Friday, June 20, 2008

Horses are NOT color blind!

Since my horse spooked about the flourescent green-painted manhole cover, I've been wondering if horses can see colors. I started wondering again the other day, when Panama demonstrated fear of the graffiti on a concrete wall.

I looked it up, and it turns out that horses are not color blind. They don't have the full spectrum of colors that we have, but have what is known as dichromatic vision. If you read the results of the study, on page 5 there is a color wheel comparison that shows what colors horses see. On page 6 there are pictures shown in both trichromatic and dichromatic colors, to compare what horses see with what we see.

I am guessing that the green-painted manhole probably appears to him as the brightest yellow shown on the dichromatic color wheel. I doubt that vivid a color occurs often in nature; and the other manholes probably all appear as a dull grey, which would also contribute to Panama's fear of that particular manhole. The graffiti on the wall probably also appears as much more vivid than everything else, which would explain why Panama didn't want to get close to it.

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