Friday, July 20, 2018

Product Review: Shoofly Leggins

Disclaimer: I was not asked to write this review nor have I received any form of incentive or compensation for doing so. All opinions are my own and given voluntarily.

Product reviews are few and far between for me. Mostly because I'm not someone who spends money often and most of what I purchase is straight-forward, utilitarian, and often well-known and already well-reviewed. But I feel obligated to write this review after another blogger's write-up (hi, Sara!) influenced me to purchase the product!

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Since moving my horses onto smaller acreage near home in June, I've had things like fly masks/boots on my radar for the first time ever. The horses are in a herd of 3 instead of 10, don't have as many places to move around and escape pesky flies, the deer flies blow in Canaan, and I knew that on smaller acreage I wouldn't mind finding a mask or fly boot that had been casually discarded by one of them over the course of time between my visits (because to hell with searching for a lost boot or fly mask on the 28 acres they were previously living on).

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Considering the Options

It's worth noting, as I'm certain I'll get questions otherwise, why I didn't consider a fly sheet or put them all in masks instead of/in addition to the leggings:

With regard to sheets, I had concerns that they'd sweat in them. I know how even my light sun protective layers cause me to sweat and I just didn't want that for the horses. Additionally, they all enjoy rolling quite often, clothed or not, and I just imagined the fine mesh of a fly sheet getting nabbed by an errant piece of vegetation and becoming torn in no time at all.

And with regard to masks, I'd honestly planned to put them in those in addition to the leggings. But when I spent time really observing them in the field while I was there over the course of several weeks, I noted that the flies in Canaan are not the type to really flock to their faces. On the contrary, these flies go for the legs (especially the lower leg where they're more out of reach from the horses' defenses) and belly more than anything. My observations suggested that the Shoofly Leggins should resolve much of my horses' fly-related stress.

Product Selection: Shoofly Leggins

While many other fly boot products exist on the market, I've always been skeptical of them. My horses live in a 24/7 turnout situation on pastures that are not perfectly manicured. A classic boot with multiple velcro strips and fleece-covered hemlines didn't seem like a great option for our mornings ripe with heavy dew on the grass. I didn't relish the idea of that wet being contained so close to their horses legs for hours until they dried. 

Additionally, I didn't love the idea of boots that dropped below the coronet band because I just foresaw those getting shredded from inevitable overreach. Could I put bell boots on to help prevent that? Sure, but that's just adding more crap to their legs which didn't thrill me for a variety of reasons.

Finally, I questioned the durability of some of the mesh used in some boot designs. It looked like something my horses could tear up in no time at all, and I had no desire to spend money on something so easily destroyed.

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Shoofly Leggins loose, simple design that provides for a lot of airflow was very appealing to me. Overall, the description of their construction sounded promising for my needs. Per their website, "Breathable plastic mesh with sewn-in stays to eliminate sagging. Heavy-duty Velcro ensures durability and wear-ability. Lower edge finished in felt to eliminate embedded wild oats, burrs, and foxtails."

And so, as summer hit it's stride at the end of June in the Valley, I bit the bullet and nabbed 3 sets of Shoofly Leggins from Stateline Tack when they had one of their many sales. Sum total for 3 sets + shipping? $145. Not a bad investment if the horses would keep them on and if they'd last me at least one summer if not two!

Initial Impressions

The evening the leggings arrived, I hurried over to feed the horses and put them on.

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They went on simply and easily and I saw an IMMEDIATE change in each of my horses as they were applied. Prior to wearing them, as the horses ate their meals, each was stomp-stomp-stomping constantly with one foot or the other. As each horse donned the leggings, the stomping ceased. Immediately. It was a very cool cascading diminuendo sound effect to go from a trio of stomping horses to a duo to a single individual to NOTHING in a matter of a few minutes.

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None of the horses protested to wearing the leggings more than a few elevated leg raises and startled stutter-steps in place where they were tied. Each was alarmed for a second or two before accepting the leggings as their new normal, and then proceeded to happily swish their tails and occasionally nip at their bellies if a particularly evil fly found its way there. 

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With such promising initial results, I crossed my fingers and toes that the product would withstand the horses daily movements, stay on, and not rub or cause distress to the pastern area.

