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Shall We Keep A Blind Horse?

He writes:

How are you? I have good news and bad news. The horse was delivered a couple of weeks ago. She says he is the most responsive and caring horse she has ever seen. She said he is identical to a cat. He follows her everywhere...and I mean everywhere. He rubs his body and head against her with love. 2 nights ago, he cut his face. Victoria had to call a vet all the way from Macon. The vet came out and patched him up.

He then continued to do a regular check-up. Upon his findings, he noticed the horse was not responding eye to eye. As he evaluated the horse, it turned out that he is totally blind. On that note we called the breeder back. He agreed to let V go back out there and choose one of about 100 other horses. Whatever she wants. On that note, he said she can also keep H (the blind horse).

I told her she needs to take the horse back because he is such a liability when it comes to being blind. She argues that anytime she walks in the matter if the horse is 300 yards away...he runs to her then slows down and follows her everywhere. He knows when feeding time is, the pond, and everything. In 3 weeks she has taught him to lead well, lift his feet, etc as if he wasn't blind....She says the bond between him and her is better than any before.

Now for your question....Personally and professionally - is it wise to keep this horse. If we take him back the man will most likely put him down. If he stays with us, he is always subject to being hurt and can't see. We also do not have the correct facilities to accommodate a blind horse. I really need advise on this one.

I'm not real sure you're going to like what I have to say, but let's give it a go anyway...

Is it wise to keep this horse? I don't know. But then, it's a horse and my question becomes, "When has wise ever entered into horse ownership?"

My first experience with a blind horse was at a horse show in 1962 where Alice Dubord rode a stone blind, milk-white eyed Morgan mare and cleaned up every speed event at the show.

Blindness sure didn't seem to be a problem for them.

Over the years I have heard of numerous cases of blind animals adapting amazingly well. It all depends on the individuals involved and how they interact and compensate for each other.

Actually, now that I think of it, I've never heard of a blind horse not getting along. Doesn't mean there aren't any, it only means I haven't heard of any.

What's more, I'd be inclined to think there are a lot more blind horses around that people aren't even aware they are blind. We have a mare here the farrier asked us about, "How long as she been blind in that eye?" The vet said that she was not only blind in that eye but she was going blind in the other. That was some years ago and she will still gallop full bore at times.

Judging from what you say, I personally would leave the two of them alone. They seem to be working things out quite nicely. Yes, there is liability involved but if it were me personally I would give her and the horse a chance. I wouldn't want to get in their way for my own good.

I'm not real sure what correct facilities would be because blind beings become very aware of their surroundings. If they have someone who can be trusted to guide them, most of us would never know they are blind.

I'm not even sure I could charge his injury to being blind. Heck, none of our horses are blind and pretty much all of them have injured themselves in one stupid way or another.

One of the funniest things I ever heard about horses was a guy I knew telling me about galloping his mare full bore across his pasture only to have her unexpectedly skid to a stop launching him through the air. Later he realized that was where he had run an electric fence years before. The mare would go easy across the line but she wouldn't gallop across it. For all intents and purposes the horse was blind in that situation, she couldn't see the fence was no longer there.

One of our local AwarenessHorsemanship physical therapy clients was a blind Warmblood who competes at fourth level dressage. He has no eyes at all and gets along famously.

I cast my vote with V. I see absolutely no reason why the two of them shouldn't have each other.

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