Horse Vision – Interesting Facts that Affect Horse Behaviour

Horse Vision – Interesting Facts that Affect Horse Behaviour

horse-eyeWhat it is about horses’ eyes?

Your life can be in turmoil, full of stress and worries and then . . . you look into the eyes of a contented horse, really look into them,  and it can have such an amazing effect on your day.

A large eye has a much more powerful effect, and horses have eyes larger than any other land mammal.

The more we understand the way that horses use their eyes, the easier they are to train and much of their natural behavior is related to their eyes.

Blind Spots


For instance, they have both monocular vision and binocular vision with a range vision of 350 degrees. Their ‘blind spots’ are just in front of their eyes and behind their head, over their back and their tail as shown in the image at right side*.

When we are working around horses, we must take care that they see us when we approach. If we approach from behind, their natural instinct could be to kick out with both back legs and run away.

If you are carrying an object they can’t see or have loose clothing that they can only see parts of every now and then, their natural instinct is to run away


Binocular Vision

HorseVisionThe two images above* show how the outline of a horse can affect their vision. Horses are prey animals and they rely on their eyes to see danger both near and far away. It is unnatural for them to only see what is in front of them and to lose their distance vision.

Any horse being ridden in a round outline with the head more vertical must have more trust in their surrounding areas, but more importantly with their rider. To achieve this type of outline, the rider must have an established seat and be consistent with their aids to ride the horse forward into a contact.

A jumping horse may raise their head a few strides in front of a jump, to assess the jumps and their take off spots. By the time the horse is ready to take of and go over the jump, the obstacle has already disappeared from their sight.

Monocular Vision

horse-visionA monocular vision is the ability to see with both eyes separately. This allows the horse to view what is on either side of their body (as shown in the image above*), although their ability to see through monocular vision is not as clear as their binocular vision.

You may be out on a trail and your horse will move away or ‘shy’ from a scary object. As your horse moves away from the scary object, they will turn their head to see the object with both eyes.

Sometimes, particularly with less experienced horses and less confident horses they will appear to have two different ability levels on either side of their body. They may be ridden past an object a number of times viewing it out of one eye. Then they are ridden past this same object on the other rein to view it out of the other eye and they take fright.

Horse Behaviour and Instinct

Horses use their eyes to help with their well-developed instinctive reaction to run away from any possible danger and to flee their predators. This instinct is still exists in the modern horse, but through domestication and training they have gained trust in humans.

This special bond between horses and human has been well researched to have a beneficial effect on humans from troubled children, abused teenagers, team building, drug addiction, Alzheimer’s and special education programs.

Looking deeply into the eye of the horse can be the first step to create the bond.





  1. Jasmine Goedhart says:

    This is such an interesting article!

  2. I learnt a bit more about the horses instinct and how they use their eyes.

  3. Informative article. My horse often shies at the most bizarre things. Understanding the world from his perspective makes it seem that he is not such a scaredy-cat after all!

  4. great article. Horse vision fascinates me

  5. I found this article really interesting. I haven’t been around horses much in my life. But I always remember being told not to approach a horse from behind and it is fascinating to understand more about horses vision and their behavioural tendencies due to that.

  6. I found this article really interesting!! And its great to now recognise this behaviour for next time I go for a ride!

  7. Rhys Walker says:

    Love the article and hope to see more horse facts like this.

  8. This is very interesting to learn as a horse’s vision affects their behavior and it is important to understand it as humans.

  9. The information in this article is very educational. It helps us understand a lot more about the facts of horses behaviour.

  10. The information is very detailed and important to working with horses.

  11. Good information and great to keep in mind for all our interactions with horses

  12. This is a very good article about things that affect your horses behaviour.

  13. I found this topic very interesting and am looking forward to learning more about horse vision.

  14. This Article is a great source of information the connection between horse and human is incredible I know this with the horses we have if you just watch them, spend time with them not just through the eye you can see their whole soul, the beauty that runs deep through their veins not just on the outside, its absolutely remarkable being able to see eye to eye and admire Horses.

  15. i find this very useful and know that I will use this knowledge in the furture.

