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Blinkers are part of horse tack and are applied to the head. The objective of applying the equipment is to cut out peripheral vision, so a horse wearing blinkers will not be able to see to the side. The idea is to concentrate a horse’s mind of what is directly ahead of them, as horses can be distracted by the crowd and other horses and that can affect performance.
Blinkers are designed to make a horse focus on what is in front and not to the side and behind. Trainers believe some horses who wear blinkers will pay attention to the race and not any activity taking place away from the track.
Horses have peripheral vision which means they can see things to the side. If there are distractions in the crowd or amongst the rest of the field a horse may look to the side and lose focus on the race. Some horses have been known to run off course and lose their position in the race. Once that rhythm has been lost it is difficult to get back. The jockey is trying to steer the horse in a straight line because running over the shortest distance gives any horse the best chance of winning a race.
Trainers have to declare if a horse is wearing blinkers and once that declaration has been made a horse cannot run without them. The information is known to the public so bettors are aware which horses are wearing blinkers, as some horses perform better with the equipment and some without.