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What If You Could See What Your Horse Sees?

Elvis Elvis

When us humans see something we see a single image. In other words, if you look straight ahead at say, a pair of scissors, you see that one image. It’s the main image.

If there are things next to it like pens and pencils, you’ll see them too but they are not as strong an image as the scissors. As you see the scissors and the pens and pencils next to them, you have peripheral vision to your left and right whereby you see other things at the same time.

It’s kind of an unbroken view with a focus in the middle. One reason we see things in this way is because our eyes “are not” on the sides of our heads. Prey animals have eyes on the sides of their heads. Of course I’m speaking of horses. But it includes many other animals like deer and so on.

As a horse, you see an image on your left with your left eye and an object on the right with your right eye. As a horse, you could put your head down, graze, and see roughly 360 degrees around yourself. You’ll also have a blind spot directly in front and behind you. This kind of vision is called monocular.

The horse will have a view of the world on the right side of the body and a totally different view on his left. Imagine trying to process that informa- tion. You’ve got these opposing views of the world and you’re on the alert for danger. It’s no wonder how fear can overcome a horse!

As a horse walks down a trail, he may see something from his right eye and very quickly get used to it and not worry about it. But coming back from the opposite dir- ection, he may see it with his other eye and go nutso. Why?

What If You Could See What Your Horse Sees?

Because the part of the brain getting messages from his other eye hadn’t seen it yet. You know the ol’ saying: Whatever you do on the right side, you gotta do on the left side. Anything taught a horse must be taught to both sides because it does not transfer to both sides. Knowing this may just give us a little more understanding about a horse spooking.

Rather than getting mad for spooking at something “we think” he already knows won’t hurt him, perhaps we can say to ourselves “Ah…this just hasn’t transfered to the other part of his brain yet.”

Not only that, this knowledge will make us better at training our horse. It’ll also make us safer because we “know” we must teach and enlighten both sides of the horse.