From Endurance to Dressage
I have never been a fan of ear bonnet/ear hoods/ear veil. I just didn't see the point. As an endurance rider, my practical side screamed about the excess heat buildup a fly bonnet would cause. Furry ears actually help keep horses warmer in the winter, so why would anyone deliberately bundle up a horse's ears in the heat of summer?
Now I get it.
We don't get the nasty insects that some of you get, but I imagine your horses wear the bonnet to keep the gnats from driving them bonkers. I don't have that issue, but the bonnet seems to be helping Izzy focus. He's still the same horse, and he still spooks at invisible monsters, but the fly bonnet seems to be taking his mind off what's out there, so that he can focus on what's right here.
Now that Izzy is wearing a bonnet daily, I've taken an interest in what's available. I have an old black bonnet that has no bling or special features, but it works well for schooling. The ears are made of cotton though, so they don't stretch. He doesn't hate it anymore, but I have discovered that bonnets are not all the same. Enter the Equine Couture Fly Bonnet.
The ear bonnet that arrived was not the one pictured on the website - I can't even find it on the website, but I am glad! There is nothing about this bonnet that I don't love. First, it was a steal at $17.95, and in fact I am waiting for an invoice telling me I owe another $40 bucks. Riding Warehouse wouldn't do that of course, but this bonnet looks and feels like it should be much more expensive.
Unlike my other two bonnets, the ears on the Equine Couture are spandex which means they are nice and stretchy. The yarn, 100% cotton, shouldn't be stretchy, but it is which makes the whole bonnet a lost easier to put on, and it just looks more comfortable. The knitting is also heavy and knit together tightly so it feels really sturdy. The bling speaks for itself. Each pearl is sewn on as is the string of crystals. The rope detail is shiny and woven with even more bling.
There are a few other details that I also like. First, the part that goes over the horse's poll is nice and wide so that accommodates the full width of a bridle's crown piece making it less likely to get shaken off; Izzy has tried and failed. I also like the piece of fabric sewn over the end of the bling. It protects the decorative edge, but it's covered by the bridle so you can't see it.
I now have both a black and navy bonnet for schooling, although the navy bonnet is definitely nice enough for shows. At $15.25 (I used a coupon code), I won't feel too bad if the decorative pieces start to fall off. I am waiting for the black LeMieux Noise Reduction Bonnet to be back in stock, but when I order it, I think I'll grab another Equine Couture Bonnet. The quality of that bonnet is at least equal to the LeMieux, and maybe even better. I am really liking this one, although you have to look closely to see the detail.
If Izzy has to wear a bonnet to keep his focus on me, I might as well have fun with them.
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2022 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2022 Show Schedule
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(***) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 62.115%