Can horses see color? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 05-01-2011, 09:50 AM Thread Starter
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Can horses see color?

I put up a temporary fence across my pasture with yellow electrical tape, to allow the back half to green up. My horses will go nowhere near it. The other day I decided to fence off a section of the lawn beside the pasture, as there is lovely grass there and they can see it right over the fence. I used t-posts and yellow flagging tape, to simulate the electrical tape. I only let them in there to graze for a couple of hours a day while I can watch them, but so far they have gone nowhere near the "fence". I was unsure when I did it if A. it would work at all, and B. they can even tell it's yellow. Can horses see the color, or can I use any color of flagging tape and it will make no difference? I want to move them around on the lawn so they can trim it evenly, and I AM watching them and keep their halters on just in case!
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post #2 of 8 Old 05-01-2011, 10:26 AM
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I don't know if they can or not. Some will say they can't. It could be that they don't like the sound of it moving in the wind or they understand that they are suppose to stay away.

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post #3 of 8 Old 05-01-2011, 01:22 PM
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From what I read long time ago (may be more research came out since that proving its not true) they can't really. As far as I can remember they see it in 2 or 3 colors, but can distinguish the shades. As for electric fence horses usually can feel the vibration coming from it (when they are close enough of course).

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post #4 of 8 Old 05-01-2011, 03:30 PM
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I think they can see shades of colours. My horse used to be really afraid of blue bins outside but not of the brown ones, yet they had exactly the same shapes. Now it's okay because I put treats on the bins so he just looks if there is something interesting to eat or ignore the objects but I know some colours seemed to frighten him. I think it may be a matter of it is dark or not (lost the word, OMG I think I'm going to sleep right after this post... need some rest lol) rather than pink yellow or green...
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post #5 of 8 Old 05-01-2011, 04:32 PM
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I thought that this experiment was cool: Colour vision in horses - do horses see colour? | Horsetalk - equestrian feature articles

Their conclusion:
"The answer is yes.

  • They can definitely see the difference between blue and grey, between yellow and grey and between green and grey.
  • It appears that yellow and the green we used look similar, although we need to study this further.
  • They can tell red from grey to some extent but they find this much more difficult than the other discriminations."

From my own observations I think that my horse can see hot pink, or at least differentiate between it and other colors. She will spot any bright pink object from across the room and insist that I let her sniff it. She will do this every day until the new object has become dirty and turned brown!
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post #6 of 8 Old 05-01-2011, 08:05 PM
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Ah yes Hot Pink.. I know my appy could see(or not see?) hot pink as he always reacted to it with "WTH is that" Normally it would be a shirt someone was wearing and as they moved he'd be all OMG... Now he doesn't see a dang thing as he is blind. He is the only one I've seen react like that to any color.

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post #7 of 8 Old 05-01-2011, 08:29 PM Thread Starter
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Actually now that you mention it I have had several horses that reacted that way to hot pink. You can hardly blame them- it's such an unnatural color. I suppose the only time they see anything like it in the wild is when something is dead and torn apart!
My phony fence seems to be working well, by the way. Except today it was windy and they started to get silly as soon as I let them out. They were back in their paddock within 5 minutes because they were spooking and charging around-the flagging tape was "humming" in the wind- I was afraid they would run right through it and then the game would be up for sure!
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post #8 of 8 Old 05-01-2011, 09:09 PM
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Yep, don't know what it is about the color but had the same horse react like that to a lady walking a bicycle down the street and also someone walking a block or 2 away thru trees... Heck, he had to turn around and look at the woman walking after we rounded a corner with a building blocking his view. LOL Silly horse..

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