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No-look-backs and other blinkers on the bridle

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  • No-look-backs and other blinkers on the bridle

    Has anyone tried riding in blinkers? The leatther ones like this: https://www.tackroomonline.com/nunn-...xoCXhcQAvD_BwE

    Or even the sheepskin rolls on the cheekpieces.

    I have a very quiet safe horse, but he just loves looking outside my arena. Not like my other horse who was all focus. This one does not spook or misbehave, he just feels like he might. 99% of his energy is in his ears!

    I can keep his attention but I ride alone at home and am no spring chicken. I thought something like this might be helpful and make him less work for me. I'm not worried about at shows etc, He is actually better off property.

    If you've had experience with them I'd love to know. Please no riding lesson comments.
    Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.

  • #2
    I would not. The problem is that you need to get him to focus on you perhaps by switching up the work s d keeping his mind busy

    I would be afraid to ride a horse with blinkers. I want them to be aware of everything around them. I don't want them surprised by somethjng behind them.

    My mare is very observant and looky but very solid on trails because she sees things behind us long before I do. If she is genuinely taken by surprise she will startle but she sees bikes behind us a quarter mile away and is totally prepared by the time they pass.

    Comment


    • #3
      It is done frequently in the jumper ring, almost always one the track.

      The purpose is to keep the horse's attention from wandering. It is much safer than an unfocused horse who might make a quick 180* turn because he sees a horse eating squirrel.

      There are many depths of blinkers, from about 1" to the depth that the horse can only see very straight ahead..Mostly the blinker part is inserted into the I head piece; you do not buy the whole unit.

      This sounds like it would be worth a try
      "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism" https://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/c...lies/smile.gif

      Comment


      • #4
        I got a pair to use on an Arab gelding who had some, uh, nervous system problems? This gelding used to escape from his previous owner's paddock and he ended up being chased by the police, sirens, lights and all. He was super antsy but usually controllable until something moved behind him and he saw it in a particular part of his eye. His big scare when I rode him in the ring was fan blades whirling (though any movement to his rear could set him off), I could pass them with no problem maybe once a ride, all the other times he right out bolted without any warning in a completely peaceful riding ring.

        I got the D'yon blinkers (which look like the ones listed above), put them on his bridle and his problem was solved. Since he was a teenager I did not think training could overcome it. He has other problems of course, but these blinkers changed his life since he was no longer bolting several times a ride in a peaceful riding ring and it was MUCH safer for other riders to ride him.

        His owner never rides without them now. There may be other problems but unexpected out of the blue bolting has not happened in years--unless the blinkers are not on his bridle.

        Because at first the blinkers were on my bridle I used them on another horse and she did not mind them at all. Since I stopped riding the ex-bolter I have not had to use them again, but they live in my tack bag just in case I need them again.

        The horse can still see out to the side without much problem, so they are mostly useful to prevent the horse from seeing stuff behind him.

        Comment


        • #5
          My horse looks around a lot and she spooks. What helps her is to always keep her guessing. Some days I’ll lunge before I ride to make sure I have her attention. The key is to always keep them interested or at least guessing on what’s going on.

          What is a normal ride like for you in terms of your plan?

          Comment


          • #6
            I haven't used the leather ones but I have attached sheepskin fleece piece to the bride on my old jumper. I use to call them Focus Fuzzies. He didn't meed them all the time,but when he seems extra anxious at a show or schooling at home I would put them on.. They seemed to help him stay focused and better able to listen to me. They weren't very big, astray were just repurposed fleece piece from him shipping halter.

            Comment


            • #7
              I tried them on my horse once unintentionally - I was trying a friend's bit and rather than taking it off their bridle I just used the bridle that the bit was on which happened to have the leather blinkers on it. My horse was not a fan, he is not a looky horse and would never be one that I would feel the need to use this type of device on. I found that on a loose rein he kept on trying to turn his head and check in with me. I felt like it took away a bit of the normal communication that I had with him, but as I say he is one that would not have any need for them.

