Who doesn't experience great pleasure at the mere thought of it – an undisturbed hack out with your four-legged friend to enjoy the sunshine and beautiful weather. But the insects descend on you almost as soon as you leave the stable. The horse gets nervous and the equally irritated rider begins to try and shake off the troublesome flies, horse flies and midges. But is it simply a matter of irritation, or is it possibly dangerous as well?
As a matter of fact, the danger potential is definitely not to be under-estimated. Because insects are so-called "vectors", in other words a form of transport for many viruses and bacteria. They can pass on a number of different diseases. If the horse or human being is bitten by a horsefly or a tick, pathogens can enter the blood stream through the insect's sputum, propagate and cause disease. But not only the pathogens but rather also the insect's bite or sputum can cause serious allergic reactions such as sweetitch. This imposes immense strain on the horse as well as the rider.
Repellents and Insecticides
Basically we have two possible ways based on active ingredients by which to protect ourselves and our horse against flies, horseflies and ticks. Experts talk about repellents and insecticides. It is only the repellents which are important to repel insects away from horse and rider. It is a question here of substances which are applied to the coat or skin. The active compound which keeps the insects away from the horse is released by the body temperature. In this way direct contact between the insects and the horse is avoided. And this protects the horse from pathogens being transfered by the insects.
In the case of repellents a diference is made between naturally and synthetically produced active ingredients. Although the current trend is towards natural, biological substances, the effectiveness and duration of synthetically produced substances is significantly higher. Most natural substances are products based on smells, e.g. by means of ethereal oils, which actually have a very high allergy-producing potential. Furthermore these smells waft away very quickly or are obscured by the smell of sweat.
The synthetically produced active ingredients, on the contrary, have been developed to suit the requirements of the user. They provide long-lasting protection even when a horse starts to sweat and are less likely to cause allergic reactions.
The second category, which is used in practice, consists of insecticides. These are chemicals which are well-known as contact, consumption and respiratory poison. The big difference compared to repellents is that the insects die as a consequence of contact.
In this context, it is possible that the pathogen is transmitted beforehand which can lead to the subsequent infection of the horse.
High season and low season for horse fly problems
The intensity of the infestation by insects depends on the seasons. The high season for horse flies often begins as early as May in Western Europe and continues until the end of August. This period, which usually coincides with the grain harvest period, can become quite a plague for our four-legged friends because they have to struggle with a lot of insects.
Also in the months before and after, however, the need to protect our horses against flies, ticks, midges and black-flies should not be under-estimated. Although flies only live for a number of weeks, the female lays up to 150 eggs several times over during this period. For this purpose left-overs of food, excrements and dung heaps, as well as purulent wounds, cracked skin or mucous membrane are popular hatching places. From June to October, particularly at lunchtime or in the afternoon, the fly population is at its highest. Flies particularly like to settle around our horses' eyes causing conjunctivitis or summer wounds as well as transmitting a variety of infections. Thus they can represent a serious health risk for our four-legged friends. Which is why repellents should be used in the high season as well as before and after as a precautionary measure.
Effective protection against insects
In order to support the responsibility which every horse owner has for his treasured possession, at Effol we have collaborated with experts of the Tropical Institute in Zürich, Switzerland, to develop a whole series of insect repellents. Outstanding features of these products are their effectiveness, period of effect and tolerance for horse and rider.
The Effol products are exclusively repellents which contain the active ingredient Icaridine. This is particularly effective against insects. Effol's products range contains different dosages of Icaridine which means that it is always possible to select an appropriate product for every season and the various requirements of the horse. Icaridine has been proved to have very good skin tolerance and therefore it is the perfect active ingredient for our four-legged friends.
All Effol insect repellent products should be applied over the entire surface in order to guarantee the best possible protection. It is also recommended to spray the product on again at regular intervals, particularly after rain and heavy sweating. Because in the context of insect repellents it is certainly true that: a lot helps a lot!
All Effol products have been examined by independent institutes, they have been dermatologically tested and found to be "very good", and they are guaranteed doping-free.
Because Friendship needs care!