To keep mosquitoes and horseflies from swarming horses in the summer season, owners spray animals daily with repellent—a process both expensive and, over the long term, potentially harmful to a horse’s health. The Hohenstein Institute, Bönnigheim, Germany, had a better idea. Working with HKM Sports Equipment GmbH, Neuenhaus, Germany, Hohenstein researchers developed a horse blanket that provides both a chemical and mechanical barrier to biting insects that cause discomfort and carry disease.
The horse blanket is made of extremely light spacer fabric optimized to fit the horse and unable to be pierced by insects. While bugs can’t puncture the fabric, it has good moisture management features, allowing sweat to evaporate to cool the horse. A natural, active repellent substance is integrated into a delivery system that protects animals from insects for several weeks and is easily replaced. The blanket is wash resistant and weatherproof, making it suitable for long-term use.