I have been a pretty devoted Cashel Crusader fly mask user for a while. They seemed to fit most horses, lasted a while, and looked fine. However, I have had issues with the long piece that covers the nose. In certain muzzles, May benefits from this extra piece, while in others, it just gets in the way. Also, the sizing has also been slightly off for May. A “horse” sized mask wasn’t quite large enough in the right places, and a “warmblood” sized mask was massive. See below for happy horse in the Crusader mask. (Old video that makes me wonder WHY I LET HER GET SO FAT? Definitely at a better weight now)


[wpvideo 5d3gVsDc ]

So when I was looking for a new mask, I decided to try another brand. The most economical choise? The SmarkPak Fly Mask.

The SmartPak Deluxe Fly Mask is just what your horse needs to keep summer’s pests at bay at a price you’ll love! The Deluxe mask features a fleece bumper in the crown to help lift the mask away from your horse’s eye as well as a removable zipper nose piece depending on you and your horse’s preference.

Durable PVC mesh that holds its shape and keeps flys off your horse’s sensitive face

  • Soft mesh ears provides extra protection from pests in sensitive areas
  • Fleece edging ensures a comfortable fit on the horse’s face
  • Wide VELCRO® brand closure keeps the mask securely in place

Sounds pretty good. Right? Nice fleece bumpers for comfort, a removable nose piece, and a wide closure. It all sounded great.

It showed up, and the material was soft but sturdy and the fleece was a nice touch. It fit May’s ears, but it didn’t quite stretch all the way around her jaw. Not a big deal. It still closed with plenty of velcro making contact. Even in the picture on the website, the velcro was left a bit short. Worst case scenario, it would just fall off. Right?

Here’s the issue, there is no elastic in the closure. It is just a WIDE piece of velcro. At this point, I think it might even be that wide just so smartpak could slap a GIANT logo on it.

Now we get into the issue. I threw this fly mask on and then wasn’t at the barn for a couple of days. When I showed up a couple of days after introducing it, my trainer told me that something was rubbing May’s face. Given that she was wearing a muzzle and a mask, I didn’t jump to any conclusions.

Then I saw this. Ouch! You can see the rubs under the jaw in 2 places on both sides. Those places lined up with the front edge of the velcro and where the velcro sat on the widest part of her head. Mind you, the part facing the horse was not the rough “velcro” part of the velcro strip, but it was the hard, less flexible material. In 2 days of only night use, it had rubbed May’s jaw raw.

I removed the fly mask (obviously) and switched May to a fully fleece-lined muzzle, since it wouldn’t be raining for a few days. Then, I emailed SmartPak. Here’s the response:

Thank you for your email!
I am so sorry to hear that the fly mask wasn’t perfect for May!
Since that has been used, please feel free to give it to a friend, or donate it to a local rescue. I am absolutely going to issue a Smartpakcredit to your account for the purchase price of that. That credit of $27.19 will automatically apply to either your next purchase from us, or your next SmartPak for May, whichever comes first.
Please do not hesitate to let me know if there is anything else that I may help with, and have a wonderful rest of your day!
Happy Trails,

First of all, do you really need to call it a “Smartpakcredit”? Either way, the resolution was fine. Not great (especially since I was within the 60 day return window), but fine. I feel like the old SmartPak would’ve tried to figure out what the issue with fit actually was and try to recommend another one to try? Maybe I am using rose colored glasses there.

Either way, I left a review about the velcro issue, and I will check to make sure it shows up. Smartpak branded items seems to have a LOT of REALLY positive reviews. Anyone else notice that?

I will probably try a different fly mask from Riding Warehouse. Maybe a lycra based one so that it is less bulk under her muzzle. Thoughts?


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  1. roamingridersite

    Ouch! Sorry that rubbed May. I agree, the response seems like hiding the issue under the rug and hoping nobody else finds out. I keep seeing the new Rambo mask reviewed in blog land. The one that makes them look like a space alien. Everyone really likes it. I’m still a Cashel person myself so have no personal opinion of the Rambo one.

    1. Emily

      I think my concern with the rambo one is that it would have to go over a muzzle or risk being smushed against her face. I think?

