Are Horses Color Blind? [know Horses Vision]

If you usually spend a lot of time with your horse, you may be is like and how they perceive color. If you’ve ever specifically wondered whether horses are color blind, the short answer is no, they aren’t color blind.

Vision is vital in horses as they need it to engage in activities like navigating jumps and carrying people to and from various destinations. Even though they aren’t color blind, we need to understand some facts connected to their vision. For instance, the colors they can see and those they can’t, how they see color, and how their vision looks. Let’s go through all the facts you need to understand about your horse.

Are Horses Color Blind?

The truth is horses aren’t color blind. This is because they have a dichromatic type of vision. This essentially means that their eyes possess just two categories of cone cells. This is unlike humans who have trichromatic vision.

Are Horses Color Blind

Therefore, horses can detect some hues like green and blue well. However, they cannot recognize red. As for us, our vision enables us to differentiate shades that are in a wavelength of three. And this is not the same case for horses. They can only distinguish shades in regions of two wavelengths. Thus, horses cannot distinguish red color just like individuals who are color blind.

What Colours Can a Horse See?

A horse can see yellow and blue colors. However, they do not recognize vibrant hues like orange and red. And since horses have two kinds of cone cells in their eyes, they possess a dichromatic color vision. This is unlike the primates and human beings, who usually have three cones.

What Colours Can a Horse See

Keep in mind that this is what provides human beings with a trichromatic vision. Therefore, we can identify yellow, green, blue, and red shades. We can also see a lot of intermediate colors between the primary tones. However, as for the horses, they are not likely to see an intermediate color.

What Does A Horse’s Vision Look Like?

A horse’s vision is unique. It is almost the same as that of a colorblind human being. According to research, a horse always finds it difficult to distinguish green and brown backgrounds. For instance, people who are red deficient cannot see a reddish-purple shade. Moreover, they cannot identify red in a grey-colored environment. This indicates that these results are in line with those conducted on individuals with both red and green shade deficiencies.

What Does A Horse's Vision Look Like

However, a horse can recognize yellow-green dots which are on a grey-dotted setting. This leads to the conclusion that a horse is not blue shade deficient. The animal can see stuff just like individuals who are deficient in red-green color. Besides, red, orange, yellow, and green possibly seem similar to a horse. This does not imply they are limited when it comes to vision. A horse may be using visual hints like brightness, depth, and shade variation to see color well.

How Horses See Color

Horses can only detect two wavelengths of visible light since they are dichromatic. For this reason, they have restricted color vision. Studies indicate that a horse can recognize shades the same way as persons who cannot see red-green color.

What Colors Can Horses Not see?

Since horses have two types of cone cells in the retina, they do have a limited shade recognition than human beings. This means they can detect a few hues. Besides, they can see both blue and yellow well. Reports also state that they can see green, yellow, and blue from gray but not red.

This is a sign of the horses having difficulty differentiating red from green. Hence, the same case as individuals who encounter tone blindness with the green and red colors. The horses can react to hues, though not as humans do. They can only detect shades at a shorter frequency, meaning their color vision is weaker than ours.

What Colors Attract the Horses?

Colors that attract horses more are lighter tones and blue shades. In a study, six buckets full of water were used to examine if horses get drawn to some shades. The color varied from red, yellow, green, light green, turquoise, and light blue. They were then examined for more than fifteen years.

The Haflingers and Thoroughbreds visited the buckets in a paddock for seven hours during this time. The buckets were then swapped every day to prevent the horses from remaining in the same place. The researchers realized that horses loved turquoise pails extensively, followed by the remaining lighter shaded buckets. What does this imply? Light colors, particularly, turquoise attract horses more than all other colors.

What Colors Scare off Horses?

Even though horses are popularly known for having intimidating posture and size, they are generally afraid of some colors. Researchers found out that horses react negatively to shades like blue, black, white, and yellow.

As for gray, red, brown, and green, they don’t frighten the horses. However, they react a little bit when the shades are on walls as opposed to the floors.

Therefore, if you plan to redecorate and paint the walls with a distinct shade, consider choosing keenly. Study the ones they prefer and those they are more afraid of. Keep in mind that when you use the wrong hue in their surroundings, it will disrupt their management and training. Additionally, it may be dangerous whenever you handle or ride your horse.

You may also not be sure of how yours may behave. Thus, you need to avoid adding shades that can scare them. If you have never thought of how hues may affect your horse’s attitude, you need to take note of that. Moreover, it’s not only your barn or stall’s interior that affects your horse. Even when outside, they can be easily disturbed by bright fluorescent shades.

Do Horses See in the Dark?

Horses are luckier with night vision than human beings who cannot see well in a dark room. This usually happens as we move from a place with too much light to a darker one. Moreover, our eyes need time to adjust, and after some time, they eventually do. This does not imply we are better since we cannot do things in the dark.

Do Horses See in the Dark

On the other hand, horses can see adequately in darker spaces due to tapetum lucidum. This is a natural light intensifying layer. It is found in their eyes and can reflect light on the retina to enhance their vision, even in the dark. Another exciting thing about them is, they also have enormous eyes compared to other organisms in the animals’ kingdom.

Breed Vs. a Horse’s Vision

Breeds with a better and persistent vision are mainly those with a flatter and straight nose, just as Thoroughbreds. They are also horses with roman noses like Standardbreds and those with outward curved noses. The ones with dished faces as Arabian do have a terrible vision which starts deteriorating fast as time passes. This is why Arabian crossfires are a bit reluctant when in contact with darker materials like asphalt.

At What Age Does A Horse Have The Best Vision?

A horse has the best vision when younger. To be more precise, the best age is always seven years. At this time, their eyes are completely developed and have not yet started deteriorating in age. As for the old ones, they begin losing vision. The more they grow, the more their vision gets blurry.


Horses are not color blind, though; their notable shade spectrum is more restricted than other animals and human beings. There are also colors which they love, and it would be better if you painted everything around using those tones. And the next time you give your horse water, ensure you use buckets they are comfortable around.

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