Once you learn about how your horse sees, you will be in awe by how much trust they have in us!
Horse have the largest eye of any land mammal, but that doesn’t mean they have the best sight. You may be surprised to learn the limits of their eyesight.
Since horses are a prey animal, they can see almost 360 degrees. They have one blind spot that is directly behind them at the base of their tail. If they move their head slightly around, they can then see in that blind spot. This is why horses can so accurately kick something that walks behind them and why you would always make sure you horse knows it’s you back there!
Horse have limited color vision. They have dichromatic vision, whereas we have trichromic, being able to see all three wavelengths of visible light.
Research suggests they see color in the same way a human who is red-green colorblind probably does. In the below picture, a non-color blind human sees a green and red apple. The bottom row is how a horse likely sees the same apples.
What’s really incredible is that horses cannot really focus on something the way we do. For example, we can focus close in when we are reading a book and then far away to drive or watch a movie. Horse’s have hardly any “accommodation” as it is called, so they cannot do this. In addition, they have little to no depth perception.
Consider that, when you think about horse’s jumping for example. According to a new story on Fox News, this is what a jump looks like to a horse versus his rider from just 2 meters away (approx. 6 ½ feet):
At 3 meters away, the jump loses focus and by that 2 meter mark, the horse has cannot judge the distance to the jump, or even see it accurately.
Watch the full news story below to see more about how a horse’s vision effects how she sees a jump course:
Pretty amazing that they jump at all, isn’t it? As the reporter says, it’s proof that a strong, trusting bond is needed between horse and rider. After all, they can’t even see what you are asking them to do. Same goes for gaming events, cow roping, and even of the other countless sports we ask of our horse – or even something as simple as side passing up to a gate to open it.