|A Haze of Possibilities / oil on linen panel / 16x20|
I learned some quite interesting facts about equine vision this week. Horses do not see the same way humans do - they have only color receptors for the blue and green spectrum and cannot discriminate reds - apparently much the same as a person with red-green color blindness. The theory is that this may cause the horse to rely more on contrast to judge distance to and height of an obstacle when calculating take off. When a horse is approaching a jump he will see it in sharp focus, but will lose this focus around 3 meters away and may not be able to accurately judge distance to the jump. He will perceive the jump differently from his rider not only because of the difference in color perception but also because he has a much wider field of vision due to his eye placement. This adds to the importance of the connection between the horse and rider as they approach a jump.
Having long been fascinated by the interaction, partnerships and cooperation that are established between man and beast as they interact together during moments of great intensity, it is part of my underlying drive to paint steeplechase as a way of expressing this relationship.