The bugs have been terrible this season. Any horse that it is outside during daylight hours is likely a magnet for the insect brigade. Even well protected horses seem to be more bothered this year than most by rashes, itches and flaking. Here are a couple of ideas that may save you some money and save your horse a lot of irritation:

Homemade insect repellent:
Mix half and half cider vinegar with Pine-Sol® (the Pin-Sol® makes it stick) and apply it from a sprayer bottle. Don’t put it on too thick and keep it off nursing mares. This will last for an hour or two, which is about as long as we’ve found any commercial equine product to be effective. Plus, a gallon of this brew also goes a lot further for a lot less money than products labeled horse fly sprays.

Are your horses literally tearing out their hair?
With the bugs and the weird weather we’ve had this year, a lot of horses are rubbing manes and tails raw. If you’re looking for an inexpensive treatment that is remarkably effective, try oatmeal shampoo. This is not sold as an equine product, but you can find it in any dog section of your feed store or at pet stores for about $12 a bottle. Massage it deep into the tail (or mane, depending on where your issue is). Leave it on for about twenty minutes and then rinse thoroughly. We’ve found treating twice a day clears up the itch by day three when nothing else was effective.

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