I have a slight obsession with knitted hats for horses. Knitted hats - he he he. That term cracks me up. I had a lady comment at a show once on how she adored my horses "knitted hat". This is now my good luck term, before every showjumping or cross country phase I always tell my horse, "can't forget your knitted hat!".
Much like browbands, I have a collection of bonnets. I have had a collection since I was about 13. I had a white bonnet with frills, a red bonnet with frills, and the holy grail was my white and red striped bonnet with frills. I still have it. It's hideous and huge, but it was one of the first bonnets out there and as you may or may not know - I am OCD on co-ordination for colours. My colours used to be red and white, and therefore this fly veil was an absolute must. Bonnets were not used in eventing then though, they were best saved for home or the jumper ring. Somewhere between then and now someone manned up and went out on cross with one...starting another trend in the equestrian world that I love.
The navy and baby blue bonnet above was first bought for my pony Fandango who was the first to wear my new eventing colours. 2009 was the first year I went eventing in a bonnet. I normally use a bonnet for flies but I was %100 wearing it on Fandango for the look in those days. He looked adorable in it too. Then when I started competing Archie, he was so easily put off by the noise from the loudspeaker, I used the bonnet to help wean out any noise it could. It almost seemed to become a comfort to him every time I grabbed his knitted hat to throw on before his bridle.
I had my blue bonnet but I needed one for showjumping (right??). I picked up a beautiful grey bonnet with white and black piping that matched my show jacket perfectly. I still have this bonnet and it is one of my favourites. I hardly ever showjump without it. I use a bonnet every single ride on every single horse in the summer. The horses seem to like them, and they appreciate the shield from flies.
The picture at the top of this post is one of my favorite schooling bonnets. I used it a few times in competition but I quickly replaced it when I found the better matching one found below. I usually use that one for clinics and lessons.
Then there is my collection of bonnets for dressage, and schooling bonnets. Above is Williams beige one, as bonnets have to blend with your horse and be a natural colour for dressage. A baby blue one, and the bonnet I bought Alayne for Cayden....he needed a magic knitted hat for himself. I also have another brown/chestnut one and another navy/baby blue one.
My newest bonnet was another eBay purchase, trying to get closer to my actual colours of royal blue and white. This is a brighter navy blue with silver piping. I really like it, my only qualm is the blue isn't bright enough for me. I am still searching for a true royal blue and white bonnet. I don't want a crappy one though, I prefer high quality and well made so it can stand up to many events, hot and sweaty ears, or soaked in the rain ears. When I say OCD about coordination I mean OCD. Oh well, another reason to love eventing. If you see any nice royal blue and white bonnets, send me that way!
So, let's hear it. Do you enjoy a knitted hat for your horse?