As you probably know, horses are very sensitive animals. Not only do they feel emotions like fear and sadness, but also they can show strong emotion when stimulated. When a horse is not feeling well, or something makes it nervous or scared, then its eyes will be covered up to help protect themselfs.
This happens most commonly in two situations: during competitions or games where the horse is stressed or during training exercises where the horse needs more attention. During these times their eye coverings go away, which is why many people find it funny or interesting how exposed their face is!
However, this exposure can sometimes indicate that the horse does not feel safe or is struggling with something. This can negatively affect their performance so it is important to identify the cause of the nerves and work through ways to reduce the stress for your horse.
Why do they do it?
Many people wonder what could possibly motivate a horse to close its eyes. Some say it’s because they don’t want water to get in, while others believe it has to do with sleep. Others think it’s just part of their natural behavior.
Whatever the reason, covering their eyes is an instinctive response for horses and even though some might consider it weird, there is usually a reason behind it.
When horses run at speed, they need to be able to see well so that they can perceive changes in the terrain and other animals.
Horses have several types of eye structures which help them see better. The three major ones are called tapetum lucidum, crystalline lens, and iris.
The tapetum lucidum is an internal layer of tissue just like the one found in humans that helps bounce light back up towards the retina. This allows for brighter vision than without it because more light gets reflected back into the eyes.
For racing horses, having very bright tapetal layers is important because it gives them improved night vision.
By improving their night vision, they can pick out finer details such as bumps or dips in the track longer and therefore go faster!
This also helps prevent eye damage from happening because there is less risk of hitting something with too much fuzz covered up.
To prevent dust from getting into the eye
When a horse is working or competing, they are always keeping them active by doing different things. These activities include walking you through paddocks or arenas, exercising in other areas such as dressage or show jumping, or training on the track.
If a rider covers their eyes during any of these exercises, it can help protect their eyes from being hit with dirt or mud that may be floating around in the air. This also helps limit how well they are able to see while riding, potentially even causing them to lose consciousness due to lack of sight!
This is very dangerous not only for the individual but for anyone nearby who could get hurt too if the person falls off of the horse. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid this problem.
To prevent the horse from rubbing its eye
When horses are young, they need close attention to develop proper sight-related reflexes. As they get older, though, this instinct usually overrides that need.
As you’ve probably noticed, most racehorses have at least one rider who covers their eyes during races. It’s not only cute to see, it helps protect their vision.
But aside from protecting their eyes, there is another reason why riders cover a horse’s eyes.
It prevents the horse from rubbing or flicking an eye which could cause an infection or damage to the eye. This sometimes happens when a horse gets tired or stressed.
However, as horses age, they can lose some of their natural lubrication in their body. So, even if your horse doesn’t seem like he’s about to go crazy, make sure to check his eyelids for any signs of dryness or redness.
To prevent the horse from rubbing its face
Another cause for eye cover up is when horses are in need of dental care or general check-up procedures. If your horse has dry, itchy eyes, chances are he’s got mouth issues going on.
Dental problems can easily be masked under this rule. Unfortunately, some owners take their horse to the dentist at least once a year (if that) so why would you want to expose his eyes?
If possible, make sure your horse gets proper oral health by visiting the dentist regularly. If not, try using artificial saliva as a wash for his teeth to see if that helps reduce symptoms.
To prevent the horse from biting its tongue
When a horse is hungry, it will often bite down on anything that looks like food– even if it is not. This can cause trouble for horses that are already nervous due to other things or because they are thirsty.
If your horse has been acting strangely lately, she may be trying to eat something that makes her uncomfortable so she bites into the next thing she sees.
This could be her own mouth or someone else’s hand!
By closing one of their eyes, a horse can avoid looking at what she is chewing which might make her feel nauseous or dizzy. If your horse does this, try to get her to open up her eye slightly so she can see where she is going!
It may help to give her some carrots or apples to taste so she knows it is safe to let go of her fear.
To prevent the horse from injuring itself
When horses are young, they need eyes to learn how to control their bodies. As they grow up, this instinctual behavior is removed or suppressed.
This is important because as humans we also develop instincts with our body parts- for example, your hands have an innate ability to feel textures and temperature.
Hence, if you ever put something cold in your hand, it’s natural to grasp it tighter to feel its texture and determine whether or not it’s warm. But unfortunately, some people may keep their hands closed even when their fingers sense that something is wrong.
It’s like when someone comes across broken glass and doesn’t worry about getting cut until they realize there’s no way to pull out the piece. Only then do they try to pick it out of their skin. It’s only later that they think about why they didn’t just use their other hand.
By covering one of your horse’s senses, he will be less likely to pay attention to it
That is what happens with blindfolded horses. Because horses rely so heavily on feeling their surroundings through touch, they cannot perceive anything without at least one of their five basic sensory perceptions being stimulated.
To prevent the horse from having an infection
When horses are young, their eyes do not close completely, which is what helps them see better as they grow up. As they get older, however, their eyelids develop strong muscles that help protect their eyes by closing tightly to preserve more of the fluid in their eye.
When this happens, though, it can make it harder for them to regulate internal body temperature. Since horses are cold-blooded, they need liquid to keep cool. If they cannot regulate their own heat, then things may go wrong very quickly!
In fact, if a horse’s eyeball becomes dry, serious health problems could occur. Infection is one of the most common causes of watery eyes in horses.
So why does the horse have water come out of its eyes? Unfortunately, people sometimes hurt or scare the animal so much that the dog gets scared and has such a reaction. Sometimes a horse will hit his/her face when bumped into or thrown down onto the ground.