I currently use Eqyss Marigold which has had rave review but and indicates a non-invasive natural approach, but if you read through the ingredients, it contains methylparabens...one of the very things you want to avoid.
Nikki, Is the Eqyss Marigold working for your horse?
One of the natural products that is manufactured (rather then a home-made recipe) was found to cause problems for people. I think it was found to cause respiratory problems.
I know there is lots of natural recipes out there. Hopefully a good one will show up here.
I use Bronco. I know it is not strong enough to last long, but it is the only fly spray that doesn't make my nose run and eyes itch. I don't know whats in it, and I am too lazy to run to the barn to look, lol. My husband said if it bothers me, think what it is doing to my horse, I always think of that.
I use essential oils mixed in a catnip tea. I use organic and therapuetic essential oils and organic catnip to make the tea. Does it keep every bug away? No, but I've never seen anything work 100%. My horse has done well with this combination.
Anyone try Fly Preditors? I have used them for 4 years now and never use fly spray unless I'm off premise. They don't work on deer and horse flies but neither does the $20 bottle of everything I've tried.
I have introduced Fly Preditors to two stables, a 25 horse and a 15 horse. Both of the places were really happy with the results and continued to buy them in the following years. The boarders and barn owners shared the cost which ended up minimal for each person and in the big picture saved everyone money cause they weren't spending nearly as much on bug sprays. Anyone I've talked to about them has been happy with them.
And each consecutive year it gets better and better. I pay I think about $12 a month from April til Sept and keep a bottle of Wipe in the trailer. I just wish they would develop something like that for Deer Flies and Horse Flies. They keep my horses inside for 6-8 weeks every summer.
My mother-in-law uses Skin So Soft. Actually, quite a few people in her barn do. The smell is nice, but I have mild scent allergies, so I find it to be bothersome when around it frequently. It does work, so if you don't have the some issue I do, give it a try! It's not "natural", but it's not insecticide like the typical fly sprays.
I have found the Skin So Soft oil to be a good deterent for bugs also. As an ex-Avon lady I know they sell alot of it for this purpose. My Natural health care doctor did tell me this is a petroleum based prodecut and not good for us so I suspect not good for our horses either. But neither are the diseases our horses can get from the bug bites so I try to be a middle of the roader...I have added it to other natural sprays too so that I'm using less of the not so healthy stuff.