  2. the_everything_pony

    Ouch! So sorry that rubbed May! My mom and I have had some interesting SP experiences recently – I found that calling was better than emailing most times, and usually if it’s a supplement I want to stop using they as me if there was anything wrong so that they can collect data. My experience was okay with trying to switch certain supplements around, but my mom got a really rude person when she called to switch hers around. I feel the old SP wouldn’t have done that but….? I don’t know either.

    I quite like the Kensington fly masks. Their newer colors/styles are a little bigger – wider around the eyes – and I like that the whole front & back is fleece-lined and the strap is elastic. I’ve had a lot of good success with them, and I use the Cashel long nose and Amber but unfortunately the long nose is too big and rubs her nostrils. I want to try the Kensington long nose but we’ll see how it fits her.

    1. Emily

      Thanks for the advice! Calling is tough because I typically don’t have 10 minutes where I am sitting around doing nothing hahaha. However, it is probably worth it if I am just going to complain.

      I’ll check out the Kensingtons. They always have great colors!

      1. the_everything_pony

        I really hate calling too but it’s much harder to brush off a person over the phone or face to face so I’ve started doing that lol.

        1. Emily

          Oh yeah. It definitely is!

  3. stampyandthebrain

    I had the same Cashel issue – I went to replace an old one and found that one size was too small for Phoenix and the other too big. I’m now using Shires fly masks which I love. I’ve been tempted to try the Rambo fly mask just because but haven’t gone there yet.

    1. Amanda

      Another vote for the Shires fly masks – I switched last summer because that’s what was available at the local tack store and I kind of love it now. I was a pretty devoted Wrangler fly mask person before this, but it’s Shires all the way for me now.

      1. Emily

        I’ll have to check out the shires! I have had a lot of success with their products in the past.

  4. draftmare

    Well that’s disappointing. I have a cashel now, but I have the same issue with sizing. Warmblood is just massive, and horse isn’t big enough. I feel like draft must be made for elephants!

    1. Emily

      Right? Like May fits in the Horse size of everything… except those masks. I’ll let you know if I have any luck with another brand!

  5. Carly

    Absorbine makes the exact same style of mask as this SP one, but the sizing looks like it’s probably roomier and the material softer. One of the giant TBs in the barn has one and there’s plenty of velcro room when I do it up. Not sure how much they cost, but throwing it out there if that was something to try. Two horses have those Rambo space masks and there’s not a lot of velcro to go around, and they’re pretty gigantic and unwieldy. I’ve given up on long noses after Opie kept soaking them with snot and just use sunblock and swat with a good old fashioned Farnam classic fleece lined thing. 🙂

    1. Emily

      The nose piece is probably unnecessary. She goes up 7PM – 11AM most days, so is in for the sunniest part of the day. Her nose gets more burned just hanging it outside her stall door!

      I was eyeing the Absorbine ones. They’re in that Oh So Nice <$30 range. They even seem to come in a Warmblood size. That might be my next attempt!

  6. Alex

    I’ve got problems with size on fly masks as well. Most brands don’t have an actual arab sized mask. They will say arab/small horse or arab/cob. But the problem there is that the typical arab face is a lot slimmer than a cob or average small horse. =/

    It really sucks when trying a new product rubs wrong on your horse. Luckily you had a back up. I hope May heals quickly.

    1. Emily

      Right. I am sure that, a lot of times, the opening closer to the nose is way too big for an arab. You would think they would be better at this by now! hahaha

      1. Alex

        Right? Ive always wondered why fly masks didnt have adjustability past the velcro that keeps them closed. Adjustable nose parts etc would be so useful.

          1. Alex

            The two closures are great for keeping it on a horse’s face vs allowing their buddies to rip it off. But it didnt seem like there was much sizing aspect for me.

            Seriously though. If i could think of a practical way to implement the sizing i just might try it!

  7. Poor May. It does seem like their response was a bit weird.

    I actually just dealt with them yesterday and had an ok outcome – a friend got me a pair of their breeches for my birthday in the same size as some I already have that fit great, and the new ones were so tight in the waist I couldn’t button them. I thought maybe I was just having a fat day so I wore them but the issue continued next time I tried them. They still let me send them back but didn’t seem at all concerned by the huge difference in size. Makes me wonder about quality control.

    1. Emily

      Yeah. I guess that was more my issue. They were just like “oh well, here’s your money back.” Which is nice, but just not the standard that I feel they used to have.

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