Many horses can now be seen donning an ear bonnet (or fly veil) when they are ridden. More than just a current fashion trend, using an ear bonnet does have benefits. They can help your horse to be less distracted in unusual surroundings, and they also keep those annoying little flies and midges from getting in your horse’s ears and annoying him.
Whether you use an ear bonnet to keep the pesky flies at bay while you’re hacking or to dull sounds in a busy competition warm-up arena, selecting the right one from the huge selection available for your horse’s individual needs is key.
A close-knit crochet fabric is used for the majority of ear bonnets with the ear part being made from a different material.
Some manufacturers use a stretch material, while breathable fabrics and using a combination of fabrics to offer soundproof properties are all popular features that you’ll find when you’re shopping for an ear bonnet.
Not forgetting the whole matchy-matchy fashion of colour-coordinating your ear bonnet with other items, such as saddlecloth, bandages, boots and your own clothing, too.
Focus on fit
As with any piece of your horse’s equipment, for it to do the job you’ve bought it for, it needs to fit. For your horse’s comfort, you do need to pay attention to the shape and fit of the ear bonnet.
You’ll need to consider whether your horse has particularly large or small ears and how the ear bonnet fits under the headpiece of your bridle.
Most don’t have any attachments to hold the ear bonnet in place and rely on your bridle to hold it securely in position, so check that it comes far enough under the headpiece, with excess material extending out from the back
Three fitting checks
Research that looked at pressure distribution beneath an ear bonnet and its effect on equine locomotion was carried out by Dr Russell MacKechnie-Guire from Centaur Biomechanics and concluded that there are three things to consider when fitting an ear bonnet:
- Ensure there is no braiding on the ear bonnet that runs underneath the headpiece of your bridle.
- Make sure the bonnet fits your horse’s ears. A horse’s ear can move 180 degrees using 10 different muscles, so if the bonnet is too small it can restrict ear movement.
- Check if the bonnet has raised the bridle headpiece, which can alter the height of the bit in your horse’s mouth.
Shop for ear bonnets
Aztec Diamond Equestrian Fly Veil
Colours: Maroon, black, navy, grey, taupe, burgundy
Sizes: Medium (cob) or large (full)
Made from stretch sports fabric for a great fit and comfort for your horse. This lightweight fly veil wicks away sweat to help keep your horse cool, and a mesh panel improves breathability.
Horse Soundless Ear Net Hood
Sizes: Medium or large
To promote great concentration, this hood features triple-layer ear panels that help muffle sound.
Other features include a crochet-braided headpiece and Equetech-branded raised braiding down the centre.
Felix Bühler Fly Veil Coin
Colours: Dark turquoise, fog, light denim, lipstick, purple, sapphire
Sizes: Pony, cob, full
A classic crochet fly veil featuring double decorative piping with colour-coordinated metallic thread.
The ears are made from a stretchy material for a more comfortable and flexible fit. Two elastic hook-and-loop fasteners attach the fly veil to the headpiece.
HY Equestrian Exquisite Stirrup and Bit Collection Fly Veil
Sizes: Pony, cob, full
This fly veil is finished with gorgeous rose-gold braiding and delicate bit-and-stirrup detailing to the front, ideal for everyday or smart enough for best.
This close-knit crochet fly veil features breathable ears, allowing your horse to stay cool and protected.
Colours: Black, grey, brown, navy
Sizes: One size
A handcrafted crochet fly fringe, made from washable and breathable cotton featuring the Veredus logo on the front.
The ears are made from a stretch fabric for comfort and flexibility.
Protechmasta Fly Veil with Soundproof Ears
Sizes: Pony, cob, full, x-full
This fly veil combines a ceramic-infused lining — scientifically proven to assist blood circulation gently and safely, helping to ease muscle tension and aid relaxation — with beautiful satin-and-glitter rope piping.
The lightweight and breathable design, with airmesh to the body of the fly veil and soundproof ears, prevent noise distractions and aid concentration. A deeper section behind the ears gives a secure fit.