators useful for controlling a fly problem for their horses.  My husband is even more acutely aware of the sustainability of our environment than I am, and he won’t let me bring non-native species here.  I admire his conviction, and I pursue other means to deal with flying annoyances.

For the time being, I’ll keep using the natural spray that I’ve been using combined with giving my ponies opportunities to use their built-in defenses.  (If you’re interested in learning more, see the footnote.) (1)  I don’t worry about unintended consequences with this approach, and I can and do use the spray on myself as well as the ponies.  This strategy is working for my ponies and me now in this location.  Our weather is becoming more extreme, though, and I wonder, if our climate does change, whether this strategy will continue to work.  Time will tell.

  1. The product I use is available by clicking here or you’ll find my email and you can contact me.

My Name is MadieWillowtrail Spring Maiden figured out an interesting way to avoid flying annoyances.  Read about it in the book My Name is Madie, available by clicking here.


About workponies

Breeder of Fell Ponies, teamster of work ponies, and author of Feather Notes, Fell Pony News, and A Humbling Experience: My First Few Years with Fell Ponies. Distributor of Dynamite Specialty Products for the health of our planet and the beings I share it with.
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