Many top show jumpers use the fly-fringe incorporated into the headgear, which fits over the horse’s ears, and it would be easy to dismiss it as just another trend.

Tim Brown, the Nottinghamshire rider explains that this is not so and, from April onwards, all his horses wear the fly fringe as a routine item of tack.

“You will find that all the riders who jump abroad use them regularly. In fact, I began to use them all the time afterI had to put one on a horse I was jumping in the south of France a few years ago,” said Tim.

“The mosquitoes and other insects were a real problem. And then I was riding a horse in the collecting ring in this country when a fly went down into its ear and it became hysterical.”

“The fly fringe with the earpieces is the easy answer to the problem, especially if you happen to have a horse which is very sensitive about the ears and susceptible to being worried by insects. The last few summers inBritain have been very hot and dry, not unlike the foreign climates, so it is good sense to use a fly fringe.”

“Even on a damp and muggy day, if you happen to be jumping in a ring close to woodland, there will be plenty of insects about to bother the horses. The fly fringe is only a prevention, but when you are jumping in big classes, you have to take every measure available to make sure that your horse is going into the ring happy and unfazed. Attention to such detail pays off.”

Tim also produces Thoroughbreds and eventers and relates a tale of a racehorse that was completely unmanageable at the races until equipped with the fringe and earpieces.

“It worked just like magic,” he said. “He must have had very delicate ears. Though I am a great believer in the fringe, I don’t advocate them in bright colours, which is getting to be fashionable.”