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The Most Common Equine Fly Spray Mistakes

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Are you making one of the most common Fly Spray mistakes?!

Putting fly spray on in the summer is akin to a habit like brushing our teeth in the morning. It becomes a daily routine!  But, did you know that there is a method to properly apply fly spray?

My old horse fly repellent regimen consisted of spraying my horse’s legs (one mist per leg), a mist on each side of his neck, a mist on each side of his mid-section and a mist on his rump. Done! But, often times, flies reappeared sooner than I liked.

When I began working at Manna Pro, I soon learned that I have been applying equine fly spray incorrectly to my horses for the past 20 years. How embarrassing! 

Here are a few tips I've learned for getting the most out of your fly spray.


It is super important that your horse isn’t caked in dust or shavings.  Even some of those lose hairs that haven’t shed out from winter can keep the spray from working effectively.  Curry and brush your horse to get him or her as clean as possible.   The spray needs a clean surface to stick.  


I use the Pro-Force ®Fly spray which is a great everyday spray. I like it because it doesn’t smell like typical fly spray (it actually smells floral) and repels a broad type of biting pests including stable flies, mosquitos and midges.  

Here are the Steps that I have found most useful:

  1. Set the nozzle to mist from the off position
  2. Spray more than you think!


  • The recommended amount of fly spray is 1-2 oz per horse per day-depending on the spray you are using. What does 1 to 2 oz. mean?
  • 2 oz. would be close to four tablespoons to give you an idea. Obviously, it would be very difficult to measure this while you are misting your horse. But, a good way to judge is that your horse should be damp from the spray.
  • Starting at the neck and moving along the horses body, spray the mist until the hair is damp. It should not be soaking wet, just damp to the touch.
  • Sometimes I use Opti-Force Fly Spray® when I plan to ride when it is really humid or go on a trail ride because it is sweat resistant. What you may notice about Opti-Force is it is much thicker than a typical fly spray. Don’t be alarmed. There is a reason for this; it actually will stick to the coat much better. You can literally see where you spray it. 
  • Spray the legs last, as some of the spray will obviously fall and settle to the ground.
  • Avoid the horses face and genital region
  1. Brush it in
  • That’s right. You need to brush the fly spray into the coat. Choose a medium bristled brush and brush over all of the areas you applied the spray.   You can also do this with a cloth if you do not want to use a brush or don’t have access to one. For Mark Rafacz, Manna Pro Pro-Rider, and champion reiner (pictured below), brushing in the fly spray is crucial.  Especially in Florida where Mark's training facility is located.  Brushing in the Pro-Force will maximize the effectiveness of the spray in those hot conditions. Untitled design (20).png
  1. Face: For face application, spray a dry clean cloth with the fly spray. Avoiding the eye area, wipe the spray on the face gently.  Don’t wipe the spray directly above the eyes because if he sweats, it may drip into the eye.
  2. Spray in prime times! Be sure to spray your horse before he goes outside in the morning and again in the evening as it is a prime feeding time for blood thirsty insects. If you are planning to ride, be sure to have the tack (saddle, boots/wraps, etc) on the horse before you spray. 


If you have to rinse your horse off or give him a bath, you will need to reapply the spray.  Wait until your horse is dry before reapplying the spray.  Fly Spray is meant to sit on top of the hair, not seep into the skin. If your horse is soaking wet, the spray could work its way into his skin and may irritate him.

Test it out!

Before trying any new spray on a horse, be sure to test it on one small area of the horse and wait 24 hours to see if there is a reaction.


So, there is a method to this Fly Spray madness.  Good luck out there!


Click here to save $4 on Force Fly Control!


Jennifer Serot

Jennifer Serot

Jennifer is the newest member of the Manna Pro Equine Team. She has been riding and showing dressage for 20 years and enjoys spending time with her Connemara pony. Jennifer graduated with her BSBA and MBA in Marketing from Washington University in St. Louis.


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