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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 12 year old TWH that I trail ride on but he is a bit TOO nosey, he wants to stop and look at everything.. I’ve honestly never met a horse as curious as him lol. He’s not overly spooky, so that isn’t the problem

The problem is his curiosity

I don’t know if I like the quarter cups even though that is most likely what I need but I was Thinking about purchasing the French cup for him that restricts his sight from behind only
 

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I asked a few years back, overall consensus was that it may not be safe - basically you want the horse to avoid danger out on trails. You don’t want them to sidestep into a tree or spook sideways into a ditch. Mind you, it depends on the trails you ride as well. If you ride well kept, flat as a pancake type of trail then maybe. Going through woods or up and down hilly terrain, past ravines… not a good idea.

I personally don’t mind a curious horse, prefer them to shut down ones especially if they aren’t spooky.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah, I was kind of thinking about trying the French cup instead. It only prevents the horse from seeing behind but still allows them to see in the front and from the side
 

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I would not....
When you take away part of his natural defensive mechanism such as limiting his sight, the not spooky may become a spook and even if you remove those cups restricting his sight he may never revert back to a non-spooky horse.

For me personally, my horse can be as alert and inquisitive as he wants on a trail riding situation where his senses he uses to keep you safest, fact.
I would not ever take away my horses natural ability to be that dependable, unflappable and darn if he hasn't saved my butt from venomous snake, once from a charging feral mama pig and a few times from a alligator who lurked in the tree undergrowth I missed but his keen sight caught the motion when his hindend was approached and in a flash, a snort of warning and we was gone..
As soon as the danger was over, he shook his head & neck and resumed his quiet demeanor always on guard peacefully walking a trail.
I would not ever reduce my trusted mounts ability to protect him and me...I would not.
Looking around is your horse watching for danger to keep you both safest...one of those things you want in a trail horse extraordinaire is my thought.
I don't object to that in a ring setting either....being aware of "dangers" you miss as we tune out but horses do not.
🐴...
 

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I can't imagine ever wanting a good trail horse to be less curious and less able to respond to situations you encounter on the trail. What if bikers or ATVs are coming up behind you and the horse doesn't see until they're side by side? That sounds terrifying. It just sounds really unfair to ask your horse to go into an environment where you want them to be a good partner in navigating whatever you encounter out in "the real world," but then take away their ability to know what's going on around them. I really think this is a bad idea.
 

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We have a TWH mare that is super curious as well and it has been a treat to ride her. She naturally gravitates toward items that others may find scary and gives confidence to the other horses. This is my daughters young mare and if Sawyer gets a little to nosey she just redirects her attention by lifting the reins or asking for a leg yield. I love a curious horse! Take advantage of it and explore!

PS- as an avid trail rider I cannot imagine taking away part of my horses vision - could be dangerous.
 

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just out of curiosity, if blinders are so dangerous for a horse, how come they were so widelly used in cab, cart, stage coach, etc. horses? where spooking would be very dangerous , too.
 

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just out of curiosity, if blinders are so dangerous for a horse, how come they were so widelly used in cab, cart, stage coach, etc. horses? where spooking would be very dangerous , too.
Good question. I think it's either:
"Tradition" (though, I have seen more driving horses without blinders).
or
Trails are (or can be) very uneven. On the road, it is (usually) very flat and "groomed." There are usually not too many holes or rocks or whatever to fall in or trip over.
 

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just out of curiosity, if blinders are so dangerous for a horse, how come they were so widelly used in cab, cart, stage coach, etc. horses? where spooking would be very dangerous , too.
Those are vehicles being dragged behind a horse, which a horse may see as "chasing" it to kill it. Back in the day, no one had time to work out such sillies, they needed to hook up n go at early ages.

You can train horses to not need them, most will be possible to teach, a few never will be.

On a trail, a deer or biker or who knows what may rush out and horse needs to know that. It needs to know if there's a drop off behind it or trees if it spooks.
It's also just easier to teach it to respect you and to work, than to accept blinders and then ALSO train it to not spook/bolt when things just show up in their now huge, new blind spot.
 

