We recently passed a mule with blinders while strolling through New Orleans’ French Quarter. I questioned why some horses wore blinders after noticing them.
Blinders help horses focus on their work by reducing their range of view. Horses are readily distracted, whether they are working or racing. Blinders are necessary for horses pulling wagons through urban areas so they can maintain their attention on the road ahead and shut out external distractions.
The majority of people believe that horses only wear blinders while they are performing a specific duty. In actuality, though, horses put on blinders so they can work more effectively.
Why Do Horses Have Their Eyes Covered?
Horses cover their eyes primarily for two reasons: protection and restricting their range of vision. On rare occasions, a horse will also be wearing a blindfold. I’ll go into more detail about that later.
Let’s first examine the two primary causes, though. Horses’ veiled eyes are the most frequent cause. This is for your safety.
The materials employed occasionally block UV radiation in addition to providing fly protection. The cover helps protect horses with sensitive pink skin on their nostrils from sunburn.
I constantly advise a complete fly mask with UV protection for these horses. This style of fly mask can also help horses with light-colored eyes.
Covering a horse’s eyes also serves the aim of obstructing some of its eyesight. These face covers come in a variety of designs. They are typically found on racehorses and carriage horses.
But there is also a design that fastens to the bridle and is utilized on horses trained for show jumping.
The horse can’t see behind or to the side because of these objects. It aids the horse in concentrating solely on what is in front of them. They are also beneficial for horses that become anxious when other horses or moving things are around.
In conclusion, one use for these coverings is following eye surgery. There may be only one eye here. The unique cover will shield the eye from debris, promote healing, and lessen the risk of infection.
What Is Horse Eye Cover Called?
Either blinker or blinder are names for the horse eye protection. There are, however, additional names for it, such as fly mask, visor, etc. The variety of horse eye coverings available explains why there are so many names for them.
Because each kind of horse eye cover serves a particular function, they all differ structurally. The specifics of each category will be covered shortly.
What Do Horses Wear on Their Face?
What do horses put on their faces then? I’ve just explained the rationale for these peculiar-looking face masks, but what are they actually called? Let’s investigate!
Getting back to the primary motivation, which is protection. This mask is referred to as a fly mask. A fly mask is constructed of a white mesh with minute holes that keep insects out.
It is simple to assume a horse can’t see if you are inexperienced with them and you see one wearing one of these!
I completely get it, and people ask me that a lot! But don’t worry, the horse’s vision is unaffected by a fly mask. Although it does block out the sun, this is nice.
Fly masks also partially filter certain UV rays, reducing some of the potential harm they can do.
I usually advise using a fly mask for horse owners who transport their animals in stock trailers. This is due to the open slates on the side of standard trailers.
It is simple for roadside debris to enter the trailer and harm your horse’s eyes.
anything that should be avoided. Horse eye injuries are regarded as emergencies at all times. A fly mask will shield the eyes from a great deal of particles without impairing vision.
How to introduce a fly mask to your horse is as follows:
It is a terrific piece of equestrian equipment to have for your horse and is quite straightforward.
Horses frequently use blinkers as well. Most horses do not require blinkers. They are available in various forms for different equestrian disciplines.
A blinker hood that fits under the bridle will be worn by race horses. Racing blinkers include holes for the eyes and a plastic cup with a range of sizes around the edge. They are available in a variety of hues.
Blinders, which are eye covers, are used by carriage horses. The horse isn’t really blinded by them! They are leather parts that attach to the bridle. They modify these horses’ field of view, which helps to maintain their composure and increase safety.
Although they are typically referred to as blinkers, blinders are also worn by showjumping horses. baffling, I know! However, they resemble blinders more so than the blinkers you see on racehorses.
The bridle cheek straps are where showjumping blinkers are fastened. They are less obstructive of side vision than blinders and shorter than what carriage horses wear.
Goggles are among the weirdest objects you’ll see horses wearing over their eyes. Yes, there are eyewear options for horses.
Clear goggles are frequently used in harness racing. They keep flying mud and dirt out of people’s eyes.
