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Online Tack and Horse Equipment Guide: Crocheted Ear Bonnets


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Crocheted ear bonnet 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.

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Reader Comments

Cyd    Vista, CA

6/27/2014 1:37:52 PM

We use a bonnet to make sure we don't lose the earplugs in jumping, works well!

Gee and Haw    Northern Part, CA

7/31/2012 5:29:54 AM

I have some fly mask, and have been considering the ones with ears. I will try to make a fly mask with ears on.

Gee and Haw    Northern Part, CA

1/5/2012 6:22:19 PM

I will ask my friend's grandmother to croch me a pair so I can use them in fly season.

Abigail    Sharpsburg, GA

11/18/2011 2:52:34 PM

I've always thought horses with ear bonnets on looked very elegant and professional, but I've never known their actual use! Thanks HC!

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