May Editor's Choice
Fly masks have become standard equipment in my horsekeeping routine. During the summer months, the masks not only help protect my horses’ faces from insects, but also help shield them from the sun’s UV rays. And when trailering, I use a mask on every horse to help guard against flying dust and debris irritating their eyes.
There are a number of quality fly masks on the market, but I’ve had good luck with the Farnam Supermask line. They’re durable and made with long-lasting mesh and quality Velcro closures that provide a snug but comfortable fit. Farnam’s current Supermask line features double-latch Velcro closures for greater security.
The Supermask II is available with or without sewn-in mesh ears. Sizes include: horse, x-large, Arabian, yearling/POA and pony/foal. Farnam also makes the Supermask Miniature Horse Fly Mask.
Retail prices vary on the Supermask II, but generally run around $12. Learn more at farnam.com.
Saddle Bags with True Grit
I have no grand adventures down along the Rio Grande penciled in on my editorial calendar, but these Triple K Brand Cavalry Saddlebags from High Country make me wish I did. Granted, there are more-modern designs fashioned from lightweight, high-tech materials that offer more pockets, easier access and insulating capabilities, but I just can’t get excited about them.
For me, the traditional cavalry styling of these rugged catch-alls is part of their allure. Crafted from rich latigo leather and reinforced along all major stress points, these saddlebags are designed to weather the miles with true grit and grace. The deep, roomy compartments (11-by-11-by-4 inches) can easily pack gear for the weekend, or a full week if you plan carefully. Ample cover flaps on each bag protect necessities, while the three adjustable buckle straps with brass fittings keep them tucked securely inside. Snap-in canvas liners are also available.
These saddlebags tie on flush behind the cantle, and D-rings are sewn on the underside of each pocket to provide a virtually unflappable ride.
For more information, or to order a set for $124.95 plus shipping and handling, contact High Country Supply at (406) 254-2931, or visit highcountrysupply.com.
On a trip to Alberta, Canada, the airline lost the bag in which my boots were packed. My trip involved moving cattle to summer range as well as riding in the Kananaskis backcountry, so I had to buy some boots until I could be reunited with my luggage.
A friend referred me to a Western shop with a vast selection of cowboy boots. I wanted a pair of leather-sole boots that were functional, well-made, affordable and comfortable, with little break-in involved. I was immediately drawn to a pair of women’s Boulet round-toe, roper-heel boots with 14-inch, black deer-tan uppers, peanut-brittle colored bottoms (Boulet lists the latter color as Habana Taurus) and single-stitched leather soles.
I was not familiar with the Canadian boot company, but I was immediately sold on the fit, color, traditional look and construction of the boots. I wore the boots my entire trip without discomfort, and, more than two years later, they continue to be my favorite pair of boots. I haven’t even had to resole them.
Boulet Boots is celebrating 75 years of business this year. Georges-Alidor Boulet established the company as a shoe factory in 1933. During World War II, the manufacturer was commissioned by the Canadian Army to produce military footwear, and it was the first company to produce cowboy boots in Canada.
Today, Boulet is still family-owned and remains the largest boot manufacturer in Canada. However, working cowboys and cowgirls outside the Canadian border are discovering the durability and quality craftsmanship of Boulet Boots.
According to Louis Boulet, company vice president, what makes his company’s production process different is that, “We respect and use traditional boot-making methods, don’t skip any steps and don’t compromise quality to save money.”
For three generations, Boulet has manufactured its boots using Goodyear Welt construction, which means the sole is stitched to the welt, rather than glued, and the welt is stitched to the vamp and the insole. A cork pad that molds to your foot is inserted between the leather insole and the leather outsole to maximize insulation and comfort.
Boulet offers a full line of men’s and women’s work, Western and dress boots. With the Western line’s price tags starting at around $180, you can afford to have a couple of pairs in your closet. For more information, call (888) 255-4450 or visit bouletboots.com.