Well, it's official. My BO's mother says it is the worst year for flies that she can remember in her 40 years of living on the property and caring for horses.
Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I am endeavouring to keep a fly mask on Gem and have asked the barn helpers to make sure he has one on when he's turned out. I will further research some of the products suggested (I am particularly curious about the predators). For those of you that indicated interest in Breathe's suggestion of vanilla, I found a very simple recipe on line at www.ehow.com:
Pour one bottle of sugarless vanilla extract in to an empty spray bottle. Take your now empty vanilla bottle and fill it up with water. Pour the water in to the spray bottle and mix by shaking. Spray on your horse's coat. It is important that you do not use vanilla that contains sugar, as this will attract insects.
You can actually include a little bit of Skin So Soft in the mixture if you so desire.
On the same site, I found this recipe:
Pour 16 ounces of vodka in your empty spray bottle. Add 1/2 ounce of citronella oil, 1/4 ounce of lavender oil, 0.15 (3/20) ounces of tea tree oil, and 16 ounces of jojoba oil. Mix well. Spray on the horse, being careful not to get any in the horse's eyes.
Hmmm, would I want my horse to smell like fresh baked goods or a vodka soda??? Well, to be perfectly honest, I wouldn't be spraying my horse with 16 oz. of vodka - I would be drinking it!!! So, I guess my gentle giant will be smelling like a cupcake shortly. :-)
What was I thinking....?