Readers Respond: That Ticks Me Off!

More than 1,700 readers of TheHorse.com responded to a poll asking, "Do you have problems with ticks on your horse(s)?"

results of poll on ticks

Results were as follows: 
  • No: 40.73% (710)
  • Yes, every year: 33.91% (591)
  • Occasionally: 25.36% (442)

Readers shared their tips on keeping their horses free from ticks in the comments below.

Results of weekly polls from TheHorse.com are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter. Published every week, this e-newsletter offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters using the form above or on our e-newsletter page.  

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  • We use garlic on their food morning and night never a problem!
  • In the east we treat for Lyme
  • We will sometimes find the occasional tick on one of the horses or me!
  • We have had major issues after we moved into our new farm this past year.
  • Feel open handed all the under spots
  • Listerine mouthwash
  • I use a "spot on" treatment and since have never picked a tick off my horse
  • Removing from horse and placing them in a jar with dawn dishwashing liquid, which kills ticks
  • Avon lotion
  • Use Avon’s skin so soft to keep flies, ticks and mosquitoes away.
  • Seven dust
  • Global herbs
  • The only horse I have had a problem with is my darker colored horse. None with my gray
  • Our dogs get ticks at certain times of the year. No problems on the horses.
  • Putting bug spray on it every year, for the rest of it's life.
  • Spray the with the yellow bug spray (the one that is toxic to people) and starts with a P
  • I normally cover the tick in nappy rash cream. By doing this tick can’t breathe so falls off.
  • Checking them every day at feeding time by an all-over scratch/rub. They love it!
  • Seven dust. I put a trail down there back from the top of their tail to their poll.
  • Guinea hens-they has eliminated any ticks on our property!
  • Spot on treatment, inspection, spray
  • Spot on treatments
  • I'm currently trying nematodes in the pasture and a new fly spray formula
  • Stop them before they get on - use a spray and topical like Frontline on legs, don’t ride I tall grass
  • With lots of deer on the farm - there's not much that can be done - I won’t use more chemicals
  • We keep our horses sprayed with appropriate spray during tick season.
  • I feed a garlic powder supplement: I really think it helps. He does get "garlic breath"!
  • I have never seen one on any of my horses
  • I spray with Endure. But the really repellant stuff is skin so soft mixed with white vinegar and H20
  • Cut all tall grass and brush, apply fly spray frequently
  • well I burn them because that is what kills them
  • Freedom Spot-on works well
  • Use Swat in ears
  • use equispot routinely and when going out on trails use Seven dust
  • hose them off after being ridden. Especially the legs.
  • spray daily before turnout
  • I use Absorbine fly spray that repels ticks, I also check everyday when grooming for them.
  • fly leggings and applying fly spray to legs help! but I always I to remove ticks on daily basis
  • Dog tick collars around horses neck
  • have not found a real solution, more and more cases of lymnes
  • Put organic apple cider vinegar in the feed. The horses love it & the bugs don't.
  • I use Equinatures BugGone Spray a natural spray that definately dters ticks on horses+ dogs by 90%
  • Adams flea and tick shampoo works great!
  • I use Repel x, seems to help keep them off.
  • so far have not had that problem in south florida
  • no ticks in our area
  • Here in Western Colorado, I've never, ever had a tick on any of my horses.
  • only a couple times in horses bought from a certain area, they were in their ears, vet doused them w
  • but have in the past
  • keep guineas..they eat thousands of ticks a day!
  • We're out on the prairie, only trees are for wind breaks and they're outside the fence.
  • Mainly on the 30 yr old horse
  • send me tips, I have none
  • With gloves on, spray horse with tick-remover, then pick off and put in bucket of tick-killer.
  • mix a small amount of neem oil, along with a few drops of rose geranium essential oil into any base
