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Ear bonnets in dressage?

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  • #21
    Thanks Rayers.

    And I put the clear swat fly repellant in my horses' ears. Sticks for days and works 24/7.
    -Ann

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    • #22
      I often go to the steward and ask If I may use one. My poor gelding welts up in his ears. He turns into a mad head tosser. I don't even school without one. When they became "In" I jumped for joy.

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      • #23
        well, my thin skinned tbs would have clearly not survived. Although I do see horses surviving the gnats and deer flies outside, a couple of mine have clearly indicated that they would run themselves to death when the bugs are bad.

        trying to get them in when they are hot, sweaty and in a swarm of biting insects (literally a cloud, flying into my own eyes, pelting me) is a death wish for all involved because they JUST CAN'T HOLD STILL.

        If you haven't lived w/ insects that bad, then lucky for you and your horses... I prefer to keep my alive and healthy as possible under these conditions.

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        • #24
          Originally posted by ahbaumgardner View Post
          And I put the clear swat fly repellant in my horses' ears. Sticks for days and works 24/7.
          At least you use the clear stuff.

          I once took a horse to a hunter show whose owner had used the pink stuff in his ears. Didn't hurt our placings, but geez he looked sorta silly.
          ~ Horse Box Lovers Clique ~

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          • #25
            Originally posted by RAyers View Post
            Maybe, just maybe, all of this excessive grooming, primping, preening done in the name of "looking correct/nice" for competition removes a horse's natural defense to flies, gnats, etc. You might not actually need an ear bonnet.
            Clearly the gnats in my area were not explained this rule that with no show grooming the bugs should not be interested. None of my heese have had their ears clipped in many ears but for some reason them getting filled with gnat bites makes them very miserable.

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            • #26
              Originally posted by trubandloki View Post
              Clearly the gnats in my area were not explained this rule that with no show grooming the bugs should not be interested. None of my heese have had their ears clipped in many ears but for some reason them getting filled with gnat bites makes them very miserable.
              Yes and wild horses also aren't tacked up and asked to dance around an arena and ignore bugs/do not dare shake your head while they're at it! Necessities tend to change with different situations.

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              • #27
                ^^Don't get me wrong though - I am NOT a fan of unnecessary tack/equipment either. It's just that when we domesticate an animal, sometimes needs change for sure. I like my ear bonnet and my mare really appreciates it on a hot summer day when the bugs are biting - but she has an allergy to insects so when they bite her, she is REALLY miserable. Still, I have never used one in dressage, didn't know it was allowed. Sounds like it's still a gray area...

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                • #28
                  This reminds me of what happened when I turned my horses out in a field with a pond. On the first hot, buggy day, they came in covered in mud. They had a grand time rolling and splashing and wearing their natural bug screen. I fenced off the pond and they now wear fly spray, ear goop, and sheets, as needed.
                  -Ann

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                  • #29
                    ^^Very good point! Their natural defense in the wild to keep the flies at bay would be dirt/mud, and when we take it away then we have to substitute with something else, or let them be miserable which of course most of us don't want to do

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                    • #30
                      I hate the fly bonnet trend. People evented for decades without them, I'm not sure why they've become necessary all of a sudden. I understand that some horses are extremely sensitive to bugs, but its not as if the playing field is not level. If noone wears ear bonnets, nobody has any kind of advantage.

                      In my opinion, saying "Well, my horse is super sensitive to bugs so I should get to wear an ear bonnet so he's normal like the other horses" is like saying "Well my horse doesn't go round as well as the other horses so I should get to wear side reins so he looks like the other horses." Its called a good fly spray and training.

                      Besides, there are only a select few people across all the levels that only use them for their intended purpose: to keep bugs away. The majority are doing it as a fashion trend or a place to put sponsor logos.

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                      • #31
                        I had Sonny clipped eons ago and the clipper totally clipped his ears out so they were bald inside. I had only previously clipped them flush with the front of his ears to get rid of the tufts.

