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ear bunnies, ear pom poms, whatever....

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  • ear bunnies, ear pom poms, whatever....

    I can't believe there isn't a thread or two on this, but I can't find any.
    I would like some feedback from anyone who has used ear bunnies for noise sensitive horses.
    I am rehabbing a rescued TB mare, she is coming along, but she is VERY spooky. I think 99% of the worst spooks are sudden noises so I am considering trying ear bunnies.
    My concern is that at this point she doesn't understand much, is skittish about leg aids and is responding more to voice commands than to the aids.
    How much noise do the ear bunnies filter out....voice? Does anybody know or want to guess?
    Any other suggestions also welcome.
    Nina's Story
    Epona Comm on FB

  • #2
    I would always show my horse with them. He was completely different with them in, a lot calmer. They can still hear some noises though. Its worth a try, they're cheap. Or you can just buy a box of regular rolled cotton (from cvs) and pull off pieces.


    • #3
      I cannot ride my gelding without puffies!! and my mare will spook at something without them, too. So, they get used 100% of the time. They're like rittalin for my two beasties. They can still hear me, I know because when I speak to them, they'll flick their ears back and listen. They just can't hear any excuse to go tearing off bucking
      I love the Bevel puffies because they're bigger and fit into my horses' donkey ears.


      • #4
        You will not rise to the occasion, you will default to your level of training.


        • #5
          I used them at a show, once - in an attempt to solve a new problem that developed...the screaming-for-my-barnmate problem. I swear, when I put them in he screamed twice as loud - the way a person who is hard of hearing might raise their voice when they talk to you, instinctively assuming you can't hear them well either. I had to take the puffs out because he was killing my eardrums!!

          My BO does show in them at the more chaotic shows and swears by them.
          "To understand the soul of a horse is the closest human beings can come to knowing perfection."


          • #6
            My friend swears by them for her mare. I've yet to use them...


            • #7
              As long as your horse isn't super headshy or ear-sensitive, they could be a major helper. I know several horses who were either very spooky or just very distracted (especially at shows! i mean, how can i focus on all these jumps my rider wants me to go over when there's a bright red umbrella flapping in the wind way over there? or that funny noise?) The ear puffies don't exactly block out all noise, I'd imagine, but I would think they are similar to light ear plugs that kind of turn the background noise into a quiet dull drone, all one quiet noise, rather than all sorts of little noises happening at the same time, which makes it so there's no real noise that stands out to them, hence no distraction. Obviously, this can greatly help with a spooky horse.

              I wanted to use these with my pony, as he can occasionally get distracted, and he is often freaked out by dogs barking (no idea why this only happens at shows, because there are plenty of dogs at the barn--granted, they rarely bark..) but he HATES it when you try to put something in his ears, so that did not work out well, but the problem isn't bad enough that I feel they're necessary, I just think they'd prevent him from the occasional stop-stand still-wait-to-spook (and then spook) type of spook He isnt' really a fan of anything on his ears, can't stand bonnets, having his ears clipped, etc.

              Blitz <3 & Leap of Faith <3


              • #8
                I used ear pom poms when I rode this very spooky mare at shows. She focused more when the world was just a touch quieter.


                • #9
                  I have been wanting to try pom-poms with one of my horses - he is easily distracted by movements and noises, but until blinkers become traditional hunter wear, I'll settle for minimizing one of the distractions. So last summer I set to trying out the ear plugs - he allows his ears to be handled, you can clip them without a problem, etc. As soon as the plugs go in he will not stop bobbing, throwing, and rubbing his head. I thought I'd solve it by sending him outside with them on and fly mask with ears to hold them in. He walked back in with his fly mask around his neck and the plugs crunched up in the very tips of the ears. Any ideas on how to get him accustomed to these or should I just give in?


                  • #10
                    daughter's jumper mare uses these (the bigger foam ones instead of the pompoms, because her ears are proportional to the rest of her generously-sized self) and she knows it means time to go to work... she's very voice-responsive, so she's obviously still hearing noises from her rider... but she isn't listening to everything ELSE. i use foam earplugs when i'm on an airplane or at a concert and while I can still hear the person next to me, it cuts down on the ambient noise like kids screaming.