  • Wild and Crazy Guineas
  • I keep my pasture cut and use fly spray during tick season.
  • bayticol mixed with baby oil, every six weeks.
  • Check horses after every ride trail & ring; & in paddock.
  • sevin dust helps, ivermectin wormer helps. picking them off works.
  • I hate those nasty little blood sucker!
  • We make a use a special soap to wash them with at least weekly.
  • no problem at all
  • I've used Equi-spot for 3 years and not 1 tick bite :)
  • getting chickens has helped a lot
  • have not seen any ticks in maybe 15 years
  • I use Springtime's bugoff garlic year round.
  • I spray front line under each leg/ flank area and under the tail. This controls the ticks very well.
  • We do not have ticks in our area. Probably to dry and not many trees and under brush around.
  • Never have had an issue with ticks, thank goodness!
  • We have problems in the fall, winter if it's not cold enough, and spring in the mountains
  • get some chickens or New Guinea Hens
  • Few or no ticks in Northern Michigan
  • One tick found in over 20 years; that one was found after trail riding in a swampy area - not home.
  • I would like some tips for getting rid of ticks!!!!!!! Please..........!
  • The Texas fire ants do a great job of keeping ticks away but I still
  • our property is sprayed for ticks and find none on the horses
  • I atart putting garlic porder in her grain in April, that usually works through the hard frost
  • pick new ones daily from mane & tip of tail, apply Tri-Tec repellent
  • we live N CA as far as you can go & still be in ca & on land seen 1 tick in 8yr on horse from inland
  • Really bad this year! What helps?
  • I found that SSS Bug gaurd works best for everthing.
  • Search entire horse and pull them off, squish them
  • I'm very very fearful and concerned about lyme diease
  • Spot - on treatments!
  • Spraying diluted lysol on manes and tales seems to repel the ticks.
  • Frontline
  • we keep our grass short and there are no trees in the pasture
  • in tail head, and under jaw mostly, some times just crawling their way to those spots
  • INSECT REPELLANT, THOROUGH INSPECTION OF HORSE DAILY
  • after keeping keeping free range chickens in the yard, have noticed a dramatic decrease in ticks!
  • My horse gets tick fever.. I give her garlic tablets all year round..keeps ticks off!
  • in texas, they seem to be the worst in sandy areas
  • we live in a wet area
  • Fly spray daily on lower legs helps alot; check daily; they raise an itchy bump so are easy to find
  • Fly Rid, once every two weeks
  • Nope, never have ticks on our horses at home & use deep woods off trail riding
  • My 7 are groomed every day--no ticks ever!
  • When I lived in Kentucky I had ticks in my horses tail but now, in Northern, so far, noproblems
  • spot on treatment for horses
  • especially bad this year
  • No ticks in the southwestern desert!
  • I use tweesers anti clockwise all the way round and again then pull them out
  • get a tough flyspray to prevent them from ever getting on your horse.
  • Avon Skin So Soft original oil keeps off ticks & flies & mosquitoes & keeps them shiny & dust free
  • this year has already been bad with them in the ears. Cant seem to keep them tick free.
  • Get someone else to remove them.....
  • lyme is on the rise in NY, symptoms are very different w/ each horse
  • Have found a big tick on my cat, but not on the horses
  • I use Equi Spot with great results to keep ticks offf my horses.
  • S.E. PA 3of 5 of herd has Lyme, use spot on drops every 2 wks, mow, put down chemical barriers.
  • I use a good bug spray and "equi spot" in manes and tails
  • I just check the horses daily and pull off the ticks. Spray doesn't seem to impress my ticks.
  • I have found that zonk it works really well.
  • SHAVE THEM OFF
  • using bronco and regular grooming
  • I use spray-on Frontline on my horse's legs and tail but they still crawl up his face.
  • I wipe on a vet-recommended repellent.
  • vaseline on tick and it falls off
  • Trecking it's easy to get them..
  • My vet said to use the Frontline spray and it does help.
  • I just pull them off with my fingers and then pop them with a hoof pick on a hard surface.