              Comment


              • #8
                I used them on a semi-looky horse and I really liked the results. He was much more focused and was thinking about what was in front of him. I got the leather ones that velcro to the bridle and they look nice. I prefer the low key look of the leather ones instead of the fluffs or the racing style. I occasionally show with them in the jumper ring depending on the venue. I don't use them every day. I will use them when I need my guy to focus a little more. I'll usually throw them on during a jump school day. I never use them when hacking out in the fields/on trails. That is the only time I want my horse to be extremely aware of his surroundings.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Yes, I have several sets of racing blinkers, french cups and full cups. And have used the "no-see-backs" as seen in the show ring too. If you have a horse who needs them, they are a huge relief for everyone.

                  Yes, the rider has more responsibility than normal when blinkers are used, especially full cups. Because the horse can see less, so it is the rider's responsibility to keep him safe, to be his eyes. Make sure that you keep him from bumping into things, the wall of the arena going by, or stall doors (blinkers are usually put on outside of the stall for this reason). That is something you have to get used to. The use of blinkers, especially full cup blinkers, makes the horse depend on his rider more, trust the rider, listen to the rider. They will stop him from seeing things that frighten him. They will also keep his attention focused, not fractured. They will usually result in the horse relaxing, and being more focused.

                  With green horses who are intrinsically frightened of the sight of a rider on their back, the use of full cup blinkers solves the problem with a good crutch, to get you past this issue, by removing the sight of the rider up there. They allow the horse to see forward, but not back or to the sides. All they have to contend with is the "feel" of the rider, not the "sight". This lets you ride a horse that you might not otherwise be able to ride safely, introduce him to the aides of being ridden, find success and reward with being ridden, without his intrinsic fear of the sight of the rider. Once the basic cues of riding are installed, and the horse has relaxed about it WITH the blinkers on, the blinkers get reduced to french cups, to let him get a glimpse of the rider every now and again. The only other option for a horse like this is the use of a "dummy rider", which FORCES the rider to accept the sight of the rider by having the dummy tied into place, and letting the horse try it's best to dislodge it, and failing. Modern horse training techniques describe the negative results of FORCING a horse to accept anything. IMO, the blinkers are a better plan than a "dummy". Not all horses are intrinsically frightened of the sight of a rider on his back, in fact, most aren't, but for those who are, it's a problem that has to be overcome at some point, in some way. It's an instinctual fear, of the predator on his back, it's not something that they are doing to be "bad". If it's there, it's not their fault. They need help and reassurance, not force.

                  Some horses have issues with giving over full control of any situation or decision to the rider, especially when green. Often these are very dominant horses socially, and are accustomed to being in control of EVERYTHING themselves. They normally make the decisions on what is scary, and what isn't, and what he is going to do about it. Not having to be responsible for these decisions any more results in the horse being able to relax. Horses who feel they have the responsibility can be quite tense about it all. The use of blinkers can be useful in a case like this. They will learn to depend on the rider to keep them safe. But the rider can NEVER let them down, must be very aware. The rider can use the blinkers as he rides, if an issue is coming up that the horse is concerned with as you approach, you just bend his head away from it, and the issue disappears as the blinker cup cuts off the vision. For most horses, if he can't see what scares him, what scares him ceases to be. Eureka.

                  The french cups are an intermediary step in blinkers size. They will stop the horse from seeing behind him, focus this attention forward only. They will let the horse see the rider on his back when he turns his head a bit, how much depends on the size of the cup. The smallest ones are called "cheaters" and only stick out an inch. French cups stick out further, around 2 1/2 inches. French cups are usually used on racehorses who are looking (and sometimes WAITING) for a horse to catch up to him, so that he can dig in and be competitive head and head. Trainers would rather that he not "wait" for that horse, but instead stay on the job. BTDT.

