Through observation and some research we’ve learned about how horses take in their environment, and we can manage them better because of that.

The horse in the wild depends on keen eyesight and acute hearing to detect danger and flee from predators before they get close enough to attack. The horse's vision is wide-range (taking in almost the entire horizon), and his hearing is well-developed to help him determine from which direction danger might be approaching. You'll see these sharp senses at work in the domesticated horse, too.

In this article we'll take a look at how the horse's eyes and ears function.


Horses don't see things the same way we do. Their eyes are a different size and shape than ours, and they have some different functions. Claire Latimer, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVO, a veterinary ophthalmologist and consultant at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., says the way a horse sees improves his chances of survival as a prey animal.

"Horses have better vision in dim light than we do, for instance," notes Latimer. "The eye is large, which lets in more light, and the size of the pupil when dilated in the dark is huge–compared to that of a human. The horse also has a reflective structure in the eye called the tapetum lucidum, which allows light to pass through the retina twice. This gives the horse two opportunities to capture visual information and process it."

Horses must also be able to see clearly in bright light. "They have some yellow coloration in the lens that filters out some of the shorter blue