                        He was fine at the walk and trot but at the canter he would shake his head. I think the wind would blow in his ear canal when he would canter and just drive him nuts. I used an ear bonnet until the ear hair grew out a bit and it didn't bother him any more. However I wasn't showing.

                        For Finnegan I use them for trail riding only. There are a few areas where I go that has some killer deer flies that love his ears. I prefer to ride with a crop rather than a fly whisk. Both is too much for a fun trail ride. I need the crop at certain parks. Finnegan will roll in water if the footing isn't too rocky. Crop is to keep him standing and not ruin my saddle. Even then riding with the fly whisk hanging between his ears to keep the deer flys off is so not sexy. Big brown forlock on a white horse just looks - well, odd.
                        Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)

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                        • #32
                          Originally posted by RAyers View Post
                          It is amazing that horses ever survived/evolved without people!! How do horses survive in the wild? Are there self-service ear net depots?

                          Maybe, just maybe, all of this excessive grooming, primping, preening done in the name of "looking correct/nice" for competition removes a horse's natural defense to flies, gnats, etc. You might not actually need an ear bonnet.
                          I don't clip ears, and yet the bugs still drive my horses crazy. As for 'how wild horses survive"... Really? I hate this argument. They a) are naturally hairier, less sensitive, and more rugged than your average domestic horse. b) they shake their heads a LOT and stand in groups with their heads by each others tails. Not ok for a horse being ridden. c) they are probably miserable from the bugs. On pack trips in places like Alaska/Colorado/etc., all the hairy, 'naturally protected' horses were bloody, chewed up messes from all the bugs. I can't imagine wild horses do much better.
                          .

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                          • #33
                            Originally posted by Big_Grey_hunter View Post
                            I don't clip ears, and yet the bugs still drive my horses crazy. As for 'how wild horses survive"... Really? I hate this argument. They a) are naturally hairier, less sensitive, and more rugged than your average domestic horse. b) they shake their heads a LOT and stand in groups with their heads by each others tails. Not ok for a horse being ridden. c) they are probably miserable from the bugs. On pack trips in places like Alaska/Colorado/etc., all the hairy, 'naturally protected' horses were bloody, chewed up messes from all the bugs. I can't imagine wild horses do much better.
                            In that case I will counter with this, how did riding horses survive 20 years ago? How did horse sports and competitions ever get done?

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                            • #34
                              I can't stand ear bonnets, especially in dressage, where they really spoil the look of the horse. But then with top hats still allowed, dressage is the venue par excellence for stupid head gear.

                              There was a chestnut horse at Rolex this year with a white ear bonnet. The test was lacking in oomph and accuracy, and the chapeau du cheval only detracted from an already not-so-good presentation. I thought it looked like a naughty nurse hat. My non-horsey sister asked if it was appropriate for horses to wear white hats before Memorial Day.

                              I guess some horses -- or is it riders -- need these accessories? I've had horses all over N. America, of many breeds, types and temperaments, and none have worn ear bonnets.

                              But of course, if someone would give me, say, a Land Rover or a new Dodge truck or a fleet of custom saddles, on the condition that all of my horses wear orange glitter ear bonnets emblazoned with their logo in contrasting LEDs, then I'd have no problem strapping these things on my horses' heads.

                              Last edited by JER; May. 13, 2013, 09:08 PM. Reason: I don't know my holidays

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                              • #35
                                Are they more in use because more people are clipping the insides of their horse's ears? I clip mine flush, which keeps the bugs out of her ears, at least. Doesn't mean she doesn't appreciate a fly bonnet, though.
                                You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                                1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

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                                • Original Poster

                                  #36
                                  Ironically, I was asking to simply use it for the bugs. I am taking my horses to Kelly's Ford this weekend and I am sure there will be those awful gnatty things buzzing about. My gelding is a totally wimp when it comes to bugs and his eyes well up and get all teary. My TB is more stoic, but her satellite dishes (for ears) always getting little scabs from the bugs. I hate the look of them in dressage. They do look odd and out of place, but if it keeps horsey happy, I would be more than willing to break tradition.