Last but not least, have you ever looked at a police horse? The horse will almost always wear a face protection when doing crowd control. This shields the face from missiles hurled by raucous crowds.
Are the Masks Really Useful?
While summer may be a pleasant time of year for us, it may be disastrous for our canine and feline pals. In addition to providing the ideal breeding environment for fleas at this time of year, the heat and wetness also allow them to penetrate our spaces and our horses.
The fly mask shields the sensitive places where fleas tend to concentrate, such the eyes and ears, even if we can’t completely cover their bodies. The masks are more than simply a piece of clothing for the summer since they shield horses from various biting insects all year long in addition to the summer fleas.
5 Reasons Why Do Horses Wear Blindfold
Blinders are cups made of either leather or plastic. They are sometimes known as blinkers or winkers. They help to limit a horse’s range of view by fastening to its bridle or hood. Several equestrian disciplines employ blinders.
Horses use blindfolds for a variety of reasons, but you should only use them as a last option because they fully impair the horse’s eyesight.
Limiting the Field of View
Horse masks are used by riders to:
Keep them concentrated throughout the race. For instance, horses with exuberant personalities may become disoriented by the bustle going on around them. They can stay on course by limiting their field of vision.
When novice riders are present, tame the horses. When routines change, some horses may become agitated. The horse will be more at ease if their field of view is restricted.
When in a crowded area, keep them calm. You may tell that horses are accustomed to a serene, cozy atmosphere if you’ve gone to a stable. Their anxiousness may increase when they are in public places like the streets or at sporting events. Particularly while handling a carriage horse, you might wish to put them in a mask.
Draft Horses wear blinders to pull straight
Draft horses were widely used before the combustion engine was invented. Among other things, they were employed to plow fields, pull carriages, and convey commodities.
Working horses frequently experience anxiety when hauling a carriage or other machinery. Although they can’t see what is directly behind them, they are aware that something is following. Additionally, horses are aware of predators’ rearward attacks on them.
They are alarmed by both their load and any suspicious activity, which makes them flee. It would be disastrous if large draft horses bolted into crowded streets while pulling a carriage.
Is it strange, therefore, that most draft horses feel more at ease wearing a bridle with blinders? Blinders prevent horses from overriding their natural impulses and substantiate the proverb “out of sight, out of mind.”
Blinders were fastened to the horses’ bridles so they could concentrate on what was in front of them with fewer interruptions. The blinkers not only prevent a horse from taking flight but also aid in straight pulling.
When they notice activity, horses without blinders usually swivel their heads to look about. Swerving from side to side results from the frequent looking.
By obstructing some of the horses’ peripheral vision, blinders encourage straight pulling in draft horses. When wearing blinders, draft horses have a closer bond with the driver. Horses respond better to verbal and tactile signals due to their limited range of vision.
Typically made of leather and connected to the halter are the eye shields used with draft horses. (To view the pricing ranges for harness blinders on Amazon, click this link.)
Horse eye cover is used to maintain attention by preventing a horse from looking at the person or object that is making the distracting sounds since horses are readily distracted by noises around them.
For instance, when a horse runs well in a race and the crowd starts yelling, the blinders keep the horses from becoming distracted by the hubbub and allowing them to concentrate on the track and win the race.
Additionally, it aids in reducing peripheral vision, keeping his attention fixed on the track and the jockey’s directions and preventing him from being able to see the other horses going beside him.
Protecting the Eyes
Horse eyes tend to be sensitive and readily infected at the first annoyance. The masks are sufficient since horses require an additional layer of defense. Horse eyes need protection for a variety of reasons, including:
Fly infestations and other insect illnesses can affect horses’ eyes. They may also bother the horse, and while it may flick them away with its tail, it is insufficient.
Horses recuperating from illnesses or damage to their faces should also cover their faces while they recuperate.
Protection from Sunlight – Some horses with light-colored eyes get eye damage from sunlight. The horse needs a mask to shield them from direct sunlight, especially if they dwell in a sunny environment.
Cheekpieces serve as blinders for showjumping horses
Normal blinders are not allowed in showjumping competitions, but sheepskin cheekpieces are. Sheepskin wraps may be worn in show jumping as long as they do not extend more than 3 cm above the horses’ faces, according to the FEI, which oversees international showjumping. US Equestrian, the organization in charge of overseeing showjumping in the country, abides by these regulations.
