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Hy StormX Original Zebra Fly Rug: first look


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  • StormX Original Zebra Fly Rug

    Score

    8/10
    • Fit:
      6/10
    • Style:
      9/10
    • Ease of use:
      8/10

    Pros

    • Zebra print is scientifically proven to confuse flies
    • Nice lightweight material
    • Good fastenings on the neck cover

    Cons

    • Rug is a little short on length
    • Neck cover slipped on my horse

    Manufacturer:

    Hy

    Price as reviewed:

    £44.99

    Hy StormX Original Zebra Fly Rug

    My first thought when I saw the StormX Original Zebra fly rug was I certainly wouldn’t have trouble spotting my horse in the field. The bold print really stands out and I couldn’t help but smile as there’s an element of fun to it. But this fly rug offers a lot more than just a bit of fun, owing to the fact zebra print has been scientifically proven to confuse flies.

    One of the most recent studies published in 2019 looked at zebras and horses to understand how stripes manipulate the behaviour of biting flies as they attempt to land. While researchers found flies were just as attracted to the zebras as the horses suggesting the stripes did not deter flies from a distance, when they got close to the zebras it was noted they tended to fly past them – indicating the stripes disrupted the flies’ abilities to land.

    I have never tried a zebra-print rug before so based on the science I am really looking forward to finding out how well these rugs work – especially on horse flies and the notorious Scottish midges.

    The rug itself is made from a breathable mesh and feels nice and lightweight. The manufacturer claims the fabric prevents overheating, which is a real positive as overheating is a concern of mine when rugging in during the spring and summer months, so I’ll be keeping a close eye on how my horse feels with it on. I am curious how durable the mesh will be as it does feel like some over-rigorous grooming with my other horse could potentially cause tears.

    My 15.2hh Connemara x Irish Sports Horse mare measures for a 6ft3in, but I found the length of this rug came up a little on the short side.

    The non-detachable neck cover has three Velcro fastenings, which were great for a secure fit, however, unfortunately the minute my horse put her head down to graze the neck cover slipped back and looked quite tight and uncomfortable. I will be keeping an eye out to see if this eventually becomes a problem or causes any rubbing.

    Other features on the rug include buckle fastenings, which are a little on the clunky side, at the front. It also comes with a fillet string, cross surcingles and shoulder gusset.

    Verdict

    Initial thoughts – There are more expensive fly rugs on the market so I think at £44.99 this is reasonably priced, especially given the scientific claims behind it. It’s nice to look at but for my horse it is a little on the short side, and the neck cover doesn’t fit as well as it could.


    What is a first look review?

    These are our first impressions of a piece of kit or clothing based on spending some time with it. We will have had our hands on it and given it a really thorough going over before trying it on ourselves or our horses and using it. The information we can give you after this first look will give you some sense of what it’s like to use, even if it’s only an initial view. As soon as we’ve given it a more thorough test, we will update the review with a full scoring and additional thoughts.

    Find out more about how Horse & Hound tests products

    Who tested this fly rug?

    Becky Murray started freelance writing for Horse & Hound in 2016 alongside other equestrian titles, before joining the H&H news team in July 2018. She was made senior news writer in January 2022. During her time at H&H she has reported on a broad range of topics across the equestrian industry including welfare issues, veterinary studies, FEI Tribunal hearings, rider safety, and road safety campaigns. In 2019 she attended the national Strangles Symposium and the Scottish welfare conference.

    Becky was part of the home remote reporting team for the Tokyo Olympic Games and the European Showjumping Championships and has reported from Morris Equestrian, the Royal Highland Show and Blair Castle International Horse Trials. She also regularly contributes to the weekly H&H podcast.

    Based in north Scotland, Becky learnt to ride at the age of five. She got the showjumping bug with her 13.2hh older pony Phoenix, who used to particularly enjoy a chase-me-Charlie. She went on to compete in British Showjumping and riding club activities as a teenager with her pony Sparkle. After losing two horses in 2015 to illness and injury, Becky is now producing two Irish mares, Ruby and Chloe, and hopes to get back in the showjumping ring in the future. She also has two miniature Shetland sisters, Mootie and Poppet, who keep her on her toes.


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