Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Horse’s Vision and Its Effects on Horsemanship

Horsecollaborative.com - Full Article

Posted on June 7, 2014 1:30 pm by Troy Griffith in Horse Health + Care, Natural Horsemanship, Training

Our horses see the world very differently from us in many ways. These differences, due to structure and placement of their eyes, have profound influences on how they react to visual stimuli and should be thoughtfully considered during their training and indeed in all aspects of horsemanship. These differences include field of view, color perception, light adjustment, motion detection, acuity and much more. In this article I hope to detail some of the differences and how they relate to training, riding and caring for horses.

Field of view

The horse’s eye is the largest of all land mammals and their location gives the animal a nearly 360° field of view; that is ‘nearly’ 360°. The horse cannot see directly in front of themselves for a short distance, nor directly behind themselves, unless they move their head. This is why we are all taught never to approach a new horse from either of these directions and to always make them aware of our location as we pass behind them. It is important to note that even though the horse can see in nearly a complete circle, only about 20% of that vision is binocular, the remaining 80% is monocular vision. This means that most of the field of view is seen by only one eye. This explains why your horse will try to swing his head to the side or ever turn his body, to look at something that has ‘caught an eye’. This is why it is so important that we earn the trust and respect of our horses in order to have them able to concentrate on the work we ask of them and not go casting about with their gaze in order to bring things into full view and enable depth perception...

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