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Product Review: Noble Outfitters New & Improved Guardsman Fly Mask

Kristen tests out the new improved features of the Guardsman Fly Mask!

Red sporting the new and improved Guardsman fly mask. Photo by Kristen Kovatch.

Last year, I reviewed the Noble Outfitters Guardsman Fly Mask and was overall impressed with its durability, unique design and UV protection. Astute readers may recall that my riding horse Red did get some slight rubs along his jawline, and a common reader concern was the bulkiness of the mask’s design — for those used to a “conventional” darted shape of a fly mask, the Guardsman might appear to be simply too big.

Noble Outfitters improved the Guardsman for 2017, and Red was ready to take on the new and improved design. A quick disclaimer: I was really excited to compare the 2016 model to the 2017 model side-by-side and tell you all about the new features… but I maddeningly did such a good job of packing up last summer’s horse gear and storing it away somewhere in my house or barn that I truly cannot find it. Frustrating, yes… so the best I can offer is a photo of last year’s mask:

The 2016 model, for comparison. Photo by Kristen Kovatch.

Working off both the photos and my memory, the new mask is a bit lower in profile, reducing some of the bulk on the horse’s head. The new mask does slim down nicely around Red’s head, and while I’m not terribly vain about what Red looks like out in the pasture it IS nice to have him look less like an insect and more like the handsome little pony that he is.

I’ve chosen to remove the nose flap for Red’s mask as he’s not terribly prone to sunburn and is not overly sensitive to bugs on his nose; Noble Outfitters has switched the velcro placement to put the fuzzy side on the horse end of the mask so there’s no danger of rubs across the nose bone. Additionally, the ear holes are lined with soft fleece as well as the flaps under his jaw, so I’m confident that Red will not have rub marks this summer! With a soft elastic fit under the jaw, I can get a custom fit without pulling so tight that I wear off all of Red’s hair.

The UV protection factor remains a great feature of this mask, and the little details like contrast trim make this mask continue to look sharp out in the field. Even with the black color, Red never comes in sweaty underneath; the mask is plenty breathable and he stays cool.

The Noble Outfitters Guardsman Mask is available in black or tan, both with or without ear holes. All masks come with the removable nose flap for horses who need additional protection. $24.95 will buy your horse plenty of protection this summer and give you peace of mind!

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