Can Horses See in the Dark? This Is What Experts Say

Although they might be among the greatest friends a person could have, taking care of horses can be challenging. Similar to people, horses may experience eye ailments that require proper care to prevent long-term problems. Animals, in contrast to humans, have an amazing ability to navigate around on a completely dark night. Do horses have night vision? Let’s investigate!

The Vision of a Horse

A horse’s vision differs from ours in numerous ways. The majority of that is due to the fact that horses are prey animals and must constantly be able to quickly scan their surroundings for approaching predators. Since humans are not predatory creatures, our eyes are forward-facing because it is more crucial for us to focus on minute details than it is to see everything around us. Horses have their eyes on the sides of their heads. They are able to see both right and left simultaneously because of this, but humans are limited to our peripheral vision, which is not as focused as that of a horse.

The knobby structure known as the corpora nigra that protrudes from the top of an iris is one characteristic unique to horses. Because of its antiglare qualities, the corpora nigra serves as the horse’s sunglasses. It’s safe to conclude that the horse can see just as well as you can in extremely bright sunlight with a strong glare, such as on ice snow on a sunny day, or even better if you wear sunglasses. Horses have 20/30 to 20/60 eyesight, however humans can only have 20/20 vision if they have flawless clarity and sharpness. Human vision varies widely, which might change a person’s capacity to see.

Can Horses See in the Dark?

Horses have good night vision, but not total darkness. They actually see no differently from light to dark than the average human, which may account for some of their apprehensive behaviour at night or when they transition from a sunny, bright pasture to a semi-dark barn. It takes our eyes about ten to fifteen minutes to properly acclimatise to the change from light to dark. The eyes of a horse adjust more slowly. During a night check, your horse has to reset their internal clocks to adjust to the darkness when you shine a torch on them.

The tapetum lucidum is the layer of tissue that sits behind a horse’s retina. A horse’s eyes will reflect light at night due to the reflecting nature of the tapetum lucidum. They benefit from this since it draws in any light, enabling them to see in the dark. “The horse has exceptional scotopic vision at night, both for navigating a very dark, confined space and for identifying stimulus shapes” (Hanggi & Ingersoll, 2009). Horses can see very well at night, whereas humans cannot. On the other hand, night riding and training are not recommended. Your horse may see better than you in the dark, but it is far from what a nocturnal animal can see. Moreover, horses’ blind spots differ from people’s, which could make night riding rather risky.