Are Ear Bonnets Helpful, Or Just A Fashion Statement?
I admit it, my horses where ear bonnets. Yep, I am one of those riders who has several different bonnets for my horses. And honestly, the first time I got an ear bonnet it was because I thought it looked cool. And then something miraculous happened, my horse was better during his schooling session. I thought it was a fluke. Frisby was having a good day, or he was calm, and ready to work. I didn’t really think too much about it, until our next ride.
I grabbed the ear bonnet again, and again, he was great. He was focused on his job and he went really well. And the next time I rode him I went without the bonnet. It was just a quick ride, and I wasn’t really thinking about the bonnet. And that ride was not near as good as the prior two where I had used the bonnet. He acted distracted, he pulled on the bit more, and he wasn’t as settled as he was while wearing the bonnet.
It took me a few rides to understand that he actually enjoyed wearing the bonnet. It could have been because the sounds were more muffled, or because the bugs couldn’t get into his ears. Or maybe because there was some added padding protecting his head from the bridle itself.
Whatever the reason, I was sold on using ear bonnets for every ride.
If you do a quick search for ear bonnets, or fly veils online you will get a lot of results. You can find the simple crotched style on eBay for around $6.00 with free shipping. And you can find the really high dollar ones, like the ones from Equifit for around $184.00. I don’t know about your budget, but mine doesn’t support spending $184.00 on a horse hat. Especially when I can find one for around $10.00.
Here are some of the bonnets I have in my collection.
eBay Special Ear Bonnet $10.00
I bought this one about 5 years ago. This was when ear bonnets were just becoming more main stream. The ears are a little bit long, but it fits Frisby’s ears fairly well. I liked the color, but didn’t have a saddle pad to match it (gasp!) So I have only used it a couple of times. It also had a crotched cord that was intended to be tied under the throatlatch. I didn’t like that, so I cut it off. You can find these on eBay right now for $7.50 and free shipping. Amazon also has them starting at around $4.99 for the simple ones, like I found. And they have much nicer ones for around $10.00
I wanted a black bonnet with some bling. And I found this one at Riding Warehouse for around $12.00. At the time I bought it, I had been using my navy one for quite a while. And I wanted one that had a little bling to it, and also matched my black Ogilvy saddle pad. Sadly for my Ogilvy, I had found the LeMieux brand and stopped using all saddle pads that didn’t have the same shape as LeMieux. Unless you consider my fleece show pad, but that’s a different story.
But back to the Equine Couture bonnet. This has the crotchet style piece that lays across your horses’ forehead and the fabric ears. This is a more substantial ear bonnet than my little eBay cheapie. It also has some nice rhinestones that line the front of the bonnet. It is heavier and rivals the LeMieux bonnet for substance. The crotchet pattern is closer together which I think is why it is heavier. The ears are made from a spandex material so there is just the right amount of stretch to fit both of my horses’ ears. It stays in place nice and I find the ears fit both of my horses well. And their sizing is more like I would figure, the full size fits both of my horses. Meaning it fits Frisby’s warmblood head well and is a little big on Ethan’s smaller Thoroughbred head.
I do like the style of the bonnet, along with the flashy rhinestones and the silver accent. Which means I am going to have to find a black saddle pad to complete this set. Maybe I will find a black saddle pad, and add some of the silver cord and a row of rhinestones on my own to truly make it match, and have an awesome set for the jumper arena! #goals, #dontbeaquitter
This is by far my most favorite bonnet. That’s probably because this was the one Frisby was wearing when I had my “a-ha” moment with ear bonnets. It has a crocheted body and cotton material on the ears. It is light weight but works very well. And this bonnet, like the LeMieux does not have the neck strap. It goes on easily, and fits both of my horses.
I found this one on Amazon, and while I could not remember the name brand, I found it while doing research for this blog post! This is the Intrepid International Fly Veil, as it is called on Amazon. I was so excited because if I want to order the same bonnet, now I can, in different colors even. And because this is my go to bonnet, I had to get a matching LeMieux saddle pad in navy blue to match it.
The quality of this bonnet is just so perfect. It has a thick silver cord that outlines the bonnet and that has been secured with navy fabric so it doesn’t come unraveled. The ears are a lightweight cotton fabric, but there is no stretch. It performs very well, and Frisby just looks so cute in it!
I love these saddle pads. Not just this new style because it fits my horse’s back better, but the LeMieux pad is just so nice.
Oh yeah, when I saw this ear bonnet, I had to have it. And when I bought it, I paid more than $33.00 for it. I had bought the plum LeMieux pad. But their sizing is off, in my opinion. Maybe I’m just used to thinking large should fit Frisby’s head, but the large LeMieux bonnet is tight on Frisby. It fits Ethan perfectly, but not Frisby. And there isn’t much stretch to this bonnet either.
