As a barn owner, I get to see many different horse products in-use and observe how well they work without having to foot the bill. Yippee! In the winter I “research” blankets, in the spring I “study” thrush treatments, and in the summer I get to “observe” all things insect-related!
I must confess, I already have a favorite fly mask that I loyally use on my personal horses, but I was intrigued when I saw the new Noble Outfitters Guardsman fly mask hit the shelves at my local tack and feed store. Noble Outfitters is quickly becoming one of my go-to brands. I’m in love with their manure rakes-I even did a review for their website! If you clean stalls daily, you NEED one of these rakes.
One of my full boarders arrived this summer with a Guardsman fly mask, and I was so excited to get to see it in action! I’ve been using this mask since I took it out of the package in May, until this week when I had some, uh, problems with it.
The mask has a stiff, armored appearance; it looks and feels very sturdy. I like that the areas around the eyes don’t have the potential to fall-in on the horse’s face. That’s happened to Kona before, and it left rubs above his eyelids. 🙁 No bueno.
It also came with a detachable nose piece that you can Velcro on. I didn’t use it, because it was so short. I didn’t really understand the point of having such a short nose piece, so I went without. Perhaps on some horses it would protect a blaze or a white nose from getting burned. Not on this long-faced guy, though.
I also like that it has a place to write your horse’s name on the Vlecro strip! This can come in handy if you have many horses and they tend to pull them off during turnout. Or, to make it easier on your barn manager in the mornings. 🙂 It also has a nifty loop at the top to hang to mask on your stall.
The mask has many braggable assets. The stiffness and durability of the mesh is my favorite.
But it is not perfect.
After a week of my boarder’s horse using the mask, I had to replace it with a brand new one because the Velcro ripped! This particular horse is very unlikely to play hard with his neighbors, so I was shocked when I came one afternoon to find it on the ground, ripped. Thankfully, my local tack store immediately took it back with no question. HOWEVER. It just ripped again! In the same place! There was no evidence of foul play. Just a nice clean rip that resulted from a good scratch, I’m sure.That’s just too much of a coincidence for me. Perhaps this is a design problem that will be solved as Noble Outfitters continues to expand their product line.
My one other complaint is that the mask rubbed a spot on the horse’s nose! I had just cleaned and applied some SWAT to the rub, so the picture makes it look worse than it actually is. But STILL. Even if the Velcro hadn’t ripped, I cannot continue to use the mask because it rubs. Noble Outfitters-how can you do this to me?!
When I first saw my boarder had the Noble Outfitters Guardsman mask, I instantly thought of doing a review after trying it, and I had planned on it being a raving review! I really love all their other products. Unfortunately, I think the company needs to work on the design of this fly mask. I would not recommend buying this particular style of fly mask. Boo. I hate saying that! But what would an honest review be without, well, honesty?
I sincerely hope they’ll listen to their customers and make adjustments.
Maybe I’m the only one who’s had problems with this product? Have you tried it?
P.S. Please know that, yes, I do occasionally wash my hands. And I don’t have a fungus on my thumb. That’s just Kopertox. 🙂 Horse girls get it, right?