                  No-see-backs are the show ring viable option for non racing pursuits. How big they are, or can be, depends on what you want and need, can buy or create. Since horses in the show ring are usually not THAT green, they are the equivalent of "cheaters" on the track. Just shield a bit of the vision back, increase the focus on what is in front of them, the job at hand.

                  Controlling the amount a horse can see is always surprisingly absent to riding horse riders and trainers. But yes, used judiciously and carefully, it can be helpful in moving forward your goals for a horse.

                  www.cordovafarm.weebly.com

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    NancyM, thank you so much for taking the time for your comments. I got curious yesterday thinking about my looky horse, and wondered why more people don't try blinkers, or at least the "look back" attachments. I will study your reply more, and maybe give them a try.
                    Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by NancyM View Post
                      Yes, I have several sets of racing blinkers, french cups and full cups. And have used the "no-see-backs" as seen in the show ring too. If you have a horse who needs them, they are a huge relief for everyone.

                      Yes, the rider has more responsibility than normal when blinkers are used, especially full cups. Because the horse can see less, so it is the rider's responsibility to keep him safe, to be his eyes. Make sure that you keep him from bumping into things, the wall of the arena going by, or stall doors (blinkers are usually put on outside of the stall for this reason). That is something you have to get used to. The use of blinkers, especially full cup blinkers, makes the horse depend on his rider more, trust the rider, listen to the rider. They will stop him from seeing things that frighten him. They will also keep his attention focused, not fractured. They will usually result in the horse relaxing, and being more focused.

                      With green horses who are intrinsically frightened of the sight of a rider on their back, the use of full cup blinkers solves the problem with a good crutch, to get you past this issue, by removing the sight of the rider up there. They allow the horse to see forward, but not back or to the sides. All they have to contend with is the "feel" of the rider, not the "sight". This lets you ride a horse that you might not otherwise be able to ride safely, introduce him to the aides of being ridden, find success and reward with being ridden, without his intrinsic fear of the sight of the rider. Once the basic cues of riding are installed, and the horse has relaxed about it WITH the blinkers on, the blinkers get reduced to french cups, to let him get a glimpse of the rider every now and again. The only other option for a horse like this is the use of a "dummy rider", which FORCES the rider to accept the sight of the rider by having the dummy tied into place, and letting the horse try it's best to dislodge it, and failing. Modern horse training techniques describe the negative results of FORCING a horse to accept anything. IMO, the blinkers are a better plan than a "dummy". Not all horses are intrinsically frightened of the sight of a rider on his back, in fact, most aren't, but for those who are, it's a problem that has to be overcome at some point, in some way. It's an instinctual fear, of the predator on his back, it's not something that they are doing to be "bad". If it's there, it's not their fault. They need help and reassurance, not force.

                      Some horses have issues with giving over full control of any situation or decision to the rider, especially when green. Often these are very dominant horses socially, and are accustomed to being in control of EVERYTHING themselves. They normally make the decisions on what is scary, and what isn't, and what he is going to do about it. Not having to be responsible for these decisions any more results in the horse being able to relax. Horses who feel they have the responsibility can be quite tense about it all. The use of blinkers can be useful in a case like this. They will learn to depend on the rider to keep them safe. But the rider can NEVER let them down, must be very aware. The rider can use the blinkers as he rides, if an issue is coming up that the horse is concerned with as you approach, you just bend his head away from it, and the issue disappears as the blinker cup cuts off the vision. For most horses, if he can't see what scares him, what scares him ceases to be. Eureka.

                      The french cups are an intermediary step in blinkers size. They will stop the horse from seeing behind him, focus this attention forward only. They will let the horse see the rider on his back when he turns his head a bit, how much depends on the size of the cup. The smallest ones are called "cheaters" and only stick out an inch. French cups stick out further, around 2 1/2 inches. French cups are usually used on racehorses who are looking (and sometimes WAITING) for a horse to catch up to him, so that he can dig in and be competitive head and head. Trainers would rather that he not "wait" for that horse, but instead stay on the job. BTDT.

