Last Updated on March 2, 2022 by Allison Price
A COMPLETE GUIDE TO HORSE’S EYESIGHT
Knowing your horse’s eyesight can help you understand why they behave in certain situations. Although you might think that horses’ eyesight is the same as that of humans, it could be far more different. Horses’ vision is very different from humans and other animals, in every way.
How do horses see? Horses have the largest eyes of any land mammal. This size has many advantages and disadvantages. Two types of vision are available to horses: monocular and binocular. Although horses rely mainly on monocular vision, their binocular vision is essential for distance and depth perception.
This post will reveal many interesting facts about horses’ eyesight. These facts will allow you to care for your horse more effectively. We’ll also talk about the most common eye problems horses can experience in old age.
Although most equestrians are familiar with the basics of their horse’s vision, they don’t know all the specific capabilities and challenges that go along with it.
Horse Vision: Monocular Vision vs. Binocular Vision
Monocular vision allows horses to see both their eyes separately when using monocular vision. This important trait allows horses to be alert for approaching dangers.
Binocular vision accounts for 20% of horses’ eyesight. Binocular sight, which is 20% of a horse’s eyesight, provides a narrow area of vision, approximately 65 degrees, directly in front of their eyes through both eyes.
Binocular vision is only 20% of your horse’s eyesight so it can lead to horses being frightened by sudden movements.
Horses can switch between monocular and binocular vision depending on their situation. This is just one of many unique features that make horse eyesight so special.
Horses and Color
One of the oldest myths about horses’ vision is that they are colorblind. This is a myth that we now know to be false. Your horse may be able to see certain colors but not all.
Horses are unable to distinguish two colors green and red . White and blue are however easily seen. These two colors are used to paint many obstacles and arenas.
Although horses may not be colorblind, it’s safe to assume they don’t see color nearly as clearly or as vividly as humans.
Horses in the Dark
Horses are sensitive to low light, even in the middle of the evening, and can be easily detected in low-light situations. Horses are able to decipher objects in darkness, which is very important in the wild.
Horses can be nervous about entering darkened areas or tunnels. If these situations are frequented, you can help your horse become more confident in them.
Understanding the Blind Spots in Horses’ Eyesight
Another interesting aspect of horses’ vision is its ability to see almost 360 degrees. Experts agree that they have two blind spots. One is directly in front and one is directly behind.
It is crucial that you are able to identify blind spots and how to navigate them as an equestrian. Too often, young riders approach horses from a blind spot, putting themselves at risk of injury. For more information, see my guide to staying safe around horses.
Approaching Horses from Their Blind Spots
Horses can startle easily and feel uncomfortable when they are lost of their owner for long periods. Some situations might require you to approach your horse through their blind spots. However, it is important that you make sure your horse is aware that you are there.
It is best to approach horses from the side. This will ensure that you are always visible to them. This will reduce the chance of your horse spooking or injuring themselves or you.
Common Horse Eyesight Issues
Ocular trauma is the most common problem with horse eyesight. Ocular trauma is a serious problem for horses because of the size of their eyes. Trauma can be caused by food, dirt, sharp objects, and even other horses. Ocular trauma is often very obvious even for an untrained eye.
Redness, swelling and even visible tears will be common. Ocular trauma can quickly lead to a fungal or bacterial infection so it is crucial that you get immediate medical attention. The risk of permanent injury to your horse’s eyes is higher if an infection has already occurred.
Horses can suffer from retinal atrophy or cataracts, just like humans. If not treated properly, cataracts can cause horses’ vision to become cloudy and eventually lead to blindness.
Glaucoma is a common problem in equine eyesight. Glaucoma is a neurodegenerative ocular disorder that often develops as a result of another eye disease. Glaucoma is a condition that causes the cornea to appear blue.
Equestrians and horse enthusiasts have all heard of moon blindness, which is the common name for uveitis. Uveitis refers to inflammation of the eye that eventually leads to a compromise in the iris. Uveitis is characterized by redness, pain, and cloudiness. To save horses’ vision, this condition needs to be treated quickly and aggressively.
Caring for a Blind Horse
As they age, horses can begin to decline. The majority of vision problems in horses over 15 years old are caused by blindness. However, you can take steps to make sure your horse is comfortable and safe.
Your horse may lose their vision. Make sure they have a safe and easy way to navigate the area. Don’t change their environment. This will eliminate stress and confusion.
Horses with impaired vision might not be able to cope well in large groups. They may prefer to be alone, but some blind horses enjoy the company of a friend in the pasture. Watch your blind horse carefully to ensure they have access to the water and food they require.
This look at the eyesight of horses will help you better understand the unique abilities and challenges that your horse faces. We can offer better care and training by looking at the horse’s perspective.
Horse Eyesight Questions
Horses can see 360 degrees. Horses have 360-degree vision, a common misconception in the equine world. Horses can see almost 360 degrees. However, there are two blind spots that horses have: one in front and one behind.
Can horses see pink? Horses can see certain colors but not all. Horses cannot distinguish between red and green. While they can see the differences between colors, horses are unlikely to be able to distinguish the pink color. In an effort to learn more about this topic, scientists and experts continue to study the way horses perceive colors.
Are horses able to see behind them? Horses can see at great distances with their monocular vision. This is crucial for their safety in the wild. Monocular vision can also prevent horses from seeing in front of them. It is important to approach horses from the side, not from the front.
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!