Prevent and Get Rid of Ticks on Horses

Updated July 17, 2023
tick on blade of grass

Ticked Off by Ticks?

We can appreciate blood-sucking monsters when they’re on the big screen or star in our favorite romance novels, but it’s a completely different story when they’re in our barn. Nothing is cute about finding a tick nestled deep in your horse’s mane when you’re busy braiding for a show. Not only do ticks give you the heebie-jeebies, but they are also hazardous to the health of your horse. Ticks can transmit various diseases, including Lyme disease, to horses, dogs, and humans. 

So, you may be wondering how you can prevent ticks from getting on your horse. Your barn’s insect control should consist of more than one line of defense. But, you don’t need to bug out! SmartPak offers a variety of products and tools to provide your animals with comprehensive solutions that work from the inside out, which is the smartest way to tick off the ticks.

Supplements to Help Deter Biting Insects

SmartPak supplements being added to a horse's feed tub.

Prevention is key with ticks. Feeding specific supplements that are formulated to help keep biting insects and pests away from your horse in the first place is a great strategy.

SmarBug-Off Ultra Pellets provide a formula with a multi-pronged approach to insect defense. Ingredients like garlic, apple cider vinegar, and brewer’s yeast work to deter biting insects, while MSM, omega-3s, and grape seed extract support a normal inflammatory response and healthy skin. Finally, this product contains diatomaceous earth to discourage insects from breeding in manure.

“I feed SmartBug-Off to all of my horses as of this year, and there was a noticeable difference in ticks from all previous years. That was worth the price right there.” – Janice L. from Hillsborough, NC.

Check out SmartBug-Off Ultra Pellets

Rotating Supplements Seasonally

One of the biggest insect and tick prevention challenges is seasonality. Most horse owners live in locations with four seasons and bugs are not an issue after a hard freeze. This is when most horse owners stop insect prevention as it’s not necessary. The issue arises the following spring when the insects come back and control methods haven’t yet started! 

SmartPak’s Equinox 365 program makes getting the right supplement at the right time super easy. Simply select SmartBug-Off Ultra or Smartitch-Ease for your horse’s SmartPaks during the summer and spring, and these supplements will automatically switch to SmartOmega 3 & E during the fall and winter. Not only does this save you time, but it also ensures your horse has what he needs when he needs it!

Tick Prevention in Pastures and During Rides

Nothing ruins a trail ride, hunter pace, or cross country schooling like bothersome insects. Ticks in the grasses and under the leaves can easily hitch a ride as your horse walks by. Luckily, there are several topical and insect deterrent options to prevent biting insects during your ride and while your horse is out to pasture.

Fly Spray

Most horse owners are familiar with smelly, oily fly spray, but fly spray technology has advanced over the past few years. OutSmart Fly Spray is a unique formulation that is effective against biting insects like house flies, stable flies, mosquitoes, and ticks. This plant-based spray has a pleasant smell and is safe for both horses and riders! 

“I try to keep my horse as natural as possible and this spray helps me do that! It has allowed me to feel comfortable trail riding again without worrying about the ticks. The flies don't like it either so all in all we are enjoying summer again. I spray myself too I had no reaction and no staining on my clothes!” - Lorijean from Catskill, NY.

Sweat-resistant fly sprays are also a fantastic option, especially in hot climates. Endure Sweat-Resistant Fly Spray is a go-to for the paddock, outdoor arena, or on the trail!

“This is the best fly spray I’ve found for keeping ticks off my horse. I apply it liberally to his lower legs, mane, and tail before a ride, and we return tick-free when other horses with us who haven’t used it come back with ticks.” – Selina C. from Point Reyes Station, CA.

Topical Prevention

Topical treatments are highly recommended for trail riding or if you leave the property regularly. If a tick happens to get on your horse, you will have peace of mind knowing it's less likely to bite. Equi-Spot Fly Control is applied once every two weeks and repels and kills flies, gnats, and ticks.

“My horse hasn’t had a tick in his mane or tail since I applied this product.” – Emily K. from Philadelphia, PA.

Fly Sheets, Boots, and Masks

Rambo bug buster fly sheet on a horse

Fly sheets, boots, and masks create a physical barrier against biting insects. The Rambo Bug Buster takes this one step further with No-Fly Zone™ Insect Repellent Technology which ward off flies, ticks, and fleas. This soft, durable fly sheet’s unique fabric prevents nicks, rips, and tears and is a simple way to keep pesky insects away from your horse during turnout. 

Fly boots have been gaining in popularity for years, but can be hard to keep on if your horse stomps a lot. The SmartPak Deluxe Relaxed Fit Fly Boots address this issue with soft, flexible elastic around the top and bottom of the boots. The soft, fine mesh is lightweight and allows complete movement for your horse. 

Last, but not least, fly masks help keep insects out of sensitive areas like eyes and ears. The SmartPak Deluxe Fly mask is a durable option with a fleece bumper in the crown to ensure the mask stays lifted instead of collapsing on your horse’s eyes.

The information provided in the Horsemanship Library is based solely on our SmartPak authors' opinions. SmartPak strongly encourages you to consult your veterinarian or equine professionals regarding specific questions about your horse's health, care, or training. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or behavior and is purely educational.