Thursday, October 11, 2018

What colors can horses see?

Horses don't see colors the same way humans do. Like other non-primate mammals, they can distinguish yellow and blue, but they can't tell the difference between red and green. 

"A study has shown the orange framework on the right-hand fence is actually seen as
a shade of green by horses as in the left image." Image courtesy BBC and BHA.
Red or orange colors, commonly used for jumps, blend into the background from a horse's point of view. When takeoff boards are painted white and the hurdles are made a bright yellow, scientists at the University of Exeter discovered that the horse will jump farther. 

As a consequence, the British Horseracing Authority is revising the standard colors that it uses for the obstacles and frameworks.


William said...

Not to neigh or snort at your post on the colors horses can see, but I would like to add that I share a similar red-green color blindness (as does about 8% of the male population) and had difficulty in separating the pictures, though the difference in tone of the orange-green fence was easy to see.

Kate said...

That's intriguing.

Jim Douglas said...

Does this mean that a bull probably can't see the red color of a matador's cape?

James Gurney said...

Jim, yes, I hadn't thought of that. They probably should make the matador's cape fluorescent yellow.
William, Thanks for that. I guess that side by side image makes a good test for red-green color blindness. Most people don't know that most "color blind" folks can easily distinguish blue and yellow.

Matthieu B. said...

I am amazed that they did not figure it out earlier.