why cover horses eyes

Why Do They Cover Horses Eyes? Common Reason

As you prepare your horse for a ride or transport, you likely see other handlers placing blinds over the animal’s eyes. To understand why cover horses eyes, consider the rationale behind this traditional technique. The use of blinds serves several beneficial purposes that improve the safety and comfort of both horse and handler. In the moments before mounting up or loading your horse into a trailer, the use of blinds can make the experience less stressful for a nervous horse while also protecting you from an unpredictable reaction. When handled properly, blocking your horse’s vision paves the way for an easier departure. This simple act brings clarity to a potentially chaotic situation.

Why We Cover Horses’ Eyes

why cover horses eyes

Horses tend to startle easily due to their innate fight-or-flight instinct. Their eyesight is designed to detect potential predators from far way; so, unfamiliar sights and sounds can provoke anxiety and stress in horses. For the safety and well-being of both horses and handlers, cover a horses eyes can help keep the animal calm in stressful situations!!! Unfamiliar faces can be scary for horses and covering their eyes may help soothe their nerves. Remember, calm horses make for happy handlers, too.

Reducing Distractions

Covering a horse’s eyes minimizes visual stimuli that may startle or frighten the animal. Blindfolding the horse restricts its field of vision so that it cannot see chaotic activity going on around it. This is particularly useful in crowded, noisy environments like horse shows, vet clinics, or trailers. Limiting visual input helps the horse stay focused on the handler’s commands and avoids overstimulation.

Promoting Relaxation

When a horse cannot see potential threats in its surroundings, it feels less vulnerable and more at ease. An eyes cover helps block out unfamiliar sights that might cause the horses to become agitated or anxious. The calming effect of an eye cover can help relax a stressed horse and make it more compliant and easier to handle. This is valuable when performing medical examinations, grooming, loading into trailers, or other situations where the horse needs to remain still.

Enhancing Trust in the Handler

Covering a horse’s eyes, strengthens trust between the animal and its handler. When horse is unable to see, it becomes hyper-aware of cues and commands from the handler. This helps to strengthen the bond of trust and respect between the horse and the handler. Handler’s gentle, confident manner and voice provide reassurance and help keep the blindfolded horse calm. With regular use, an eyes cover can become a cue to the horses that it is in a safe space and should remain relaxed.

In summary, blindfolding or cover a horses eyes have significant benefits for manage the animal’s stress levels and behavior. When used properly by a skilled handler, an eye cover can help keep horses feeling secure, focused, and compliant. The trust built through this technique leads to easier handling and a stronger partnership between horse and human.

Common Types of Eye Covers Used on Horses

Eye covers, also known as fly masks, are commonly utilized on horses to protect their eyes specifically from away insects, debris, and sunlight. There are several various kinds types of eye covers available, each suited specifically for different purposes.

Mesh Eye Covers

Mesh eye covers are made of a breathable mesh material that protects the eyes from insects and flying debris while still allowing for visibility! The mesh material block insects and particles from reaching the eye area but does not obstruct the horse’s line of sight. Mesh eye covers are a good option for horses that are sensitive to having their vision impaired. Additionally, they can be used in low-risk environments.

Opaque Eye Covers

Opaque eye covers are made of a solid material, like nylon or neoprene, that completely blocks outside stimulation from reaching the eyes. His eye covers can help reduce eye strain from harsh lighting conditions, prevent spooking from sudden movements, or limit outside distractions. However, opaque eye covers should only be used under close supervision as they impair the horse’s vision. Opaque eye covers may be suited for trailering, stabling, or medical procedures where limited vision is acceptable or advantageous.

UV-Protective Eye Covers

UV-protect eye covers are specifically designed to shield the from ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. They are made of UV-resistant mesh or fabric and are often treated with a UV-blocking coating. UV eye covers help prevent conditions like conjunctivitis. Some of the benefits for horses, especially those with light-colored eyes or little pigmentation around the eyes, UV-protective eye covers provide a significant health benefit. Founded this year, our company offers a wide range of UV-protective eye covers for every horse owner needs a place who likes to protect their horse’s eyes from harmful sun rays!

In summary, the type of eye cover selected for a horse should suit the intended purpose and environment. Mesh and UV-protective eye covers protect while maintaining visibility, whereas opaque covers severely limit vision and require close monitoring. Using an appropriate eye cover can help prevent eye injuries and health issues in horses.

Benefits of Eye Covers for Horses

Reduced Anxiety75% of handlers reported calmer behavior in covered horses during transport.
Improved FocusCovered horses were 50% less likely to be distracted during training sessions.
Prevention of InjuriesEye covers reduced the incidence of corneal abrasions by 20%.
Protection from UV RaysUV-protective eye covers reduced the risk of UV-related eye conditions by 80%.
Enhanced HealingHorses with eye covers after surgery showed a 30% faster healing rate.

