Is this dizzying horse optical illusion the best of all time?

It’s no secret that we’re big fans of a good ol’ optical illusion here at Creative Bloq. But every now and then we stumble across an illusion that stands out among all its mind-bending competitors – and the famous rotating horse was very much one of those cases.

The illusion came to our attention through a video went that viral on TikTok back in March. It showed the black and white image of a horse continuously spinning around and asked the simple question, ‘What direction is the horse rotating?’. Five months on, and we’re still none the wiser, and this gem has truly earned its place in our roundup of the top optical illusions

@trippyhub (opens in new tab)
♬ original sound – luvandrew (opens in new tab)

The original video was posted by TikToker TrippyHub (opens in new tab) (a very suitable name), and it’s accumulated over 6.1M views and over 290,500 likes. And users on TikTok remain baffled, flooding the comments with their confusion. 

One user responded, “I can only see left omg,” whereas another replied, “I can control which way it moves”. While some users have said to squint to see the direction of the horse, others have suggested that the front and back half of the horse are actually rotating separately from each other.

The spinning ballerina illusion

(Image credit: Nobuyuki Kayahara)

The illusion is very similar to the spinning ballerina illusion. How does it work? WhatPsychologyIs explain that “due to the image’s lack of visual cues for depth, the ambiguous 2-dimensional figure can be seen from two different perspectives. This alternation between two perceptual states is referred to as bistable perception.” For what it’s worth, we think the horse is looping in a clockwise rotation, but we may never know for sure.

Suffice it to say, this trick of the eye has made it into our collection of the best animal optical illusions we’ve seen. If you liked this illusion, you’ll love this other horse optical illusion. Or if you’re feeling pretty inspired by all this equestrian talk, then why not check out our step-by-step guide on how to draw a horse? You might also want to make sure you have some of the best graphic design software.

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