  • I use 7 dust
  • Keeping a flock of Guineas
  • I add garlic to the horse's feed all year round and spray them daily with Permoxin.
  • ivermectina o doramectina parenteral subcutaneo
  • short pasture, lots of birds
  • no woods around, plenty of fly spray
  • equine metabolic syndrome
  • In CA we had problems with the dogs but not the horses. No ticks in Aussie land.
  • Dont turn horses out in long seedy grass. Safest way to get rid is to dab with white spirit
  • I spread diamataceous earth in my pasture. I regularly remove any ticks I find.
  • bug repelant in the tubes
  • keep grass short, spray tails
  • feed them brewer's yeast, keeps fleas, mites and ticks off, AND mosquitoes too!
  • Ticks are especially attracted to white horses. We use a product called Killticks that works well
  • Baby oil or Cowboy magic in the lower part of the tail will not let them crawl up the tail
  • If there's an infestation, soak the area with tick killing flyspray.
  • Ultrashield towelettes work the best!!!!!
  • Use Original Formula Wipe for a product that will kill ticks for several days
  • Adams Flea and Tick Mist (yep, the one you use on cats/dogs - doesn't hurt my horse at all
  • they drive me insane trying to keep up with them! esp in manes & tails
  • Not here in Southeast Michigan, but yes when we travel to other areas
  • keep the pasture short
  • Chickens in the pasture eat many of them before they attach to my horses.
  • hair spray will cause them to drop off.
  • We put SWAT in our horses ears and on their necks, it helps keep them off of the face and ears
  • not at all but our woods is far from pasture
  • My horse has a fly sheet, fly leg wraps, and fly mask over his ears & eyes! They still get him!!
  • I am trying ACV in drinking water and sulphur salt licks with iffy results.
  • The spot-on fly control products are the only thing that works for tick prevention.
  • permethrin only thing that works
  • burn them off with hot nail
  • first thing each Spring then they thin out
  • I go over my horses every time I see them. Especially their heads.
  • try a fly spot on protection to keep ticks at bay
  • Ticks are terrible where I live, but getting them off the horses gives us time to bond.
  • I use a horse spray that repels ticks and wipe them down with a rag, everywhere.
  • Keeping pasture grass 3 inches or less helps. Most ticks quest on taller vegatation.
  • I did years ago in Montana, but here in Ariz I dont.
  • Under the forelock, tip of the tailbone, crest of neck, sheath/udder areas
  • Since my horse has been diagnosed with Lyme's I use Frontline spray 1 a week
  • zonk it spray
  • check my mare every day,only use fly spray that also repels ticks,and I kill the little buggers
  • frontline spray
  • I look for them and pick them off.
  • I spray him with Frontline the 1st of each month.
  • 5% sevin dust
  • dunno if its the same with horses but on bobtails we light a match & put it on the tick...drops off.
  • Never, thank goodness!!
  • spot on fly repellent
  • Permethrin works the best.
  • Not in 9 years
  • just pick them off when I see them. I wonder if they can transmit pigion fever?
  • I feed a high quality garlic powder starting in February
  • One did get Lyme Disease but no ticks ever seen or found.
  • Didnt think ticks were a problem but had to put our horse down because of it.
  • confined to horses that are taken on trails
  • clove and peppermint oil
  • I found 4 wood ticks after trail riding yesterday
  • No - no ticks in alaska, at least not on my horses
  • carefully pull them off & squish them with a rock or burn with magnifying glass.Nasty creatures.
  • only when I at at school (Ohio University), at home I have never seen a tick on my horse or me!
  • Frontline spray for dogs used, hopefully, no more than twice a week.
  • Daily check and removal, anti-tick topical, keeping them out of trees and any tall grass.
  • Only during the winter months in Southern CA.
  • Equispot every two weeks=tick free
  • I apply Frontline before turning my horse out.
  • Keep the grass mowed and keep the horses out of the woods, dogs too!
  • Ivermectin
