How does a horse see color?

Last Updated on March 8, 2022 by Allison Price

Horses can see certain colors. Horses don’t have the ability to see color as humans. Trichromatic color vision is what humans and other primates have. This is because they have three types cone cells in their eyes. Dichromatic vision is the most common type of color vision among non-primate mammals. Horses and other animals that have this vision only have two types cone cells in their eyes.

The diagram to right shows both the hues normal humans can see as well as the hues horses can see. Normal humans can see four primary colors: red, green, blue and yellow. There are many intermediate hues that can be seen between these primary colors. Horse vision is very similar to that of a person who is color-blind. Horses only see yellows and blues. Horses can’t see intermediate hues, however, unlike humans.

 Horse See Color

These four photos are taken from the journal article. The top two photos are normal photos. They represent how a normal person would view the world. The bottom two photos were altered to approximate the way a horse might see the world. The photos were also altered in color and sharpness to approximate a horse’s view.

You will notice that some items that are obvious in the top photos can be difficult to see in bottom photos. In the top photo, for example, the child to the right is wearing bright clothing. In the bottom photo, however, the horse sees his jacket as a grey shade. It is crucial to understand how your horse views the world in order to be able to train and ride. Horses see the world differently from us so they might react differently in certain situations.

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!