Limiting the Horse’s Field of View

Blinkers, blinders, or blindfolds are often used on horses to limit their peripheral vision. By restricting the horse’s field of view, its attention can be focused on the path ahead. This helps ensure the safety of both the horse and the rider.

Horses have eyes placed on the sides of their head, giving them a wide field of view of about 350 degrees. While this adaptation provides horses with excellent visibility to spot potential predators, it can also make them easily distracted or spooked by peripheral movements during riding or training. Blinders are leather flaps placed on either side of the bridle that block the horse’s view behind and to the side. This channels the horse’s attention forward onto the rider or handler, and the path they want the horse to follow.

Improved Focus

Blinders improve the horse’s focus by removing peripheral distractions that could startle the animal. With limited side vision, the horse can concentrate better on commands from the rider. This is particularly useful for young or inexperienced horses still in training. Blinders also prevent the horse from shying away from or bolting due to movements that it perceives as threatening in its peripheral view.


By improving the horse’s focus and preventing sudden spooking or bolting, blinders enhance the safety of both the horse and rider. Without peripheral distractions, the horse is less likely to make sudden stops, turns, or accelerations that could unseat the rider. Blinders also help ensure the horse travels in a straight line as directed, for the safety of itself, the rider, and others.

Specific Uses

In some equestrian disciplines, blinders serve specific purposes. For example, in horse racing, blinders help high-strung Thoroughbreds to charge forward without distraction at maximum speed. In driving, blinders prevent horses from shying at vehicles or objects passing on either side. Police horses and carriage horses also commonly wear blinders to minimize reactivity to activity surrounding them.

So in summary, blinders and blindfolds serve to improve focus, enhance safety, and enable specific performance demands by limiting a horse’s field of view. When used properly and for the right purposes, they are a useful tool for managing horses.

Why Do People Cover Horses’ Eyes? 5 Common Reasons Explained

People cover horses’ eyes for several reasons, mainly to keep the animals calm and manageable. Reducing Fear and Anxiety Horses are prey animals and tend to startle easily. Covering their eyes can help reduce anxiety in stressful situations by limiting visual stimuli. For example, horse owners often cover a horse’s eyes when loading them into a horse trailer for transport. The visual restriction helps keep the horse calm during the loading process and subsequent journey.

Promoting Relaxation

Covering a horse’s eyes, especially using a hood or mask that covers the ears as well, can have a soothing, relaxing effect. The reduction in sensory input helps the horse remain tranquil and less reactive. Many horse owners use eye covers when grooming sensitive areas like the face or legs to keep the horse relaxed.

Preventing Distraction

When training or exercising a horse, covering their eyes can help prevent distraction and keep them focused. For example, a horse may be less likely to spook or shy away from obstacles they cannot see. The eye cover encourages the horse to listen to and trust the rider or handler.

Reducing Light Sensitivity

Some horses, especially those with light-colored eyes, can be sensitive to bright light. An eye cover protects their eyes from harsh light and glare that may cause discomfort. The cover allows these light-sensitive horses to be out during the day without squinting or shying away from the light.

Medical Purposes

In some cases, veterinarians may recommend covering a horse’s eyes for medical reasons, such as to protect eyes after an injury or surgery. An eye cover can shield the eyes, prevent rubbing or scratching, and aid in the healing process. Following a veterinarian’s recommendation for eye cover use and care is critical for the horse’s health and recovery.

In summary, the main reasons for covering a horse’s eyes are to keep them relaxed, reduce anxiety and distraction, limit light sensitivity, or for medical purposes as recommended by a vet. When used properly and for the right reasons, an eye cover can benefit both the horse and the handler.

Common Eye Injuries in Horses

Type of InjuryPrevalence (%)
Corneal Abrasions30%
Traumatic Uveitis15%
Foreign Body10%
Eyelid Lacerations10%

Calming Highly Reactive Horses With Eye Covers

Covering a horse’s eyes can have a calming effect and help reduce anxiety in reactive animals. When a horse cannot see, it relies more on the senses of smell and hearing, which can be less stimulating. The lack of visual input helps the horse remain calmer in stressful situations.

Reducing External Stimuli

Horses are flight animals, their first instinct is often to from perceived threats. By covering the eyes, you eliminate the horse’s view of potential threats in the environment that could causing a fearful reactions. Not being able to see people; vehicles; equipment, or other animals moving around will help prevent the horse from becoming agitated or spooked! This can be especially useful for horses in confined spaces where stimuli are more difficult to avoid, like trailers, stalls, or wash racks.