  • Put a swab full of alcohol over the top of the tick and it will come off without leaving the head
  • I use alot of fly spray before I go out during spring monthes when they're at their worst.
  • picking off by hand
  • Moved to NV, so only have to worry about them when I take a horse to CA where I use tick spray.
  • I use fly spray that also keeps ticks off.
  • deworming with ivermectin
  • two different types of V-shaped "tick pickers"
  • Use lots of Avon Skin So Soft Oil on his legs and put on the leg protectors.
  • We groom our horses everyday thoroughly and spray them before and after turnout
  • May see a couple per year
  • feed garlic or bug check, that helps lessen the amount that stay on them
  • Thoroughly check your horse all over after any trail ride, or several times a week for any ticks.
  • keep worming up todate and we have no ticks
  • Add garlic to their feed starting end of March & continue thru October. It's worth the cost!
  • Put garlic in their grain.
  • I think boosting the horse's immune system is the best defense against tick borne illnesses
  • Fly spray as preventative, facilities/weed maint. as preventative
  • I use fly spray that also works for ticks & cut brush 3'+ from fence
  • very rarely do we ever see ticks
  • various natural oils/permethrin/flyspray/vinegar mix
  • Warm water and soap baths. Then keep sparying with
  • Some years are worse then others and I have tried so many diffrent things -- What will really work??
  • use fly wipe that also repels ticks
  • In So. California, never seen on any of my horses
  • When out riding I use 'Flicks' bug product. It is oil based and works!
  • Spray and I have mixed Spot for dogs in cream and dotted it under the bellies
  • constant vigilence, death in rubbing alcohol
  • brush coats and comb tails I have a tick remover too--plastic item from pet catalogs that works
  • Fly spray helps if you are sure to get the spray under the mane, tail and under tail.
  • I remove the ticks and drop them into a jar containing rubbing alcohol.
  • I thing feeding garlic has helped some
  • I spray my horses morning & night with fly spray & keep the grass cut fairly short so no ticks & liv
  • Strongid 2C Daily wormer
  • I hate ticks. They give me the willies. :-)
  • Equi-spot and any water based fly/tick spray. Spread insecticide granules out around too.
  • People spray such as "Off"
  • I use dog & cat flee and tick shampoo especially on their legs during the tick season.
  • Sulpha salt licks have kept ticks etc. off my horses. I've actually seen them drop off the horse.
  • we live in central Indiana and have never had a problem with ticks on the horses
  • metal curry and then tap tick into small cup of fly spray after a trail ride
  • I have not found anything to keep ticks off. I just check them everyday.
  • 28 yo mare with Lyme's and Ehrlichia in MA on Doxy. Fly sprays/drop-ons don't seem to work...
  • I'm in South Florida and have never had a tick on any horse.
  • We don't really have that problem in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Grooming and careful checking after riding in areas known to be infested.
  • clip legs up to knees & hocks. Trim tails to just below hocks.
  • I use Celebration Spot On
  • Please come up with a vaccine!
  • The deer tick, which carries Lyme Disease, and can infect a horse, is virtually too small to see
  • not that I have seen but we get them bad on the dogs
  • pliers do wonders when pulling them off.
  • I spray the crest of their mane and actual tail root with Frontline and then have NO problems
  • one horse reacts strongly to tick bites, swelling, abscessing, etc.
  • just pulled one off her elbow, rubbed antibacterial salve on wound
  • Large dog frontline plus does the trick off label but works :)
  • Best results - I use Dog Tick & Flea Spray on the tick and the next day the tick is dead - and off
  • not yet anyway
  • We got some guineas and they eat ticks and other annoying bugs like crazy
  • The stuff for Dogs & cats works great. Just a sml drop on the tips of the ears & base of the tail
  • garlic
  • Feed garlic,use SWAT on suceptible areas to prevent bites, also let chickens out to eat bugs
