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blinkers-why or not

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  • blinkers-why or not

    opinions appreciated please on why to add or take off(primarily) blinkers.I read articles often on a horse who makes a huge performance change as a result of adding or taking off blinkers...I can see addition of but what reasons would you use for removing them?

  • #2
    well, it made the filly I am watching finish dead last when they tried the blinkers on (it looked like she spent the whole race trying to swat them off with her front feet..lol). The next race she finished mid-pack without them...so for her, dead last to mid-pack was an improvement
    "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"
    carolprudm

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    • #3
      There are a variety of reasons to both put them on and take them off. Off the top of my head,

      To put on: To help focus a horse on the task at hand
      To stop a horse from lugging as strongly one direction or another (usually with an extension blinker)

      To take off: To stop a overly strong horse from being too focused on getting to the front. (Looking at Lucky had this issue)

      To get a horse to relax behind others and find their groove more

      These are just a few ideas I know of. There are many more.

      ~Emily
      "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries

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      • #4
        I can imagine it would/could make some horses very nervous not to be able to see who was ranging alongside. In other cases, perhaps they need to see that other horse to become more competitive. I was involved in helping to retrain a horse at Charles Town who had become unmanageable in the morning gallops who had blinkers on from the time he was an early 2 year old (he was three). He was so upset when he went to the track that it was dangerous just to get him up to and onto the track and my friend concluded that he just needed "to see everything". After his first maiden effort (a win), the owner was offered $50,000 for him.

        I can give you another very good reason not to use them on a young horse, or at least to be extremely careful when first using them, involves a terrible accident where the young horse (2 year old) freaked out because he could not see around him, backed into the path of a mare who was in a work on the rail, and she ran into him. She had to be euthanized. The sad part is that the trainer was advised by several top exercise riders and jockeys not to put blinkers on this particular colt.
        "We, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit." JFK

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        • #5
          I can tell you what can happen, pretty bad case scenario, when you try an extension blinker on a sore lugging horse. Impact of outside aluminum track rail into leg at 30 mph.

          Not good.

          Never saw the outside of track, never slowed down. And amazingly I didn't fall off or break anything. But that being said my leg was HUGE. It was black when the ambulance got there and everyone in the ER was shocked that nothing was broken.

          Blinkers can be very useful, its just another aid that has to be used wisely in the right educated hands.

          ~Emily
          "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries

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          • #6
            I tend to put blinkers on everybody just because it gives me more options. I can go all the way from full cups to cheaters with no cups and anything in between. Ray, my problem child was training great, he literally worked faster than they run the darn bottom maiden races yet he is last by 30. I run him twice in cheaters and although he doesn't win they are definitely the best races of his life. So I make it official and take the blinkers off. He goes about three jumps out of the gate and slams on the brakes. Jock says "he needs blinkers!!!!" Apparently my little prince needs that little bit of fabric protecting his delicate face from the dirt flying back at him. Or he could just run faster than the others and not have to worry about it. We haven't gotten that message across.
            I will tell you all about Sylvester in the morning.
            McDowell Racing Stables

            Home Away From Home

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            • #7
              Both my OTTBs ran in blinkers, and I know in the first case and suspect in the second it was to keep their focus on the track in front of them and not their horsey ADD. The first one I wish I could have put blinkers on to show as he was a total ham who'd check to see who was watching him (his last jockey even said he was prone to this!) New one has trouble sometimes paying attention to what is going on HERE, not two miles away on the other side of the hayfield.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by hastyrebeljane View Post
                opinions appreciated please on why to add or take off(primarily) blinkers.I read articles often on a horse who makes a huge performance change as a result of adding or taking off blinkers...I can see addition of but what reasons would you use for removing them?
                Like training wheels on a bike, some horses outgrow the use of wearing blinkers. When they start the race can be overwhelming and the horses look at the other horses rather than looking straight ahead.

                If you are at a facility with turnout it's a good idea to first put blinkers on the horse while grazing, less accidents happen this way.

