Seeing RED….or not.

Ever wonder what colors your horse can see? Horses see color differently than we do.  It is believed that certain colors can appear grey to the horse. So, I thought I’d play around and see what colors Dino can actually “see”…. But first I had to teach him to discriminate between objects, which was kind of interesting.

Day 1:

To start, I thought I’d see if Dino could discriminate between a red and a green bucket. I started with just rewarding him for handing me the red bucket. After a few tries, I introduced the green bucket. Of course he had no idea what I was asking. I have never taught him to discriminate between objects before. The results had me laughing and a maybe even a bit bruised.

I rewarded Dino when he gave me the red bucket, and I ignored him when he tried to hand me the green bucket. He just couldn’t understand why he wasn’t getting a reward for the green bucket, and he started getting violent with it! He slammed it into my leg trying to get my attention. He was basically saying, “Hey lady I am handing you the freakin’ bucket. Take it and give me a treat!!” Do you know hard it is to not respond when your horse is throwing a little tantrum because you won’t take a bucket from him? It cracked me up!

At the end of the first session, Dino was no closer to figuring out what I wanted. So, I ended after he handed me the red bucket and put him away.

Day 2:

Sometimes horses process the lesson when they are sitting in their stall, and that is exactly what happened. I started the lesson the same way I had the day before, but now Dino picked the red bucket 80% of the time! He was figuring the game out.

Day 3:

Dino had a 100% success rate discriminating between the red and green buckets by day 3! He was super confident in this game too. So, I added more buckets. Dino kept a 100% success rate discriminating between 4 different colored buckets. He only faltered when I added the fifth bucket. It was a black bucket.

Horses don’t see color like we do and it is believed that red is not a color they see. In fact, red probably looks grey to a horse. So this dark red/magenta bucket looks almost black to Dino!

Next up, I think I will teach Dino to pick out the green bucket….. This should get interesting!

 

Do Horses see color

 

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