More horses are wearing compression masks when racing at Borrowdale Park so eventually one must wonder why.
I asked around and opinions varied from “It is supposed to affect pressure points on the horse’s head and that makes them calmer,” to “Works for a while as it is new to the horse but once they get used to it then it probably has no effect.”
The next step was to Google it, and I discovered compression masks “can also help increase poll flexion and provide relief for chronic TMJ soreness.”
So, what is TMJ? It is an acronym that stands for temporomandibular joint, and these are located on both sides of the face.
Fortunately, while engaged in this exercise I found a comprehensive article on compression masks, with pics, at https://www.equestrianlife.co.za/post/equine-compression-hoods?fbclid=IwAR20hGuvpgpz9s72sbKc-eztqaG837LcY-K-p24eJ_ICMoxCymVo8mZccx4 and this will give you all the information you need.
Borrowdale runner Seven Seas is shown here wearing a compression mask and earmuffs when she won the Champion Fillies Stakes on November 6, 2021. At the next meeting on November 21, wearing a compression mask, she finished unplaced, but in a much tougher field.
Maybe the jury is still out on this one.