Sheepskin cheekpieces are sheepskin pieces that are fastened to the side of the halter of a horse next to its eyes. They assist a horse focus on what is in front of them without obstructing their eyesight, serving a similar purpose to the French cup blinder in horse racing.
When a rookie or unskilled rider rides a horse, the horse’s field of vision is restricted, making it impossible for him to see the road or even get a glimpse of the rider.
The rider may suffer danger if the horse perceives them as being strange. The horse may behave strangely, dismount, and injure the rider when he is terrified of something nearby. Blinders can therefore keep a horse at ease since they prevent him from knowing who is riding him or what is around.
Horse wear blinder to reduce stress
Nowadays, many major cities have horse-drawn carriage excursions, like the one in the New Orleans photo. Like New Orleans, many cities have distractions that may make a horse flee or lose concentration. Blinders are essential for the protection of the horse, the riders, and anybody else in the carriage’s path.
In an effort to disregard the signals from their nervous system that anything is in their predator threat zone, horses pulling without blinders strain themselves. Horses may disregard these tendencies and relax when wearing blinders.
When roaming through crowded cities, horses may experience overwhelming fear, in contrast to the peacefulness they exhibit in stables. As a result, owners wear horse eye cover to block out the crowd and other distractions that can make horses feel uneasy in an effort to make them feel at home.
Is a Blindfold Really Helpful For Horses?
Yes, wearing a blindfold may be quite useful. Use it sparingly and only as a last option. The blindfold can make a horse panicky even if its intended usage is to assist calm an agitated horse by removing stimuli.
Try to cup your hand over one eye on the side the vet is working so the horse can’t see him before totally blindfolding it for the vet. The use of a needle by the veterinarian is made simpler by the blindfold’s ability to keep the horse calmer.
Horses will become terrified in a fire. Even the gentlest and quietest horse may become difficult to handle. Furthermore, because they view their stable as a safe haven, horses frequently refuse to leave or go back there.
When escaping a fire, using a blindfold can assist the horse become calm enough to reach safety. However, I advise practice wearing it before you are in an emergency as the blindfold itself might lead to panic.
Horse Eye Cover Types
Different horse eye coverings might be difficult for people to tell between.
We have quickly covered the three most popular types of horse eye coverings in order to assist you in clearing up this issue once and for all.
These delicate fabrics have plastic coverings on them. Depending on what the rider desires, they are available in a variety of sizes and forms.
For racehorses who are prone to becoming distracted by the entire race track spectacular, hoods are often employed. In order to make the horse accustomed to it before the race, riders also employ hoods during training.
Horses racing with hoods is more accepted in some nations than others. Some people label hooded horses as wicked or rogue and refuse to give them credit on the grounds that they are unable to function on their own.
Fly Mask or Fly Cap
They are mesh masks that are used to conceal the eyes, mouth, and, occasionally, the ears. They are used to preserve horses’ vision and hearing unaffected while providing protection from pests and sunshine. Fly masks are more common in the summer because of this benefit, when there are more flies and sunshine.
The tiny mesh of the Cashel Quiet Ride Horse Fly Mask provides the horse with a wide field of view and comfort. Additionally, it is extremely simple to install over the bridle.
In severe situations where horses could get unhappy, such as while travelling or strolling through a crowded or unfamiliar place, blindfolds are employed. They also aid with the transition of horses from bright to dark environments.
In an emergency, blindfolding horses is also suitable. Horses are often highly emotional, and they only get more relaxed around individuals they trust. For instance, if a fire breaks out in the barns and people are reluctant to evacuate, blindfold them to calm their fears and order them to do so.
Last but not least, when horses are ready to undergo surgery or other medical procedures, blindfolds are advised. If the horse notices the unfamiliar equipment, it could get frightened and difficult to control.
Blindfolds also prevent insects like fleas from getting into people who are recovering from eye or ear infections since they can septicize the wounds and cause reinfection. Put blindfolds on them until the wounds have healed.