Fly spray can make your horse a whole lot more comfortable in the summer months. Unfortunately, some horses are afraid of spray bottles. They dance, jiggle, and move all around when they see the bottle or feel the wetness on their skin. With training and patience, you can encourage them to accept it and stand patiently.

How to Teach Your Horse to Accept Fly Spray

  1. First, you’ll want to work in an open area where your horse can move around. You also want to be able to get out of their way if they strike or rear. Avoid restraining your frightened horse, as this only intensifies their fear.
  2. Fill the spray bottle with water, as fly spray can get expensive and you’ll be spraying a lot.
  3. A good training method for fly spray is the Approach and Retreat Method. Clinton Anderson from Downunder Horsemanship talks about it in great detail. You approach the horse with the scary spray bottle, then once they relax you take it away. Signs of relaxation include licking lips, a deep breath, cocked hind leg, and lowered head.
  4. In this method, stand at the horse’s shoulder with their head slightly tipped toward you. Start by spraying the air around them. Once they accept that, move to the withers, back, hindquarters, neck, and legs.
  5. You’ll have to do each side of the horse. Start the steps over again with the new side.
  6. Remember, don’t stop spraying until the horse is relaxed and standing still. You should move with them if they back or dance around.

If you can, have a natural horsemanship trainer show you how to do the approach and retreat method. It can make it easier to see it done by a professional the first time around.