There is so much to love about summer: light evenings, long hacks in the sun, 24-hour turnout. There is, however, one major drawback — the swarms of flies that descend as soon as the sun comes out.
I have two horses, both of whom are bothered by flies in the summer. Jordan is a 30-year-old Thoroughbred cross and Owen is a 19-year-old Connemara. They are always turned out in fly masks, and the three of us were delighted to be asked to road test the AniMac All Rounder Fly Rug Combo.
First impressions were excellent. The rug looks very smart. It has a white cotton/poly upper panel with a discreet check pattern and a breathable mesh lower panel in bright turquoise. There were no issues with static as I put them on, and both boys looked great.
Owen (15.1hh) wears a 6”3, and Jordan (15.3hh) wears a 6”6.
> Chest and shoulders
They both fitted well across the shoulders, although Owen’s was perhaps a fraction long on him – he often wears a 6”, but I suspect that the size down would have been a little snug across the chest and shoulders. For a particularly chunky horse, you might wish to err on the side of caution and size up.
> The straps
I was surprised to see that there was no surcingle; instead, the rug is secured by leg straps. I was a bit concerned that the rug might not stand up to vigorous rolling, but I needn’t have worried — it stayed put surprisingly well, with no slippage at all.
> Mane protection
Owen can be quite sensitive and has suffered from ill-fitting rugs in the past, so I was particularly pleased to see that the satin lining on the neck and chest protected him from rubbing, with no loss of mane.
The boys were turned out in their rugs daily for five weeks and had them removed when they came in at night. As the weather swung between deluges of biblical proportions and 30+ degree sun during the six weeks or so that we tested the rugs, we were able to see how they coped in a variety of conditions.
Owen is a grey, so I was delighted to see that the rug did an excellent job at keeping the worst of the mud off in very wet weather, although it isn’t fully waterproof.
Equally, both horses coped well in the heat; they weren’t too sweaty underneath the rug, and the mesh panel on the body and neck helped to catch the breeze and keep them cool. No flies managed to find their way underneath, even on days when they were particularly bad, so it got a thumbs up from Owen and Jordan!
Value for money
At £40, I think this rug represents very good value for money. I’ve spent similar on rugs that were not nearly so effective. It went down well on the yard, too. In fact, a number of other liveries mentioned that they would look into getting one for their own horses.
My only slight criticism is that the sizing isn’t overly generous. Owen and Jordan were comfortable in a slightly larger rug than they would usually wear, so for a particularly chunky horse I would certainly be inclined to go for the size up.
We also tried the 6”6 rug on a Warmblood, who found it too narrow across the chest.
I like this rug a lot. I love the design and it looks smart, feels well-made and, although thankfully my horses are very respectful of their rugs, it feels sturdy enough to stand up to normal field hijinks.
Overall, it’s a great rug to safeguard against the changeable British summer weather and I would happily recommend it.
Buy at animac-wear.com