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I loved that my gelding liked to look down every pathway, over bridges, down people's driveways, it meant that we were both interested in where we were going. I didn't have a problem as long as he kept walking and listening to me.

I like them to see everything as well, especially if I'm in traffic.

@tinyliny - In the past they didn't have to worry about the same amount of traffic as now. Their main issue was preventing the horse from running from the attached carriage. The carriage would always stay behind but today a blinkered horse could have cars and trucks appearing at neck and head height from the back and sides. That's okay if they've been exposed to this when they were being trained for driving but most riding horses will never have experienced blinkers and traffic.
Equally,they tend to be on tracks or roads, rather than uneven trails with hills and ditches, where all round sight could prevent a fall or spook.
Help to focus on their work was another reason but that doesn't encourage horses to enjoy their surroundings as we'd like today.
No doubt that it is a grey area. I'm sure that there's many horses who go better in an open bridle in a carriage and ridden horses who do better with blinkers; training also helps and there's also tradition; I've never seen a riding horse in them that wasn't on a race track. I think it would raise a few eyebrows here.
 

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Enjoy the curious horse! Mine is the same. He is constantly wanting to walk down new trails, even just an opening in the woods that looks like a trail to him. He also has a terrible sense of spacial awareness so if I let him he would try to squeeze into spaces he can't physically manage, lol. So I keep him on the straight and narrow. It means having a constant "conversation" with him on trails. I've gotten into the habit of doing this so he remembers I'm up there. I don't nag or anything, but I keep the reins short enough that I can easily do a little tweak to remind him that we are going in the direction I decide. No riding on the buckle for us, as he has bolted in the woods.

Curious horses are the most fun kind. My guy is awful in the ring, so I really enjoy that he is alert and happy on trails. I would never deprive him of that joy. And as others have said, I think blinders would be risky. My horse goes on high alert on trails, but in a good way, because he is stimulated by his environment.

You can try to train your horse to focus a bit more on you when you're trail riding by keeping it interesting. Ask him to move over with your leg, change gaits, halt, keep it interesting. I find if I just let my horse pick his way, he is more likely to get distracted.
 

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From a different safety standpoint...
Blinkers/blinders stick out away from the eye and face a bit and can trap foreign material or debris to the eye area.
Twigs that the animal would just normally brush past now have something to stick into and hold, snap off and potentially harm the horses eyesight and facial structures...dangerous.
For me, flies and biting insects with the possibility of them being trapped and attacking my horses face is just to much to risk..
Understand how far out these items are and where that translates to in a trail situation...
Horse Working animal Bit Liver Horse supplies
Glove Eyewear Personal protective equipment Snout Recreation
Horse Eyelash Working animal Jaw Liver

This is a average, some may not protrude as much and many protrude further..

The very real threat if you have never had a horse get their head stuck and held by something like a branch through a halter or bridle...you can not imagine the fight and fright the horse will react to... :eek:
Please, please really think about what you are considering may mean for the horse and your ultimate safety.
🐴...
 

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One trainer, whose book I read, when the discussion was on horses that are spooky, or overly interested in external surroundings, he said not to fall in the 'trap' of looking everywhere your horse looks. He likened it to being passive tourists on a bus narrated by a tour guide; "and on your right, we have . . . . . " . YOu aren't a passenger or a tourist you ARE the bus driver.
 

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@tinyliny On the other hand I think it is Warwick Schiller who is a proponent of looking where your horse looks to build a bond. “I see you looking and I will look with you” type of thing. I have absolutely no idea which of those two options is correct. As one child said “I am confused all the time”.
 

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@tinyliny On the other hand I think it is Warwick Schiller who is a proponent of looking where your horse looks to build a bond. “I see you looking and I will look with you” type of thing. I have absolutely no idea which of those two options is correct. As one child said “I am confused all the time”.
In my opinion, it depends on the horse. I've had horses that spooked if I looked at something they were noticing, seeming to think that meant I was concerned also. Others were more confident if I looked at what they saw.

In this case, the horse might think that his rider is noticing things to explore also, so it might be worth a try to only focus on the trail ahead.
 
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