Horse Vision Research Leads to New Fence Design to Improve Safety

A simple color change, based on new research into how horses perceive color, could make jump racing fences in Britain safer, scientists say.

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new fence design to improve safety
The images on the left show what a human sees compared to what a horse sees, shown on the right. | Photo: Courtesy of the University of Exeter

The colors deployed on hurdles and fences on British racecourses could be set to change thanks to research into how horses perceive color.

In 2017 the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and Racing Foundation commissioned and provided funding support for research into equine vision. The opportunity for this project was identified by the partnership between the BHA and the U.K.’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty To Animals (RSPCA), who work together on an ongoing basis to develop new ways to make hurdle and fence design safer.

Sarah Paul, PhD, and Martin Stevens, BSc, PhD, of the University of Exeter, in the U.K., conducted the research with the aim of improving obstacle visibility for horses and, therefore, reducing the risk of jockey and horse falls and injuries

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