Natural tick repellent
Many horses owners enjoy getting out of the arena and riding on trails. While this can be a fun and relaxing way to spend time with your horse, it may also expose both of you to disease laden ticks.
These parasites generally live in wooded and grassy areas, They anchor themselves onto the skin and need blood from a host to survive. Their ‘saliva’ may transmit the bacteria borrelia burgdorferi, which causes Lyme Disease (also known as “Lyme arthritis”) in both people and animals. They also can cause tick paralysis, ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis.
You can try to avoid ticks by walking in the center of trails and not riding through long grasses where ticks wait to grab ahold of legs as you go by. To circumvent having these parasites attach themselves, you can use repellents to mask the odor ticks use to detect their prey.
Rather than using toxic chemicals, I recommend you try a natural preventative spray containing at least one of the following:
- Cedar oil
- Lemongrass oil
- Cinnamon oil
- Sesame oil
- Castor oil
Another precautionary tool is to make sure to perform tick checks after you’ve ridden. A tick must feed for 36-48 hours in order to impart Lyme Disease. Finding and getting rid of ticks as soon as possible will help avoid infection. Look for tiny and foreign dark dots — especially in areas of thinner skin, like the ears.
Lint rollers are helpful in removing unattached ticks from your horse, tack and clothing. If you have trailered into the area, make sure to do this before loading your horse to haul back home.
If you find an attached tick, use tick removal tools like the Tick Twister, Ticked Off, Ticked Key or Tick Stick rather than tweezers. You can find most of these devices at your local pet store for less than $5. It’s a great idea to keep one in your trailer and groom box.