The ears are made from the same type of suede like material that their Pro Sport pads are made of. And the quality is definitely there. The crotchet pattern is somewhat different from all of my other bonnets. And there is a nice little patch with the LeMieux trademark right on the front of the bonnet.
It is very pretty, and I do like the matchy-matchy aspect of my LeMieux bonnet, boots, and saddle pad. I love the color choices they offer too. And thankfully, Riding Warehouse has many colors to choose from, in case I decide I have to try out a new color combination.
This is one of my latest additions to my collection. I wanted to try a new color, but I also wanted to try a new style of bonnet, to see if there is any different from the crotchet style. This bonnet is made from a really nice mesh material that is definitely lightweight for my horses.
There is a band of glitter too. I still like to have a little bling! And this is a new color combination for me, and being far from what I already have saddle pad wise, I did also have to order a saddle pad that was somewhat similar to this bonnet.
I found a Professional’s Choice saddle pad in white and charcoal from Riding Warehouse that is the same cut of the LeMieux pads. And while it is not totally matchy-matchy, I do like how it looks on Ethan.
I really like the ears of this bonnet too, they are stretchy. So the bonnet fits Ethan and Frisby, allowing enough room for the differences in their ears, without looking funny.
And I really like the weight of this bonnet. It is so lightweight, and works great on the hot days of summer, keeping my horse’s head cool and sweat free while we are working in the arena.
I found this one at Riding Warehouse, and they have a few different color combinations to choose from, in case you don’t want to have to buy yet another saddle pad.
I really wanted this ear bonnet in the lighter gray and china blue color. Sadly, Smart Pak didn’t have it in stock, and no estimate of when it would be in stock. So I decided to go the traditional route, and buy it in the Rambo brand black, red and yellow color. I really like this bonnet, and I think my horses do too.
Like the Kavalkade bonnet, this Rambo one is made from a mesh material. And it is super soft. It also has the lycra ears, meaning it’s soft for my horses, and stretchy too.
It comes in pony and horse size. And like most of my bonnets, it fits Ethan perfectly, and is a little snug on Frisby. But there is stretch to the material, so both horses’ can wear it comfortably. The lycra ears are really soft too, and go on my horse’s ears easily.
You can find it on Amazon, but for the best price go to Jeffers Equine. Honestly, because of the Rambo brand I though it would be really expensive. But it was affordable. Ad one of the most reasonably priced ear bonnets I have found, especially when you consider the quality of the bonnet itself. This is another one that is lightweight and perfect for those hot summer rides when you want your horse to be comfortable, yet free from annoying pests in his (or her) ears.
And since it is black, like my Equine Couture bonnet, I am going to have to invest in a black saddle pad. Maybe after I see how the Professional’s choice pad works out, maybe I will buy one in black. Or maybe I will stick with the LeMieux saddle pads. I’m not sure, but that is definitely a topic for another day.
Ear Bonnets ARE Good!
While to many horse people, ear bonnets may just seem like the latest and greatest trend that those like me who aspire to enter jumping shows, they are so much more than a trend. If your horse tosses his head while you are riding, maybe they could benefit from using an ear bonnet. Hopefully my examples have shown you there are many affordable options.
Having your horse wear a bonnet helps to keep him focused, keeps the bugs out of his ears, and muffles noises. They can also help if you are riding in the rain and your horse doesn’t like having water drip down into his ears.
Yes, ear bonnets really are helpful. And while at one time they may have been trendy, nowadays they are a great addition to your horse’s wardrobe. And anything that is going to help me with my own riding, and horse relationship, I am all for it.
Making Your On Ear Bonnets
And while you could make your own, with bonnets becoming so popular, and affordable, save your time for riding instead of spending a few hours making your own. I have had people ask me to make a video showing you how to make your own ear bonnet. But honestly, if you made your own, it would cost more money just to buy the supplies, and then factor in your time and it would probably cost you at least $40-$50 to make one. I would rather make the most of my time, and just buy one for $10.00. And then take the time that I would have been constructing an ear bonnet that probably wouldn’t look as good, and go ride my horse.
But one thing I did make to accommodate my quickly growing collection of ear bonnets was an ear bonnet hanger. No, it isn’t really necessary. But I love making things, so I made one.
Having your horse wear an ear bonnet really is a personal choice, but after trying one out, I’m sold on them and really happy with how my horses are while wearing them. So yeah, my horses wear ear bonnets. And yeah, I like following the trends, especially when I see an improvement in the happiness of my horses.
And as always, this post does contain affiliate links. This means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. This helps me to continue doing what I do on my blog, and my YouTube channel. And maybe buy a new ear bonnet for my horses.