                      No-see-backs are the show ring viable option for non racing pursuits. How big they are, or can be, depends on what you want and need, can buy or create. Since horses in the show ring are usually not THAT green, they are the equivalent of "cheaters" on the track. Just shield a bit of the vision back, increase the focus on what is in front of them, the job at hand.

                      Controlling the amount a horse can see is always surprisingly absent to riding horse riders and trainers. But yes, used judiciously and carefully, it can be helpful in moving forward your goals for a horse.
                      Much truth here. Realize everybody thinks they are exceptional riders and their horse solid on all aids and willing to trust them completely. Please be honest with yourself on this. Adding blinkers can create a whole new set of problems...especially if you share your ring with other riders who may not respect your space or comprehend your horse cannot se them coming until they pop up in that restricted field of vision.

                      OP here rides alone so that shouldn’t be an issue. But they, like other tools of this nature, are for temporary use. Has OP tried ear plugs? Those can solve much of this kind of lack of focus, they can still hear.

                      Some horses are better then others at being able to focus for longer periods of time then others and sometimes you need a work around. Had a couple over the years, it’s just the way they are and they often fall into the “quirky” group and come from families known to be “ quirky”. Or difficult. Just like some people,
                      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have a horse that I use these on: https://www.doversaddlery.com/dyon-b...RoC-vwQAvD_BwE

                        When I got her she was SO FOCUSED on things outside of the ring. Did not care at all about the jumps (meaning she didn't spook at them or hesitate to jump them), but if the ring crew moved along the rail it would really upset her. Turned out she was ulcery and putting her on an ulcer treatment/maintenance plan was really what mostly solved it. But I kept using the blinkers on her because they did seem to help that little bit of anxiety she had about what was going on around her. Now I try to use them selectively.....if it's windy or there's a lot going on outside of the arena (like in an indoor show) I'll use them, but I never do for schooling shows or "regular" show environments. She's a lot better than she used to be, and I think eventually I'll be able to forget about them. But as many things are, I think they've been a useful tool in the meantime.

                        Along those lines, it might be worth it to try stuffing your guy's ears too. Sometimes the dulling of sound helps as much or even more than limiting the full scope of vision. For my mare, ear plugs made zero difference and I quickly abandoned them. But I've had a few over the years who remained much more focused with ear plugs (though that could partly be because of one of my mares who likes to yell for her friends at shows).
                        __________________________________
                        Flying F Sport Horses
                        Horses in the NW

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The gelding I wrote about earlier still was very "looky" to the sides. I got him a Fenwick Face Mask w/ ears with French Cup blinkers added thinking that it may improve his performance under saddle. This horse was already used to the regular Fenwick Face Mask w/ ears without the French Cups and he was used to the D'yon blinkers.

                          This horse DID NOT LIKE the French Cups at all. He basically freaked out and spent his time desperately trying to see what was to his sides. His rider had to get down during the trail ride and take the blinkered face mask off.

                          This horse will not focus much at all unless he has both the D'yon blinkers and the Fenwick Face Mask w/ ears on (without the French Cups). As I said earlier there is something wrong with this horse's brain (PTSD?), without these two pieces of tack he does not pay attention to his rider, tends to ignore aids and he freaks out about almost anything around him. But he could not stand the blinkers that blocked his side vision, unfortunately.

                          If he could have stood for them I do not think we would have taken those French Cup blinkers off at all. This horse is always ready to spook, and in spite of years of good riding and training still sees the world as a dangerous place for a horse. His latest spooking is at rotting logs on the trail, sigh. At least I am not riding him through all this.

                          We also tried ear plugs. Violent head shaking, he did not like them at all and got even more keyed up wearing them.

                          Every horse is different. What works well for one horse may drive the next horse insane.

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