Crocheted ear bonnets (also called “ear hoods”) first became
popular in the world of show jumping. Grand prix riders, competing on grass
fields during spring and summer, realized their horses were often distracted by
flies and gnats. It was disconcerting to gallop toward a 6-foot jump on a horse
that was shaking its head due to pesky insects. The ear bonnet became a welcome
addition to the show jumper’s tack box. It didn’t take long before riders from
other disciplines discovered the potential benefits of the ear bonnet. Today
they’re a colorful accessory during gnat and fly season, even gaining in
popularity among recreational trail riders.
- Tightly woven fabric encases
the horse’s ears and to keep them free from gnats. Fringe and tassels along the crocheted edges
swish flies away from the horse’s eyes.
- When choosing an ear bonnet, make sure
the ear hoods are a roomy fit for your horse. Too snug and they’re likely to
annoy your horse more than any gnats or flies.
- Try the ear bonnet at home before
heading out for a ride. Let your horse wear it beneath his halter for a while
before trying it with a bridle.
- Because ear bonnets are available in a
wide range of styles, designs and embellishments, make sure you understand how
to properly attach the one you selected so it doesn’t come loose during a ride.
- Crocheted ear bonnets are allowed in
jumping competitions and under certain circumstances in dressage. They are not
permitted, however, in classes for hunters and hunt seat equitation, including
medal classes. When in doubt, check the rules before adding an ear bonnet.
I have seen some masks with big eyes. My friend’s Dad, thought the horses with fly mask on were blind.
I’ve always thought horses with ear bonnets on looked very elegant and professional, but I’ve never known their actual use! Thanks HC!
I will ask my friend’s grandmother to croch me a pair so I can use them in fly season.
I have some fly mask, and have been considering the ones with ears. I will try to make a fly mask with ears on.
We use a bonnet to make sure we don’t lose the earplugs in jumping, works well!
Can Western horses wear ear bonnet’s in shows?