When someone is too optimistic it is said that they are seeing the world through “rose colored glasses”. And if someone is too narrow of mind it is said that they are, “going through life with blinders on”. Some people have a very narrow focus or tunnel vision in their thoughts and beliefs. Some won’t even investigate another point of view and become “closed minded”. Individuals need to have strong convictions but also an open mind.
Of course with horses, and for our discussion, race horses in particular, sometime get distracted by the many happenings around them and need to stay narrow of focus. Thoroughbred race horses have great peripheral vision and they can literally see behind themselves. The main purpose of blinkers is to take away the horses’ peripheral vision and keep them focused on the race ahead. One of the most common pieces of equipment for horse racing known to horse race handicappers are the blinkers.
Blinkers, also called blinders or even winkers, are the eye shields attached to the horse’s bridle or head cover to block his peripheral vision and keep him looking forward on the racetrack thereby keeping track distractions to a minimum for the horse. The trainer typically tries blinkers on the horse in the morning during gallops and during workouts to see if they help. The exercise rider should be able to tell a difference and would provide this valuable information to the trainer.
In most cases, maiden horses (horses that have never won a race) run without blinkers until they prove they need them. The jockey may tell the trainer after a race that the horse is looking around and isn’t interested in the race. The horse owner and trainer, are always looking for improvement in the horse, as is a horse race handicapper. And something as small as the blinker can significantly improve a horse’s focus and performance.