The racehorse is a remarkable creature: strong, athletic, but with delicate and sensitive eyes. Not many people think about the complexity of horse eyes and how they’ve evolved over the years. Today, our racetrack in Kentucky will shed a little light on horse anatomy on these racehorse features.

A Focus on the Racehorse’s Eyes

Side eyes

Do you know why the horse’s eyes sit on the side of the head? Well, because they were born that way.  In all seriousness, it’s important to understand a horse is a prey animal. That means in order to survive, the horse needs to adapt to see predators or dangers. A horse’s eyes sit on the side of his face which gives them nearly 360 degrees of vision. So, if a bear stalks directly behind a horse, the horse can see it and escape.

The only blind spots the racehorse has from this ocular setup are directly in front of his muzzle or close behind his tail. Avoid those areas unless you want to spook the horse, which is something we don’t recommend. The best way to approach a horse is from his shoulder.

Horizontal pupils

Another fascinating fact about horse eyes is that they have horizontal pupils. Most prey eyes are horizontal, which allows them to have a panoramic view. This can be problematic to racehorses, however, as they can get distracted. For this reason, more racehorses wear blinders that block their panoramic vision. If you look closely, you can see them at our horse racing track in Kentucky.

Color vision

The horse can also see in color, but it’s not perfect like humans. They can see in yellow, blue, and green. Red is a challenge. A horse’s color vision begins to fade when the sun goes down. If you want the horse to see you and not get it spooked, don’t wear red and see it at night.

Bring your Eyes Down to Ellis Park Racing   

If you want to see the best Kentucky horse racing or the best historical horse racing machines in the state, get down to Ellis Park Racing.