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                                  • #37
                                    ROFL -- aww, Reed, I'm so disappointed, you did NOT just use the wild horsey argument?! My domestic orange beasts would die in less than a day, I am pretty certain, of any number of causes.

                                    I'm not sure why the vehement hatred of ear bonnets -- I guess I don't care and don't see what the difference is between using fly spray (also artificial) and a little crochet thingy other than offending some peoples' aesthetic sense of what competitive horse prancing should look like, hee hee!

                                    I actually use a full fly mask a lot at home when riding as my horse HATEZZZ the biting no-see-ums, horrid deer flies, or anything that touches him without permission. Someone didn't tell NC insects that they are supposed to care about fly spray, it only lasts about, ummmmm, 5 seconds no matter what kind you use.

                                    I don't usually use the bonnets with this guy anymore, he shakes his head so hard they flop right off and I don't usually need anything in competition as the arena is an open dirt area and we stay moving, so in our area, we're usually fine in that situation. I don't EVER clip out ears, I think that would be tantamount to horse torture in the Carolinas, ha.
                                    Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                                    Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                                    We Are Flying Solo

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                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by Big_Grey_hunter View Post
                                      I don't clip ears, and yet the bugs still drive my horses crazy. As for 'how wild horses survive"... Really? I hate this argument. They a) are naturally hairier, less sensitive, and more rugged than your average domestic horse. b) they shake their heads a LOT and stand in groups with their heads by each others tails. Not ok for a horse being ridden. c) they are probably miserable from the bugs. On pack trips in places like Alaska/Colorado/etc., all the hairy, 'naturally protected' horses were bloody, chewed up messes from all the bugs. I can't imagine wild horses do much better.
                                      You and me both. Right there with the "they don't wear shoes in the wild" argument.

                                      Also, the "Back in the day" argument is annoying as hell, too. There are A LOT of things, good and bad, that have changed or have fallen into and out of fashion in the last 5, 10, 15, 20, 30 years of this sport and in horse sport, in general. WHAT, exactly, is your point? Things change. Suck it up.

                                      My sensitive little buttercup can not DEAL with bugs around his ears (nor wind, nor rain). I've yet to be anywhere so bad and buggy that I've felt I needed one for dressage, but you can bet your ass that if we're riding at Rolex and the gnats are driving him bonkers, he'll be sporting a tasteful, conservative (probably black) hat. Also, because this sensitive little buttercup is allergic to most fly sprays that actually work AND is adamant about me not touching his ears in any productive manner, hats are about the only defense I have.

                                      Honestly, I just don't get why this is such a BFD to so many people. I don't mind the way they look, especially if they are a conservative color that compliments or matches the horse (so, basically black or brown or maybe white). So what if it's just another spot to put a sponsor (we NEED sponsors!). So what if it dulls a little noise (which, honestly, I really don't think they dull THAT much noise....it's like pulling a sheet over your head. You can certainly hear JUST fine). I just don't see why it is so offensive to some people
                                      Amanda

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                                      • #39
                                        I bit checked at a recognized event this weekend and the president of the ground jury made a point of making sure I knew ear bonnets were NOT allowed for dressage at national events, only FEI. So if you believe your horse can only perform a decent dressage test with his ears protected, perhaps it's best to pass on competing in USEA-recognized events.
                                        as a side note, we hosted an unrecognized schooling trial the next day and one competitor put ear bonnets on all his horses for dressage but none of them for jumping. ((Huh???))
                                        I evented just for the Halibut.

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                                        • #40
                                          I have always thought no matter what the style they make horses look Muleish
                                          I only used them for trail rides, My horse could shake them off.

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