Horses Find Blue Floors Scary

Horses consider certain floor colors more alarming than others, according to researchers in Nottingham, England. They documented the reactions of 16 horses to various colored mats laid as flooring across an aisle.

Each horse confronted a colored floor mat while it was allowed to walk freely along the aisle. Half the colored mats elicited apprehension and hesitation from the horses.

The horses showed the most unease with yellow, white, black or blue mats laid across their path. They also took longer to walk across these colors than they did with green, red, brown or grey mats.

When the horses encountered the colored floor mats for a second time, their distress with the scary colors was still evident, although the horses didn't pause any longer before passing over.

In another trial, horses were exposed to the same mats hung against a wall in the stable alleyway, instead of placed on the ground. In this situation, color made no difference to how the horses reacted to the wall mats.

Reference

Carol Ann Hall and Helen Joan Cassaday. 2006. An investigation into the effect of floor colour on the behaviour of the horse. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 99(3-4): 301-314.

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