  16. This article is very interesting and correct!! I look into my horses eyes all the time and can see their whole personality. I can see now too how much easier it is for them to judge when to jump if they aren’t lockd up in a frame.

  17. Shanlee A says:

    Very helpful insight to see how a horse views the world. Now I know why a horse sometimes spooks only on one side.

  18. Very interesting to read its good to be able to understand these things about a horse

  19. GeorgiaS says:

    really helped me understand what my horse can and cant see. great article!

  20. Great article about horses vision and also behaviour regarding the use of their eyes.

  21. Very interesting information of horses vision.

  22. Very interesting

  23. Zyia Sheveleff says:

    Very interesting and now i know why my horse sometimes spooks

  24. Really enjoyed reading this. the diagrams were very helpful and the article explains everything very well and is easily understood.
    when it explains how they need the head rises a little during jumping to judge the distances between and before the jump. and how there position can also determent how concentrated there are on you and the lesson.

  25. Dominique H says:

    This article is quite interesting and shows me how the horses frame can affect how well they see and what they see and how it can affect their behaviour, thank you.

  26. This was a really interesting piece of information. It made me realise why things like blue tarps and plastic bags can freak out my horses. The diagrams were also really helpful as they showed how the horse actually sees things. I also understand why a horse can shy at something and will turn its head to view the object that spooked them. It is also true that by looking into their eyes it makes the entire day much MUCH better. 🙂

  27. I love this peace of writing it is filled with intersteing facts

  28. Shinaya Rose-Humphreys says:

    this is a very good article to read as it allows people to understand how horses see things and what they must be weary of when around or near horses.

  29. This is a great article on a really interesting part of the horse, it is worthwhile knowing how their vision works when working with them on a daily basis.

  30. Nepheli Alexiou says:

    Interesting informations.

  31. Chloe Wilson says:

    This article gave a lot of interesting facts about horse behaviour

  32. Chloe Wilson says:

    This gave good and interesting facts about horse behaviour

  33. Zoe Daley says:

    This article is very helpful, horses are unique animals. This article helped me understand why my horse does shy to objects he sees everyday. The images helped me understand where a horse can actually see and why they shy easily with such a simple movement, etc.

  34. Brittany G says:

    Very interesting read.

  35. Brittany G says:

    Great info.

  36. Taylah B says:

    Very interesting article! Horses are such amazing animals! loved reading this and seeing pictures to help me understand more of horses vision 🙂

  37. Paige Scotter says:

    This was a very interesting article. I always was aware of how to approach a horses but I never knew how it affected them when ridding. I loved the pictures and diagrams used as I am a visual learner and find it easier to understand. I love reading and learning more about horses, especially in a fun way like a blog.

  38. Elizabeth Verhagen says:

    This article confirms my beliefs. Through spending time with my horses I have found all information in this article to be true. It is amazing how looking into the eyes of your horse can make such a difference to your frame of mind and consolidate the bond you have with your beloved horse.

  39. Sarah Torrisi says:

    Really good information that is simple and goes into depth. very helpful.

  40. Very Interesting

  41. Really Great article! I’m always aware of their vision on the ground and with ground work (Approaching from the correct spot etc) , but i had never really thought about how it affects them when we ask them to work in a frame or perform certain tasks for us. :))

  42. mackenzie says:

    great information. also interesting to read 🙂

  43. Zyia Sheveleff says:

    Very interesting

  44. Jessica V. says:


  45. found this very helpful and interesting, gave me some good tips to remember.

  46. Jessica V. says:

    This was very interesting to read and provided great information.

  47. that was very interesting to read and learn more about the horses vision.

  48. Anita Koski says:

    This is very interesting!!!

  49. very interesting

  50. Cindy Seltzer says:

    I’m excited to have found a way to learn more about what i love!

  51. Great information .
    it shows how important it is to have a bond and work on making a bond with horses to improve your work with them and to understand them and the needs they have .

  52. very interesting, great information.

  53. Interesting information. This shows how important it is that we understand horses.

  54. Very interesting fact of horse’s vision.

  55. Tamara S says:

    Very good Interesting Facts that Affect Horse Behaviour

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