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One thing I hate about the summer is the flies and insects as they are just so incredibly irritating. My horses also tend to suffer, two of them don't seem to be too affected by flies do to their light coloured coats but my one who is quite dark really seems to attract flies. In the summer I try and ensure that they are fly free as much as possible, they have fly masks covering their eyes and fly rugs. This makes them comfortable enough to keep roaming around the field instead of just standing still being eaten alive.
There are so many insect repellents on the market which gives such a choice it can sometimes be hard to choose which one is actually right for you. I normally dilute citronella and use that as a spray as it can be a lot cheaper than buying repellent sprays but you can't use a spray on the horses face so one product I opted for was Carr & Day & Martin's Insect Repellent Gel.
The repellent gel comes in a bright yellow squeezable tube with a white flip top lid. The front of the tube depicts Carr & Day & Martin's logo together with the royal crest and the product name. There is also a lovely illustration of a fly. All the blurb, picture and logos are in black. The yellow colour of the tube is really striking and certainly cannot be missed on a shelf. The gel is clear and has a very fragrant aroma which I really like (not everyone does!) as it is very similar to citronella oil.
The gel's key ingredients in making this such an effective product are:-
Margosa extract - it has numerous properties but it is antibacterial, a natural insecticide and is antifungal
Austrailian tea tree oil - is incredinbly antibacterial and is well known as a natural repellent
D-limonene - the oil is derived from citrus fruit and has great insecticidal properties
The repellent gel is easy to apply and can be applied either with your hand, cloth or sponge. I find that it's best to apply it with your hand if your applying it to your horses face as you have to be careful around the eyes and mouth. As I said above the gel is clear which is weather resistant and dries pretty much on contact and doesn't leave a residue on the fur. Make sure you don't over apply as it won't dry properly and dirt will end up sticking to it. It is best to apply a thin layer and reapply should there be any need although it is recommended that two applications a day is best. The strong citronella aroma doesn't stay for long and as soon as you apply it the scent goes away.
As I said above my horses all wear a face mask protecting their eyes and a mesh fly rug which makes them pretty comfortable. I apply the gel to their head, chest and under their belly to give them maximum protection. I only apply this once a day as they are stabled but if they lived out in the field I would definitely reapply it. On my lighter coloured horses I don't find it makes much difference as they don't get bugged as much but on the one with the dark coat I find that when I use this gel he seems a lot more comfortable and a lot less flies around is face (especially his muzzle).
The insect repellent gel can be purchased for around £5.99 for a 250ml tube (it is only available in one size) and can be found both online and in any good equestrian retailer.
Overall, I find this insect repellent gel incredibly useful and it helps with reducing the amount of flies and insects which are attracted to my horses. Similar items are available and at a similar price but after trying quite a few I find this product the most successful. Definitely a must for all horse owners to have in the insect plagued months.