                    • #11
                      My pony is by far the least spooky horse I've ever ridden. Really, not even snakes on trail rides scare him. He's always brave. Except in the indoor. In there he is completely loony, any little noise sets him off. He's always antsy, and when he spooks once, he does it the rest of the entire ride because he gets so nervous. In the indoor, he's like a completely different pony. And riding in there while it's raining? That's just a big waste of time. Then someone suggested I try pom poms. Now I can jump in the indoor while it's pouring outside and he doesn't even bat an eye! It's incredible what a difference they make! I use them at every show now, it really seems to help keep him focused simply on what we're doing, not the screaming kids playing in the bathrooms.


                      • #12
                        I sing "the sounds....of silence" song when I put them in my horses' ears, for every ride. Just seems to take a little of the edge off. I've recently started using the POM earplugs that look like little squishy golf bolls. They seem to work pretty well and don't get shook out as offten,


                        • #13
                          I always use earplugs (the pom pom kind) on my mare at shows. She's not spooky or skittish, but it does seem to help her focus more. She's always shown in them, even with her previous owner. There's no harm in trying.

                          I always put them in when I clip her ears, too. Seems to help!


                          • #14
                            My Tb mare(chestnut at that) always wears ear foo foo's(pom poms). I started using them when she was younger and showing as she is one of those horses who can see something about a mile away in the distance that attracts her attention. For some reason the ear pom poms help to keep her focused on the immediate area, not in the next county. Even though she is older now, way less spooky and we no longer show, the ear pompoms are a part of our regular tack. I know I should probably wean us off of them, but hey they're cheap and they work.


                            • #15
                              I would have to say it sounds like ear puffies aren't going to solve the issues you're having with the mare. She needs to accept your leg, and like the secure feeling of having a tight leg wrapped around her sides. That will actually fix the problem instead of putting the "band aid" on it.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Swale01 View Post
                                I used them at a show, once - in an attempt to solve a new problem that developed...the screaming-for-my-barnmate problem. I swear, when I put them in he screamed twice as loud - the way a person who is hard of hearing might raise their voice when they talk to you, instinctively assuming you can't hear them well either. I had to take the puffs out because he was killing my eardrums!!

                                My BO does show in them at the more chaotic shows and swears by them.
                                Oh no.

                                I was contemplating using them at my next show because my horse kept neighing - in the dressage ring at a CT !

                                And in the warm up, and during my sisters jump round, and during my jumping warm up, and the cool down and during lunch, even though his mare was on the other side of the trailer, and when I went to give my friend back her spare helmet because I forgot to pack mine..

                                I'm surprised he could still neigh to the others when we got home !


                                • #17
                                  For the issue that my baby has, listening intently to everything outside of the ring and neighing back to horses that probably weren't even talking to him in the first place , they work great! However, he can definitely still hear them sometimes, but he's learning that not everyone is actually neighing to HIM!
                                  Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine - Class of 2014

                                  Chance Encounter
                                  RIP Tall Tales


                                  • #18
                                    On a blustery day in the indoor, I call them my "fluffy little life insurance policies." It's late May and still blustery-this is a problem!
                                    F O.B
                                    Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
                                    Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique


                                    • #19
                                      I use them at the indoor shows for my horse who will sometimes spook at applause. They do seem to help focus a lot of horses, but I'm lucky that mine is pretty focused most of the time without any assistance.

                                      One tip, if you are going to use ear stuffies: Foam cat toys are hands down the best earplugs I've ever tried. I learned about them on COTH, and after trying them, I'd never go back to pom poms or cotton. They're cheap, don't shake out, leave no ear lint and seem to block sound better.


                                      • #20
                                        My mare is on stall rest with hand walking, and I don't have to use any pharmaceuticals, just the ear bunnies. She can still hear, but it muffles the sound just enough that she doesn't freak.
                                        On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog