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!
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).
Considering the OptionsIt'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.
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 ImpressionsThe evening the leggings arrived, I hurried over to feed the horses and put them on.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
|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.