Sunday, June 22, 2008


The Use of Blinkers

The use of blinkers does not eliminate the risk of accidents. Blinkers are often used in an effort to help maintain the animals' concentration, and yet they can actually have the opposite effect. If horses are startled - for instance, by a noise or by being touched - they may panic and yet are further disturbed by being unable to see what is happening around them. Even in horse racing, where the distractions from other runners are routine and familiar, the use of blinkers is being debated. During the 2001 Grand National in Europe, Paddy's Return created havoc at Canal Turn bringing down several horses. Racing authorities believe that the use of blinkers could have contributed to the accident.

Blinders (or blinkers) actually serve a dula function. One is to keep the horse from startling if something comes up from behind, yes. But the other is just as important: when a horse turns his head to look behind or bite at a fly, et al, the blinder keeps the shaft from hitting his eye. (The shafts are the wooden poles attached to the carriage that extend alongside either side of the horse)
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