Raise your hand if you go through fly masks almost as often as you do thrown shoes? Sigh… I can relate.

My big, goofy thoroughbred gelding is natural predator to all things “accessory” for him. His blankets and sheets, bell boots, and yes, fly masks, get torn to shreds on a regular basis. So needless to say, I’m always in the market for super durable, heavy-duty options.

I’ve been a huge fan of Kensington Protective Products for years — not only do I love their matching and unique plaid color schemes, but Kensington knows how to make stuff that lasts. That goes a long way in my book.

So when I heard about a new fly mask coming out, the UViator, I was curious. These lightweight fly masks have 90 percent UV protection, which means the fabric that makes up the mask is designed to block up 90 percent of harmful UV rays, protecting my horse’s sensitive skin and his eyes.

I should mention that we live in Florida, where the sun is out year-round. I ride in full-sleeve sun shirts and with an EquiVisor myself, so why shouldn’t I be protecting my horse from the sun, too? The UV protection was enough for me to want to give this fly mask a try.

When it arrived in the mail, I was surprised to see how lightweight it really was. I love my usual Kensington fly masks, but my horse still manages to sweat under them during the hottest of days. With 78 percent air permeability, the UViator mask keeps him cool and airy underneath even on the hottest of summer days.

The straps under his chin are extra-layered and strong. So far, my thoroughbred has not been able to rip it off in the pasture, which really speaks volumes to how durable this mask is. I sometimes wonder if it’s because of the UV protection and the lightweight material, that he just don’t mind wearing this one, so there’s no need to spend so much time trying to rip it off and destroy it!

But I haven’t even gotten to my favorite part of this fly mask yet. The UViator is durable, lightweight and offers UV protection, but it also doubles as a halter. It has a unique double-locking leap rope fastener, which is an easy-to-use loop at the base of the mask where you can clip on a lead rope. It’s so handy and so easy to use. And so far, my horse seems to love it.