  • I have purchased flea & tick collars for cats and put them loosely around the horses ankles.
  • patchouli oil mixed with mineral oil
  • seven dust in a panty hose stocking works great
  • spray twice per week
  • I believe the use of ivermectin has decreased the number of ticks on my horses
  • Household fly spray! Anyone else noticed that the mares suffer more?
  • I have guinea hens that thrive on eating ticks.
  • Mid MI , haven't had any problems.
  • It may rain all winter in Oregon's Willamette Valley, but at least we don't have ticks!
  • Maybe feed garlic
  • keeping everything mowed keeps ticks away from pastures
  • If you have fire ants you usually don't have ticks. So...the devil you know, or the devil you don't
  • We have a few chickens around the barn that helps control them and the fly population
  • Treated three horses for lyme
  • the only good thing about last year's drought was there were so few ticks-this year will be bad!
  • In SW Louisiana they are bad. We have to check Daily. Nothing keeps them off. We remove them by hand
  • Use Garlic for Horses
  • we are blessed with a fairly tick free environment ( western washington)
  • But I find the odd one on me
  • It's a seasonal thing. We know it's here when the mare who never rubs,starts rubbing on us.
  • spray, spray and more spray
  • Dark brown horse with tall white socks gets far more than chestnut mare
  • I SOAK THE LEGS AND BOTTOM 1/2 OF TAIL VERY GOOD BERFORE HITTING THE TRAILS
  • GARLIC, short grass
  • Several sprays have tick protection
  • Fipronil every month
  • Check closely EVERY day. Use spot on. Make sure your horse will le you handle his ears.
  • spray repellent on tail and mane. Search roots of mane and tail and pull out ticks
  • One of my mules is very sensitive to any tick bite while the others hardly have a reaction.
  • A friend suggested using garlic powder. Right now we just spray with repellant.
  • Daily mane and tail exams to find the little blood suckers before they cause even more problems.
  • Just ick the lille buggers off, nothing really seems to repel them.
  • My horses have gotten ehrlichia and lymes
  • Spray with equine insecticide.
  • dishwash liquid on cotton ball, soak it over tick for a while, usually comes right out in the cotton
  • I've found a tick once, removed it, no further problems.
  • Only once I had one on my horse.
  • I use Avon Skin So Soft in combination with citronella.
  • I live in the mountains of Az. at 6,500ft and have never had a tick on my animals Try Essential oils
  • My horses are magnets for ticks! They are a huge problem in Maryland
  • groom and use fly spray
  • sharp nails
  • I have found that a product such as Equi Spot works really good at keeping ticks off
  • I use a paper towel soaked in wintergreen alcohol to pull the tick out.
  • lots and some horses get large swellings from the bites.
  • Pick 'em!
  • Alaska is tick free!
  • are they a regional problem? And if so, where?
  • You might try Avon bug guard you can get the SPF 30 also. I put it on my dog.
  • EquiSpot & fly spray
  • Some fly sprays and spot-on treatments seem to deter them during their busy season
  • I have no ticks here in the desert where I live
  • hand picking is the only way, especially because deer ticks hang on really tightly.
  • listerine in bathwater
  • Thorough exam for ticks after trail rides, spot on tick/fly repellant ie. Equispot
  • spray spray spray
  • Wormers, Tick Spray
  • Only the last two years, they have been all over the horses, often after doing some nasty damage.
  • ticks are good for horses
  • not much on the horses but lots on the dogs
  • top spot plus removing them by hand

About the Author

Megan Arszman

Megan Arszman received a Bachelor of Science In print journalism and equine science from Murray State University in Murray, Ky., and loves combining her love of horses, photography, and writing. In her “free time,” when she’s not busy working as a horse show secretary or riding her American Quarter Horses on her parents’ Indiana farm, she’s training and competing her Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Swedish Vallhund in dog agility and running.

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