You may have noticed that fly veils are now ubiquitous on showjumpers and increasingly on dressage horses when allowed. This is not just fashion (although they do provide significant scope for playing dress up) or even for bug protection (not too many bugs in indoor jumping events) but because a large number of horses are more relaxed and rideable with their ears covered, particularly in loud or windy conditions.
Ear plugs are even more effective for many horses. I usually use them with a veil to keep them secure, although there are various makes now which stay in easily and are comfortable for the horse even without covers. Even if you compete in a discipline that does not allow either option do not discount them as a training tool, to foster a more settled and attentive attitude in the horse in stressful situations and, therefore, a better reaction to training. Using them for hacking can be particularly advantageous – as the horse becomes more relaxed with the experience you can do away with them or, if you like, use them only on the windiest/busiest days. You might be surprised at the difference!
Check with your Ruling Body regarding rules for competition. Veils are sometimes at the judge’s discretion for eventing and dressage, so pop one in the lorry storage, just in case.
Photo is one of the fantastic range of Ear Bonnets stocked by Inter-Equine.