horse with flies on eyes diy bug spray cowgirl magazine
Photo by Florian van Duyn.……

No matter what part of the country you live in, there is some sort of bug that’s “bugging” you and your horse. There are hundreds of products on the market that guarantee they will keep bugs away, but what exactly are companies putting into their bug sprays to achieve this promise?

Nowadays you can never be too careful about what you’re spraying onto your trusty steed. Allergic reactions, irritation, and sheer lack of effectiveness are just a few of the reasons to think twice before you buy. However, with flies and other biting insects carrying all sorts of diseases, it’s just not safe to skip the spray altogether. Luckily the perfect solution has been found: a DIY bug spray with all-natural ingredients that is not only simple to make, but is abundant with benefits.

Photo by Allie Tanzillo.


  • 16 oz. Spray Bottle
  • Fractionated Coconut Oil
  • Witch Hazel
  • Vegetable Glycerin
  • Distilled Water
  • Essential Oils* (we recommend lemongrass and eucalyptus) 
  • Funnel 

First of all, let’s talk coconut oil. It is absolutely essential that fractionated coconut oil is used for this spray. Regular coconut oil is generally a solid at room temperature and will not provide the same results. Why coconut oil, one might ask?

Not only does this ingredient provide a moisturizing factor to the spray, but it can also aid in detangling. This DIY bug spray also doubles as a show sheen and mane and tail detangler. The vegetable glycerin helps to keep the skin and coat moisturized as well, while the witch hazel keeps your horse’s pores from getting clogged and irritated. Finally, the main ingredient is simply distilled water because it’s entirely pure and will help to increase the shelf life of this at-home spray as well.

Photo by Kirsten Robinson.

Ingredients (per 16oz. spray bottle)

  • 3 tablespoons fractionated coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable glycerin 
  • 1 teaspoon witch hazel
  • 8-10 drops of essential oil*
  • Distilled water (1.5-2 cups)


  1. Mix coconut oil, vegetable glycerin, and witch hazel into spray bottle using funnel.
  2. Fill the remainder of the bottle with distilled water and add essential oils. 
  3. Shake well. 

This mixture is safe, natural, and very easy to make, not to mention is costs less than two dollars to make a whole bottle! Remember, this can be used as both a bug repellant and show sheen! Experiment with different scent blends and see what works for you and your horse. Additional essential oils that work to deter bugs are listed below. 

*bug repellant essential oils that are safe for horses: lemongrass, eucalyptus, geranium, orange, cedarwood, juniper, rosemary, lavender, thyme, garlic, tea tree, peppermint, neem, lemon, pine, clove