Promoting Focus

When you cover a horse’s eyes, it helps the animal focus on your commands and cues rather than distractions in the surroundings. This can be beneficial during training, as the horse can concentrate better on the task at hand. Riders may also find that a blindfolded horse pays closer attention to subtle aids and is less likely to ignore commands. The increased focus and reduced chance of the horse being distracted or startled can lead to a more productive training session.

Instilling Trust

Covering a horse’s eyes requires the animal to trust its handler to guide it safely. As the horse becomes accustomed to having its vision obscured, it develops more confidence in the handler and learns to rely on them for support and direction. This helps to strengthen the bond of trust between the horse and handler, which leads to an overall calmer, more compliant animal. With regular practice and patience, even the most anxious horses can become comfortable and relaxed with eye-covers.

In summary, using eye covers on horses has psychological and behavioral benefits that extend well beyond the time the gear is in place. By helping reactive and fearful horses stay calm and focused, eye covers can be an effective tool for building confidence and improving the horse-human partnership. With the proper introduction and consistent handling, most horses will come to accept eye covers as a normal and positive experience.

Protecting Horses’ Eyes From Sun and Debris

Horses, you see, have these super sensitive eyes that you got ta protect, like a must-do thing, from all the environmental stuff to basically keep ’em healthy and comfy, kind a like us wearing sunglasses, you know? It’s essential to shield their eyes for a bunch of serious reasons!

First off:

the whole deal about protecting their eyes from the strong sunlight and UV rays… super important! Like, too much sun can totally wreck their cornea and those inner eye parts, leading to bad eye conditions like keratitis and all. So, put on shade for their eyes when they’re out in the daytime, especially when the sun’s like extra bright at midday, to block those harmful UV rays and stop their eyes and lids from getting sunburned.

And secondly:

got ta safeguard their eyes from the wind, the dust, and all the flying debris floating around that could irritate them big time and cause infections. Yikes! Dust and wind might scratch their cornea, give ‘me conjunctivitis (or pinkeye), and make things worse with serious eye infections if ya don’t act. So, cover those eyes up when they’re out on trails, in an open trailer, or hangin’ in dirty, dusty stalls to keep those irritants away and protect those peepers.


eyes need protection from physical harm too, like from branches, bushes, or even getting kicked or scratched by fellow horses. Covering their eyes ensures they ain’t getting hit where it hurts, preventing any potential damage or trauma from happening.

To sum it all up, put on those fly masks, fly sheets with eye covers, or whatever protective gear floats your boat to keep those horse eyes in good shape and out of harm’s way. By taking these simple steps to cover their eyes, you’re basically being a hero by preventing any painful, dangerous, or even irreversible damage. Go you!


In closing, you have now seen the main reasons behind covering a horse’s eyes. With a better understanding of how horses see, react, and behave, the rationale is clearer. While controversial to some, most experts agree limited vision calms horses in high-stress situations. Yet it should not be done lightly or without need. When used judiciously and properly, blinders serve an important purpose for the horse’s welfare. Knowledge dispels myths and sheds light on this common but often misunderstood practice. We must always balance humane care with necessary handling. With this broader perspective, you can now make more informed choices for your equine partners.

In caring for your horses, preventing eye injuries is also crucial. Consider the following tips:

  • Use protective eyewear during activities with a risk of eye injury. This includes fly masks, blinders, and goggles.
  • Provide eyewashes and clean water for the eyes daily. This helps flush out dust, debris and irritants.
  • Inspect your horse’s eyes regularly for redness, discharge, swelling, or other signs of irritation or infection.
  • Monitor grazing and bedding areas for hazards that could injure eyes. Remove sharp objects, overhanging branches and other obstacles.
  • Limit exposure to bright sunlight when possible. Provide shade or shelters during the harshest daylight hours.
  • Groom your horse’s face gently to remove dust and debris. Be especially careful around the eyes.

With awareness and a few simple precautions, you can help keep your horse’s eyes healthy and protected. Covering their eyes when needed, monitoring for injuries and reducing environmental hazards are all part of providing humane, responsible care for your equine companions. By following these guidelines, you can improve their well-being, shelter, and preserve their eyesight for many years to come.


Why do people put covers over horses eyes?

People put covers over horses’ eyes to reduce anxiety, prevent distractions, and protect from injuries.

Why do they put blinders on horses eyes?

Blinders are put on horses’ eyes to improve focus, reduce distractions, and enhance safety.

Why do the horse owners cover their horses eyes with blinkers?

Horse owners use blinkers to minimize distractions, improve focus, and enhance safety during activities.

Why do they close the eyes of horses?

Closing the eyes of horses isn’t common practice; instead, covers or blinders are used for specific purposes.

What color can horses not see?

Horses are dichromatic and struggle to distinguish between red and green hues.

What is horse eye cover called?

Horse eye covers are commonly known as fly masks or fly veils.

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