Senses

Horses have five primary senses.  Some people might say they have a “sixth sense.” But in reality their sense of hearing and smell are so keen that it seems like they have a sixth sense.  They are able to tell your emotions when you are near them.

Vision:
You are watching a horse from a distance.  You watch him bob his head.  What does this mean? 

Photo from HERE

Horses vision isn’t the clearest, but they are able to see a wide range.  They can see almost 360°.  But truly they have 65° of binocular vision and 146° on each side.  They use their eyes to detect predators.  Horses have two areas of blind spots.  Right behind him and underneath his nose and neck.

Scientists can’t agree what colors horses can see.  They have better night vision than humans, but they take longer than us to adjust to the dark.  They have worse depth perception than humans do considering they have minimal binocular vision.  A horse focuses by bobbing it’s head up and down.

Horses have three eyelids.  There is the upper and lower eyelid that is on the outside of the eye that we can see.  There is a third eyelid between the lower eyelid and the eye that protects and cleans the eye in dusty/windy conditions

Hearing:
The horse’s ears look like large funnels.  But how well can they hear?

Horses have extremely mobile ears.  Each ear can turn 180°  Having funnel shaped ears, they can pinpoint where a sound is coming from.  Horses can hear from 55 Hz to 25kHz.  so they can hear past a dog whistle.  Horses ears are more sensitive than human.  They can differentiate the slightest change in pitch.

Certain sounds can anticipate a horse.  Most often is when food comes around, such as plastic bags or the sound of a feeding truck.  But a horse can identify it’s owner’s car by it’s noise or smell.

Taste:
Horses tongues are long and pink.  But are they different from us?

Horse’s taste is the only sense that is similar to ours.  They can taste sweet, sour, salty, and bitter.  Horses naturally like salty, but quickly learn to like sweet tastes.  Horses eat by the sense of smell.

Smell:
Those wide nostrils sure give a lot of room for air exchange?  What is their true strength?

Being prey, horses have an acute sense of smell.  They can sense the slightest change in their water source which sometimes makes traveling with horses a little bothering.  Horses use their sense of smell to find suitable food to eat.  Horses can use their noses and a vast amount of ways.  They can smell predators and even water from a great distance.  They can even smell fear in a human.

Scent is often how horses remember one another and know which horse is which.

Touch:
Would these animals need sensitive touch?

Horses are very sensitive when it comes to touching them.  Horse’s most sensitive areas are on the face, inner parts of upper leg, underpart of belly, and withers.  A medium sensitive areas are in the saddle area, on the outer part of upper legs, legs and cheek.  The toughest part of horses are the shoulder, neck, and croup area.

Horses liked to be rubbed and not tickled or slapped.  They like being rubbed on their chest, croup, back, withers, neck, and forehead.  Horses often have favorite spots.

Horses use their muzzle to inspect items.  They lip things to inspect, lick to inspect, chew to inspect and destroy, and bite to destroy.  They use their groom each other by using their teeth.  So horses might enjoy a little scratching on their neck.

Things about petting horses you SHOULDN’T do:  When you pet them, you shouldn’t tickle them in ticklish areas such as the flank and belly.  They may kick.  And also when rubbing them, don’t rub them so lightly, your hands are hardly touching the horse.  Horses prefer to be rubbed on the forehead, not the nose.

And also something that is similar to touch, but not in the category: don’t cut off a horse’s whiskers around it’s muzzle and eyes.  They determine if they are going to fit their head into something or not.  Even for showing, a horse could get seriously hurt or injured because they got stuck in something.

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