Aero Loses his Stripes

I was very pleased with Aero’s Bucas Zebra Stripe fly rug initially.  It made a huge difference to his comfort from a ‘being bugged by flies’ point of view and it looked cute.  Apparently it was a talking point in the local villages (Did you see they have a zebra there now?  Is she training a zebra?) and it’s in loads of strangers’ holiday snaps – it was a regular occurrence to see a car stopped beside the horse’s field with a tourist beside it taking a photo of the horse disguised as a zebra.


I had concerns about a couple of things from the start, though, and I itemised them in my post It’s That Time of Year Again back in May :

The elasticated brow band is a waste of time – Yes, it is.  I’ve never used it.  I guess it makes the neck cover sit nicely for photo shoots.  Other than that, I can see no purpose for it.

There is no adjusting whatsoever of the metal fastener at the chest – Yes, this turned out to be a problem.

The belly-guard is clipped on to the inside of the rug by plastic clips which, again, have no possibility for adjustment – Yes, this also turned out to be a problem.

Those plastic clips on the belly-guard and on the leg straps strike me as being very breakable – Yes, one of them is already damaged, but still functioning.

Every fly-rug I have ever used on Aero slips backwards and this one is no exception. What it means for the belly-guard, though, is that one edge of it ends up right beside his sheath and there is no way it’s not going to get pee’d on – No, I was wrong here, the belly guard never got pee’d on.

The rug always sat well on Aero when it was put on, but after a few hours in the field, it would invariably have slipped backwards and twisted to the right hand side.  The front of the rug fastens to one side (the left) and I suspect that this is why it slips around the way it does – surely a central fastener would be better?  Because of the slippage, I never felt comfortable leaving it on Aero day and night, although I was able to do this with last year’s Weatherbeeta fly rug.  Still, I didn’t begrudge him the extra effort of getting up to the farm early in the mornings to rug him up and Alexandrine and her dad were very helpful about taking it off in the evenings, although it had to come off earlier than I would have preferred.  During a particularly warm spell a few weeks ago, I asked them to leave it on and I would nip up to the farm after dark every evening to remove it.

Then the weather changed.  It was consistently windy and temperatures dropped quite a bit – to the high teens/low twenties.  There were noticeably fewer flies around, so I left the rug off completely, noting that the clips on the belly guard had rubbed his sides slightly and thinking that it would be better for his skin and coat to be exposed to the air as much as possible.


The cooler weather lasted a couple of weeks and actually it hasn’t really warmed up again since, although we’re expected to hit the thirties again this week.  The net effect was that Aero didn’t wear the rug for maybe two weeks.  Then, two weeks ago, I was grooming Aero one morning and I was horrified to see the skin lifting off his withers, leaving a bald patch underneath.  The rug had rubbed him weeks earlier; I hadn’t noticed (Bad Me) and now the skin was coming off in chunks as it healed underneath.

I wasn’t happy.  Posts from Bucas keep popping up in my Facebook Newsfeed, so I visited their page, thinking I would leave a message there.  Quelle surprise… I wasn’t the first person to have this problem!  Quite a few people had left messages describing exactly the issues I’d had, but a couple of them followed up their posts, saying that Bucas had contacted them and helped them sort it out.

Ok, I though, and I sent off a polite email to Bucas describing the problem.  I received a reply almost immediately and, after a bit of back and forth looking for the manufacturer’s number from the rug, size of the rug, size of the horse etc, I was told they would send me a chest extender and a new belly guard.  Meanwhile, the trusty old Weatherbeeta was dusted off and called into service!


My parcel from Bucas arrived a couple of days ago.


Kudos to them for the speedy and helpful customer service.

I tried out the new attachments yesterday.


Well, the chest extender certainly extends the chest – but there’s still no adjustment, so now it seems a bit loose.


Buckles, dear Bucas, buckles!  Please!  But at least it is sitting more centrally now.


The replacement belly guard seems exactly the same as the old one and I can’t see it changing anything.

I’ll see how he gets on with the wider chest piece.  If the rug continues to slip,  I will try it without the belly guard and see how it goes.  It certainly couldn’t slip any worse than before so I’ve got nothing to lose!

If it continues to slip and sit heavy on his withers, my last resort will be to sew a piece of sheepskin inside the rug.  But seriously, for €120, I shouldn’t have to do this sort of crap.

I’ve been a huge Bucas fan for years.  I’ve always considered their stuff expensive but good quality – I have a Bucas cooler which must be twenty years old and is the best cooler I’ve ever seen.  I’ve also had several Bucas stable rugs over the years and loads of my liveries used Bucas turnout rugs.  I love the design of the Zebra fly rug but I am SOOOOOO disappointed that the fit is so poor.

My fingers are very much crossed that it will sit better now, but I have a gut feeling it won’t.  I’ll keep you posted.

14 thoughts on “Aero Loses his Stripes

  1. Who doesn’t want a zebra at their barn? Hope the new adjustments work, if not there is nothing wrong with grey. Agreed, a person shouldn’t have to fix newly bought quality items. Have to give the company credit for trying to make things right.


  2. Sorry to hear the Bucas zebra rug has disappointed (despite Aero’s local fame!). Though I got Pom’s Derby House zebra rug by default in last summer’s sale (and another, in a graffiti print) because the plain version had run out, I’ve had none of the fitting problems with the rugs – though I did buy the largest size for a just-15.2 ish horse!
    I’ve just looked on their website and tho’ I can’t see a zebra print, they have fly rugs in the Sale for £20 – £30 (p&p to France was about £6) if you need a cheap-ish back up! On Pom’s, the two breast clips were adjustable, all the clips are metallic, I shortened the elastics on the tummy flap, but that stays in the right place and there’s a stretchy lycra gusset between the neck and back section which works well. They’ve washed and worn incredibly well and I just attached a webbing tab to the top of the neck and his normal fly mask to tie them together with a lace. Like you, we’ve not had the hottest summer so far, but the flies have still been the usual bugbear and Pom’s coat, mane and tail are about the best they’ve ever been.
    Not on commission!! – just saying, IMO the quality is brilliant, esp. for the sale price …. It’s taken me ages to adjust to having to cover him (he’s in at night so at least it’s only on in daylight) but he’s far happier, and so we’re both chuffed 🙂 Hope whatever you do, Aero stays comfortable and fly-repellent!


    • Thanks for all that! I will check out Derby House but I’m not under pressure for a spare at the moment. I have the greyish Weatherbeeta and I have an older rug with a bad tear in the neck if I’m desperate.
      I’m surprised you haven’t noticed fewer flies too. I see a marked difference between last year and this year (apart from with the Mouches Plates), but it’s warming up again now and there were more around yesterday 😦


    • Yeah, I’d forgotten this but a livery years ago bought the smart-tex rain rug and it was rubbish, it wasn’t waterproof at all. She had the rug exchanged but the second one leaked as well so she was given a full refund. She was disgusted, tho, and said she wouldn’t buy Bucas again.
      Like I said in the post, I had some stuff I really liked from them. I seem to recall very good travelling boots too… but I will be a Disappointed Bunny if the fly rug keeps slipping.


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