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Horses and night vision

From: Deb

Dear Jessica,

You KNOW we love you and your HORSE SENSE. I have grown up with horses and just sort of rely on.......really........what works. I have found your responses help me and others understand WHY what I appreciate your theories and practical approach.

I have a question about riding horses at night (not my favorite thing....but, it happens occasionally when we don't judge time appropriately). It seems I've read that horses still depend on us helping them see at night; that they don't have great night vision. Is this true? I have wanted something I could send a friend over the internet and can't seem to come up with anything in my search.

Thank you for considering this subject and for all your help past and future. Deb and Eb (Ebony Cruise, my Tennesee Walker)

Hi Deb! Thanks for the kind works; I'm glad you're enjoying HORSE-SENSE. All the research, as well as anecdotal evidence, supports the idea that horses have good night vision, certainly better than ours! They see better than we do, for instance, in intense darkness. Their eyes do seem to take slightly longer to adjust to dramatic changes in light; so you may have the advantage if you ride your horse out of bright sunshine into a dark wooded area, for instance. For the first few steps into that dark area, you may see better than your horse does; at night, though, and especially out in the countryside where it is much darker at night, your horse's vision is probably much better than yours.

So don't worry too much about riding at night, at least for that reason. You may need to keep reminding your horse not to stop and eat, but you won't have to "see" for him -- he may be "seeing" for you! ;-)


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