Headgear: Visor, Cheekpieces, Eyeshield, Hood

Visor

A visor is similar to blinkers, except that the cups have a hole or slit cut into them, allowing some limited vision to the side or rear. A trainer may think it useful to know if another horse is coming up behind it.

Mick Channon’s good filly Malabar, fourth in the 1000 Guineas in 2015, appreciated the drop in grade when taking the Group 3 Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes at Goodwood. Channon explained that Malabar was small, and he had put the visor on so that the filly didn’t feel intimidated.

Cheekpieces

Cheekpieces comprise two sheepskin strips which are fitted to the cheek straps of the bridle. As with the use of blinkers or a visor, the intention is to help a horse concentrate by partially restricting its rear vision. Jockey Tom Scudamore, interviewed in 2015, said that cheekpieces or blinkers could help a horse with its jumping, as the headgear encouraged it to attack its fences.

Noting that his handicap chaser Woodford County had been looking around him and not concentrating when beaten at Huntingdon, trainer Philip Hobbs applied the cheekpieces next time out at Chepstow, and the horse duly obliged.

Eyeshield

As the name implies, an eyeshield is mainly used to protect a horse’s eyes from particles of mud or sand which are thrown up by the hooves of other horses. It looks similar to blinkers, but instead of the cowls both eyes are covered by a mesh or other transparent material. According to the rules of racing, this material must allow for adequate ventilation, and may be unsuitable in wet conditions when the kickback may stick to the eyeshield.

Hood

A hood comprises a head cloth without eye cowls but which covers the ears. It is used on horses that may react adversely to noise. Two year old colt Perceus was fitted with a hood on his second run after finishing third on his debut. Trainer Marcus Tregoning explained that Perceus was an excitable sort, and as it was a windy day and rather noisy, the hood might help to calm him. Roger Varian said that a hood had helped his four year old filly Princess Loulou. The clanging of the starting gate tended to upset her, and the hood muffled the noise. Horses which are worried by the noise and bustle of the pre-race paddock might wear a hood, which is removed when they leave the paddock to canter down to the start.

November 2018Conformation Of The Racehorse (5)An understanding of a horse’s conformation – Legs
 
October 2018HeadgearHeadgear: Visor, Cheekpieces, Eyeshield, Hood .....
 
September 2018BlinkersBlinkers are worn to prevent a horse from being distracted during a race....
 
August 2018Going To PostThe way a horse moves on its way to the start can be a good indication of how it’s feeling....
 
July 2018Paddock Behaviour (1)How a racehorse behaves as the groom leads it to the pre-race paddock, or in the paddock itself, can....
 
June 2018Sprinters And StayersWhether a racehorse is better over short or long distances depends largely on its breeding and ....
 
May 2018Conformation Of The Racehorse (4)An understanding of a horse’s conformation – More About Backs
 
April 2018Conformation Of The Racehorse (3)An understanding of a horse’s conformation – Back, Flanks and Loins....
 
March 2018Racehorse bridles and bitsRacehorse bridles, bits and nosebands
 
February 2018Conformation Of The Racehorse (2)An understanding of a horse’s conformation – Neck and Shoulders....
 
January 2018Conformation Of The Racehorse (1)An understanding of a horse’s conformation – the way its body is put together – is especially useful....
 
December 2017An Introduction To HeadgearRecent performances of horses wearing blinkers, cheekpieces, a visor or a hood....
 
November 2017All About Tongue-tiesA tongue-tie, also called a tongue strap, is usually a soft cotton, nylon or leather band....
 
HawkOwl Web Design

Picking Winners On Looks - Conformation (4): More About Backs