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.

5 comments:

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 Kiriyama said...

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