Have you ever wondered if your horse sees the color of that shiny red apple you put under his nose? If you’re under the impression he doesn’t see color, you’re not quite correct. Horses see two of the three visible wavelengths in the light spectrum.
What does that mean? They see certain colors, but not all. Your horse sees blues and browns, but not reds. So, that apple will probably look like a different color to him. It also won’t be nearly as vivid to his eyes as it is to yours.
Their sight does improve in the night though. Your horse can see much better in darker conditions than you can. Maybe that nighttime trail ride isn’t such a bad idea, after all. One thing to consider though, is that their eyes don’t adjust quickly to changes from dark to light. You will notice that when you turn the lights on your horse may blink for quite a while.
It gets even more interesting! Because of the location of their eyes, horses can see nearly 360 degrees around them. There is one hang up though. Remember the safety lesson of don’t stand behind a horse? That’s because they can’t see short distances directly in front and behind themselves.
It’s important to know how your horse perceives the world around him. It could explain why he’s more afraid of shadows and what he sees close up and far behind. It will help improve your safety when working with him, as well.
(Originally published in December 2016).