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The next day I was THRILLED to arrive and see 12 leggings precisely where I'd left them. Barring the one day someone other than me replaced them when only one came off of Q's right hind, they haven't budged once since I've been using them - which has been daily for 10+ days now. Every day I arrive the horses have them on; such a satisfying thing!


Big selling points for me with this product:

  • Loose design to allow plenty of air flow so they dry quickly from morning dew and do not hold moisture against the horses' skin
  • Simple design that stays on for horses who are on 24/7 turnout
  • Majority of reviewers didn't not have issues with rubs - and I haven't either
  • Color options (I chose what would be easiest to find when discarded) 
  • Affordable - a set of 4 for $46 (on sale); looking at the construction of these things $11.50 per legging is very fair!


Conclusions

So far, I'm very, very pleased with this product. The horses seem SO much more content - the biggest win. But beyond that, I'm very pleased that the leggings stay put where they are supposed to, aren't rubbing any raw spots, and seem quite durable to the rigors of daily life for my little herd.

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This photo is the most recent of all of the above.
The only visible wear is the now off-white felt at the base and a slight sag to the previously very upright leggings.

Though the true test of time will come this autumn when I put these things away until next summer. I'm optimistic that they will still be in great shape, but I'll certainly have to check back in at a later date and let you know.

21 comments:

  1. I've been wavering on these for a while now! Especially with Gwyn in front shoes and with the wear on her hooves from stomping all the time I want to find something to ease the flies.

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    1. I'd definitely recommend these as something to consider!

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  2. So glad they work for you. They were life savers last summer when I was in a similar situation with smaller pasture and no where to hide.

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  3. I've been eye balling these, particularly for Copper since I'm sure the stomping isn't helping his ouchie front feets.

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  4. I love this product!! I've used other types of fly boots but these are the best - no risk of tightening, or sliding down to put pressure on the tendons like my others have done. The only problem I have is the occasional horse manages to get a ball of poo in a hind one, but they make such a huge difference in their feet.

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    1. Yeah, Grif got poop in one hind the first night, but it never reoccurred. I bet that a horse's conformation plays into the frequency/likelihood of that happening. I'm grateful we've only had one instance!

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  5. whelp i guess i can throw my draft out now :P :P

    but seriously, i have a review of these in the works because i love them so much. they are THE BEST.

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    1. Ohh no! Definitely publish yours, too! Love to hear about the things you like and dislike about them, too! They are a pretty freaking great product.

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    2. i dislike nothing about them. It is only love. what other fly boots can you leave on for days on end and not get rubs????

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  6. I am so intrigued by these! My horses seem to get harassed on their faces the most (but I can't really fly mask them unless I can take the masks off at night). I think orange was a great color choice for locating missing boots!

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    1. I hear you on the fly masks off at night! I put Grif in one for a few days and he left it on, but it was only through a hot, dry stretch of weather where we didn't have dew or anything to worry about. I wish I could see them frequently enough to take things on and off as needed - it's so hard!

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  7. I have been intrigued by these leggings and wondering what my ponies would think of them.

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  8. I keep wanting to buy some, but haven't... So your guys wear them 24/7? I've spent enough money this year on fly garb (both of my full sized boys break out in hives from flies and I needed a new sheet for my appendix and somehow decided my mini needed a fly sheet too just because he looks cute?) but next year...?

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    1. Yep on 24/7 unless we are predicted to get a gully-washer of a rain event for more than a few hours of a day (I just worry about moisture trapped right against their skin for the duration of that). They're now on a smaller turnout of 2-3 acres instead of 28, but only the one has come off so far and I think it wasn't put on correctly by my friend. I'm really pragmatic about gear and these meet my needs and seem quite durable, too! I'd definitely recommend them if you don't have a horse who reaches down to tear things off their legs lol

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  9. do they clean up well? I just worry the dew point is huge here in TN and i can see them getting dirty fast between being soaked and then dirt and dust?? I am glad they worked for you. I cant keep a fly mask on Remus lately so he gets nothing. LOL I have two fly sheets but never use them due to the sweat thing. No matter how light they are he still sweats in them.

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    1. Seem to clean up just fine! The white felt doesn't get PRISTINE, but then again I haven't tried too hard to make it so lol

      And I hear ya on the sweat. Stan is a sweaty, sweaty boy. I think he'd hate me if I put a sheet on him lol

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