Its (way past) Spring time at the ranch! Its been SO busy I haven't had a chance to do my usual "beware the flies" schpeel! I'll make this as short and sweet as I can with still giving you all the answers to your questions.
I've had a bunch of people ask me what we do for flies and ticks at the ranch. Well, we have a three-fold approach.
Garlic. Fly Spray. Pasture Control.
1. Bug-Off Garlic by SpringTime: This will make your barn smell like an Italian Restaurant come summer, but will be totally worth it. We've noticed a huge difference and have been using it for over 5 years. Just put a scoop in each feed (twice daily) and observe. It works better on some horses than others, so I recommend trying it for 2 weeks before you make a final decision. Ask me how you can try it!! Its probably an extra expense, but with how much you can save from the Fly Spray below, its worth the double attack.
Link: Springtime Bug-Off Garlic
2. Espree Fly Spray: Don't let the price tag scare you away. For 1 Gallon of concentrate you can make anywhere between 20-24 quarts of fly spray. Simply pick up a spray bottle and the instructions call for a 5:1 ratio. We do 4:1 here just because of how much they work, they sweat it off. I'm still working through the gallon we bought last year. Its totally organic which means for all of you with thin skinned horses (Hi Thoroughbred owners!!), its great and more sensitive for them than the leading chemical spray on the market. Even better for those of you with light colored horses prone to sunburn (Palominos, Sabino-White, Gray, or Paints with white in them), this serves as a sunscreen and aloe coating to give their skin protection against the hot Oklahoma sun too. MAKE SURE you buy the gallon concentrate, the other sizes are far less economical. Oh - And its makes them super shiny :)
Link: Espree Fly Spray
3. Pasture Control: Brushhog and Drag! - do whatever you need to do to keep the ground turned over, manure from piling up, and weeds/grass from over growing. Ticks and bugs alike, really like to hang out on the tips of high foliage so they can reach onto the horse (and humans), much easier. We really try to keep the weeds low, eliminate places for water to pool, and manure dragged out to help with the fly, mosquito, and tick population.
REALLY hope this helps as its been particularly rough this season.