Last Updated on August 18, 2022
These days it is not all that common to see blinders on a horse but in the past, they were used frequently. However, blinders may still be used to solve some common problems in horses. Let’s find out everything you need to know about what blinders on a horse are used for!
What Are Blinders On A Horse Used For?
Blinders on a horse are solid or semi-solid objects that are used to cover or partially cover the horse’s eye. They are either attached to the bridle or halter of the horse, or some blinders come as separate pieces of equipment. In some countries, blinders are also known as blinkers.
The idea behind blinders is that the horse’s eye is either partially or completely covered. There may be two reasons behind this; firstly, the blinders may be used to stop the horse from seeing in a particular direction. The second reason is that blinders may be used to protect the horse’s eye from dirt, dust, or sunlight.
Horses have an exceptionally wide field of vision and can see almost 360 degrees around them. While this is hugely beneficial for the horse, it does mean that they can be easily distracted by movement or objects behind them or to the side. Blinders can help to block or reduce the field of vision in a particular direction, helping the horse to focus on the task at hand.
Blinders were once much more common than they are now, although they are still popular in certain equine sports and pastimes. The most likely places you will see blinders being used are in carriage driving and on race horses.
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Most Common Situations Where Blinders May Be Used On Horses
Blinders Used For Horse Racing
The most likely place you will see a horse wearing blinders in the modern day is on the race track. When a horse races, the trainer wants the horse to keep his entire focus on going as fast as possible. Many horses are distracted by the sight of a horse running alongside or just behind them and will slow their pace or turn their head to look at them.
For this reason, blinders are put on racehorses to stop them from seeing horses that are just out of their sight. This stops them from turning their heads to look at the horse properly and keeps his focus on the race ahead. Most race horses wear blinders in the form of a hood that is placed over the head, into which the blinders are fitted.
Blinders Used For Carriage Driving
If you’ve ever watched a movie set in the times when carriage driving was the main form of transport, you will notice that most of the horses wear blinders. These are normally large leather blinders that are attached to the driving bridle. The purpose of blinders on a carriage driving horse is to stop it from being distracted by anything coming up alongside it or trying to overtake it.
Blinders Used For Working Horses
Although working horses are not all that common these days, you may see draft horses pulling ploughs or wagons that wear blinders. This is to keep their focus on the road or field ahead. Working horses used for competition and displays still wear traditional blinders to this day.
Blinders Used For Competition Horses
Top-level competition horses tend to be very high-spirited animals, full of energy and excitement. This is due to their exceptional fitness levels and mental attitude that gives them the winning edge. However, this does mean that top competition horses such as show jumpers, dressage horses, and eventers can be easily distracted.
To solve this, some trainers like these horses to wear blinders. The use of blinders in some top level competitions is prohibited, so they may only be used during training and warming up. In show jumping competitions, sheepskin cheekpieces are permitted as an alternative to blinders.
If neither you or your horse has used blinkers before, it can be useful to get the assistance of an experienced trainer to help you settle into using them.
So, as we have learned, blinders on a horse are a solid or semi solid objects that are used to cover or partially cover the horses eye. Blinders may be used to stop the horse seeing in a particular direction, or to protect the horses eye from dirt, dust, or sunlight. The most likely places you will see blinders being used is in carriage driving and on race horses.
Would love to hear what you think about using blinders on a horse! Have you got a horse that is easily distracted and may benefit from the use of blinders? Or perhaps you’ve tried blinders on a horse in the past and found that they made the situation worse rather than better? Leave a comment below and we will get back to you!
What are the blinders on horses called?
Blinders on horses are sometimes also called blinkers. They are used to partially obscure the horses vision, helping to rent distractions from movement or objects around them.
Can you ride a horse with blinders?
You can ride a horse with blinders, but if your horses never worn them before, he may find them disconcerting at first. The aim of blinders is to help prevent the horse from being distracted by objects around him, but initially the horse may feel unsettled by not being able to visualise his full environment.
What does it mean to put your blinders on?
People often use the phrase 'put your blinders on' to refer to someone who is oblivious to what is going on around them. This is in reference to the blinders that horses wear, which are used to stop them seeing what is going on in the world. Someone walking around with their blinders on is a person who fails to notice events occurring around them.
Can you ride a horse in blinkers?
You can ride a horse in blinkers and they can be a useful training aid. However, it is important that you have the right kind of blinkers for your horse and the sport that you are competing in.
Kate Chalmers is a qualified veterinary nurse who has specialized in horse care for the vast majority of her career. She has been around horses since she was a child, starting out riding ponies and helping out at the local stables before going on to college to study Horse Care & Management. She has backed and trained many horses during her lifetime and competed in various equestrian sports at different levels.
After Kate qualified as a veterinary nurse, she provided nursing care to the patients of a large equine veterinary hospital for many years. She then went on to teach horse care and veterinary nursing at one of the top colleges in the country. This has led to an in-depth knowledge of the care needs of horses and their various medical ailments, as well as a life-long passion for educating horse owners on how to provide the best possible care for their four-legged friends.
Kate Chalmers BSc (Hons) CVN, Dip AVN (Equine) Dip HE CVN EVN VN A1 PGCE