//Ep. 6 – How Do Horses See the World – Mad About Horses [Podcast]/
Ep. 6 - How Do Horses See the World - Mad About Horses [Podcast]
215 views · 08/11/239 likes

How do horses see? How do horses hear? How do horses smell, taste and even touch?

In this episode of Mad About Horses, Dr. Chris Mortensen kicks off by delving into the fundamental sensory abilities of horses and how they navigate their environments. He emphasizes the importance of understanding these senses in relation to how we interact, train, and care for these incredible equine companions.


The episode dives into the intricate details of equine vision. Dr. Mortensen elaborates on the physiology of the horse’s eyes and how they differ from human eyes. He explores their impressive field of vision, monocular and binocular vision, their vision in dim light, color perception, and how shadows can affect their perception of the environment.

Additionally, he mentions a horse vision simulator available on YouTube, offering an accurate representation of how horses perceive the world visually.

You can watch the YouTube video on horse vision here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_ijitbhT7w


Dr. Mortensen highlights the significance of a horse’s sense of hearing. He explains how horses detect sound waves, the structures of the ear, and the critical role ears play in expressing a horse’s mood or alertness.

He details the mechanics of the horse’s ears, how they are sensitive to low and high-frequency sounds, and the purpose of the Fleming response in stallions, pointing out the communicative nature of these responses in horse behavior.


The exploration of the olfactory senses of horses comes next. Dr. Mortensen discusses the acute sense of smell in horses, emphasizing how it aids in identifying friends, foes, and different odors in their environment. The discussion touches on the vomeronasal organ and the role it plays in detecting pheromones and other strong odors.

He also explains the horse’s reliance on smell for identifying food and mentions the importance of allowing horses to smell their tack or equipment to avoid causing stress or discomfort.


The podcast episode delves into how horses perceive taste through their taste buds. Dr. Mortensen explains their ability to discern different tastes, including sweetness and bitterness. He emphasizes the role taste plays in their feeding habits, their ability to identify poisonous plants, and the importance of adding salt to feeds for taste enhancement.


The discussion moves to the horse’s sensitivity to touch. Dr. Mortensen explains the composition of the horse’s skin and how they perceive pressure, pain, and temperature through their skin receptors. He emphasizes the significance of the whiskers for navigating the environment while grazing and touches on the skin sensitivity across different horse breeds.


Dr. Mortensen concludes by emphasizing the collective importance of understanding these senses and how they influence the relationship between humans and horses. He encourages further exploration of these sensory topics and invites the audience to submit specific topics for future episodes.

Visit https://madbarn.com/mad-about-horses/ to learn more about the Mad About Horses podcast.


Mad Barn Academy is dedicated to supporting horse owners, handlers and practitioners through research, training and education. Visit us to learn more at https://madbarn.com

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