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                • #9
                  I have turned out at least a dozen horses directly off the track into the field and would absolutely never put blinkers on, I want them to see everything and not run into it.

                  I figure that you can always put blinkers on after giving the horse time to see if he/she is afraid of company or needs to focus. I just think starting a young horse out with them stunts their ability to figure things out for themselves and to see these things first rather than blinding them to what is going on and hoping they won't freak out when they hear them but don't see them.

                  I was grooming the sweetest young filly one time and she did have quite a bit of speed. She loved to look at the crowd on the way to the races, but most especially when she came back from the race she was literally craning her neck to look at people. After she got used to it she was fine. I think that is more where the unfocused businesss comes, or the so-called ADD, they are not allowed to develop an understanding or a love of what they are being trained to do. Rush, rush, rush just blows their minds.
                  "We, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit." JFK

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                  • #10
                    Oh, Lucky's about as bomb-proof as a TB gets. Has a better brain than most show horses. He just wants to see what's going on. Far away. When he should be paying attention to his job. Benny, meanwhile, was an honest-to-god HAM. (Which I got to see when he'd check to make sure my mom was watching as we'd come down center line.) His jockey didn't think he was afraid, and he loved to run to the point he'd go even when he shouldn't (she was the one who suggested his owners retire him) but he just liked the crowd and was like "Oh hey look at all those people! Hi people! Aren't I great?" If he was in a new place and it was quiet and empty he was a wreck--huge crowd, fair midway, noise and lights? Sweet! An audience! I can see where in both cases limiting their field of vision could be helpful.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by danceronice View Post
                      Oh, Lucky's about as bomb-proof as a TB gets. Has a better brain than most show horses. He just wants to see what's going on. Far away. When he should be paying attention to his job. Benny, meanwhile, was an honest-to-god HAM. (Which I got to see when he'd check to make sure my mom was watching as we'd come down center line.) His jockey didn't think he was afraid, and he loved to run to the point he'd go even when he shouldn't (she was the one who suggested his owners retire him) but he just liked the crowd and was like "Oh hey look at all those people! Hi people! Aren't I great?" If he was in a new place and it was quiet and empty he was a wreck--huge crowd, fair midway, noise and lights? Sweet! An audience! I can see where in both cases limiting their field of vision could be helpful.
                      Maybe Benny was an actor in another life. I think the blinkers are put on more for their concerns over the horses in the race than the crowds in the stands but there are always those unique ones.
                      "We, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit." JFK

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                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        thanx everyone

                        I never start a young horse out in blinkers no matter how lookie they are, I figure in awhile i'll know if they need them. I was really wondering what to do with an older horse(mare) who was running fab. when we bought her but is a neurotic pain who keeps stopping. Ran her fri with the A)jock who won on her for former trainer B)cut back 3/4 blinkers with side holes to 1/4 cups and taped over hole.....she got beat by a nose at the wire! Not sure what worked ,got a great ride tho in a race that set up perfectly for her, at least she got her heart back...we'll see NEXT race! thanks everybody.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Calamber View Post
                          Maybe Benny was an actor in another life. I think the blinkers are put on more for their concerns over the horses in the race than the crowds in the stands but there are always those unique ones.
                          Oh, he had his moments. He loved a crowd. Lucky on the other hand just sometimes is far more interested than anything except the monkey on his back.
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                          • #14
                            Sounds like Stella got her groove back and she got to see but not too much. Congratulations!
                            "We, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit." JFK

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                            • #15
                              Congrats on the almost win!

                              We took the blinkers off our stallion shortly after we got him at 9 years old. He wore them since his first start at 2, but we could see no reason he needed them and as a closer he just cupped dirt into his eyes and couldn't see around the field well when time to run came. It's improved his running in later years, and sure makes cleaning his eyes out nicer. At the age my particular horse is, he knows his job and he never was a looky-loo in the mornings, in the walk over, or in the paddock, and the jocks agreed he didn't need them so we tried and were happy with the results.

                              I've often hear of people adding blinkers to young horses to add speed, but I don't know how true that is.

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