Why Do Police Horses Wear Blinders & Visors?

why do police horses wear blinders and visors

Have you ever seen police horses wearing those blinders, eye masks, or visors whilst on duty in public? Well, there’s an interesting reason why police horses to wear these which today we’ve asked a serving police officer to answer for us. Here’s the response with a quick answer followed by some very interesting detail.

Why do police horses wear blinders and visors? Police horses wear blinders to reduce distraction and improve focus. When the horse cannot see what is happening behind, it will focus on what it can see in front. They also wear visors to protect their eyes from injury from projectiles. 

It makes sense that police horses have blinders over their eyes if you can perhaps imagine a riot or public order scenario. The police rider will need to focus on the horse on a target or task and won’t want them being spooked by something happening in their peripheral vision.

This is very similar to how racing horses have their eyes covered. It helps them focus on what’s in front of them, rather than distractions to their sides or behind them. Horses often react to perceived danger by trying to run away, causing a dangerous situation for their riders. 

And of course, police horses wear visors to protect against an attacker or something flying at them. 

Are blinders safe for police horses?

Blinders are generally safe except for the few instances where the horse feels threatened due to its impaired vision of its surrounding. 

The horse is a prey animal, and its survival is significantly dependant on its ability to assess its surroundings. However, this is not a problem since a police horse is safe from any predators.

When do police put blinders on their horses?

Police horses will wear blinder when they anticipate a chase or when in a public order scenario

The primary role of the blinder is to block sight. When the horse cannot see what is happening behind, it will focus on the front and run faster. When a chase horse is needed, the blinded one will run faster.

When working in crowded and potentially hostile areas

Police officers don’t want their horse getting spooked by a stranger. To prevent this, I will reduce what my work companion can see to the minimum. No matter what is happening around the horse, it will only focus on the front.

If the horses will be involved in police operations

Gunshots and the sight of heavy equipment will frighten a horse around a police operation. To reduce this, I would choose to blind the horse as much as possible.

Why do police use horses?

From as far back as the 18th-century, police have used horses in their operations. Today we see police officers on horseback at events, patrol and might wonder why. 

Few police tasks require a police officer to work with a horse. It is just a way to improve the efficiency of the force.

When controlling crowds

It is the most common use for horses by police globally. It offers the advantage of better visibility and quick maneuvering around crowds. A horse can move in a crowd more quickly than a car or high-riding motorbike.

The improved visibility enables an officer to identify the inciters and suppress them with minimal harm quickly. Horses are helpful when police need to restore peace during violent demonstrations or crowd fights. 

That is why there are police on horseback at football or soccer matches due to the violence that can be a possibility. Horses make crowd control much easier due to their size, which scares and disperses rioters. 

During riots, people stone and smash police cars, but people are less likely to raise their hands against a horse. It protects the police officer on it from the angry mob.

A horse can maneuver more easily

One thing we all love about the horse is its adaptability to change in geography. A horse can move into places cars cannot, like shallow passages and at high speeds.

People are afraid of their height, and they will quickly give way whenever they see one. A horse will go into almost any forest to retrieve whoever is needed.

They work well in search and rescue missions

A squad car is fast and efficient but not in search and rescue missions. It cannot move around thick bushes searching for survivors, but a horse can. That is why no matter how outdated they might seem; horses are not leaving the police department anytime soon.

What kind of horses do the police use?

The Percheron

These are easy to identify due to their masculinity and calmness. They originated from France, and police around the world widely use them. 

In ancient times, they were used to pull heavily loaded carts. They even participated in weight-pulling competitions. The Percheron can endure heavy loads and gallop away at high speeds.

The quarter horse

This American breed has proven to be the go-to horse for almost anything, from leisure riding to competitions. 

They are around 15 hands high and are built for quick sprints. The quarter horse comes in different colors and is relatively easy to train. There is not much regret among users of this horse.


We often see police horses wearing cups around their eyes and wonder why. Hopefully by going to get the story from a police officer, this has helped answer your question.

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Image in header via https://pixabay.com/photos/mounted-police-horse-rider-law-4133226/

Categorized as Horses