Could my horse be visually impaired or am I just paranoid?

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Could my horse be visually impaired or am I just paranoid?

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  • 1 Post By Wallaby

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    06-29-2013, 07:52 PM
Could my horse be visually impaired or am I just paranoid?

I know I have been making a lot of threads lately, sorry but this just came to me....
Okay so if you read my other threads, there is one about my horse consistently tripping while riding (and even while not riding) and then a later one about his crazy, extremely- dangerously unbalanced canter where he drops his shoulder and tilts like a barrel horse going around a barrel (even when going straight)

Could my horse be impaired in one eye?
Here are my thoughts

Going to the right he trips noticeably more than the left. Going to the right his shoulder falls in more which results in him shying away from the rail. Going to the right he spooks noticeably more. (as in I have never seen him spook while going to the left) Also I had him go down a straight trail, he was fine, he was a trail horse his whole life, he was calm and in his element but then something in a tree to our right cracked and he did a complete 180 turn on the haunches and shot back the way we came. This is extremely out of character for him AND when we cantered him we only did one circle because it was extremely dangerous then we stopped. We only cantered him to the right.

Could he be visually impaired to the right? I might just be paranoid that there is something wrong and trying to connect everything...?
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    06-29-2013, 08:14 PM
It sounds like you need to work on his balance to the right. I've ridden many horses with visual damage in one or both eyes, they were spookier than fully sighted horses, but it didn't affect their balance at the canter, nor did they trip / stumble unless there was a large object only within sight of the damaged eye. IMO it sounds like it's a training issue, not a sight issue. Of course it IS possible... but the only one who can tell you for sure is a vet...
    06-29-2013, 08:19 PM
Thanks, and yes I know I am working on his balance. If you want to read my other threads you can see the details but in short I ride four times for a week for a couple of hours doing maybe 8 different exercises tailored to help his balance. I am slowly getting there, but thanks for saying it might not be his eyes.
    06-29-2013, 08:32 PM
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I agree for the most part with Alexischristina.

However, I own a mare that is, at best, 85% blind (she's totally blind in one eye and mostly blind in the other) and she is no spookier than a "normal" horse. Actually, I think it's probably safe to say she's significantly less spooky than the average horse. She also stumbles a whole lot more than the average horse [and her feet are correctly done]. She's also seriously unbalanced at the canter and I generally only ask her to canter on light uphill grades because of that [however, she is 28 and I'm not confident working on her with her canter so some of it might be musculature, but even when she was younger+in work 5 days a week and cantering often, she was still scary to canter].

With my mare, her only "tell" that she's blind is really that she's really really nervous in a new pasture until she "maps" it out in her head. Literally, that is the only thing.
She's also a bit more touchy-feely tan the average horse and she does things a bit differently than the average horse (instead of walking in a circle to turn around in her stall, she'll turn on her haunches - stuff like that), however, those could certainly be Lacey-quirks and have nothing to do with her eyesight.

I've owned her for 5 years and it was only a yer ago that I found out she was blind. I had been around her on a daily basis for FOUR years before I even had any clue!! Of course, knowing what I now know does explain a lot...but really, she's so good at not showing it that I think I might never have found out if her eyes hadn't freaked out last spring.
I even had a vet check her eyes the year before because I always felt like something was "different" about her vision, but the check returned "inconclusive"....and she was at least 50% blind at the time [also, her eyes look like normal horse eyes - no stereotypical cloudiness].

Anyway, go with your gut. If your gut is eating at you about his eyes, get them thoroughly checked out. If the vet finds anything unusual, do research, find out what you're dealing with.
Personally, I love my blind horse. She is so much more fun than every seeing horse I've ever been around. Sure, it does take more work and it's seriously disconcerting to go back to a sighted horse and NOT have to cue the horse for varying ground condition, etc, but it is so worth it. The bond is incredible.

For what it's worth, after my mare passes, my next horse will be vision impaired as well. It's just that incredible. :)

ETA, here's a video of her would never have any idea she can't see worth beans! Blindness comes in all forms, I guess. Haha

5Bijou5 likes this.
    06-29-2013, 09:10 PM
Awww, your horse is adorable! That is really weird that you didn't know for four years, lol who would've thought. But thanks for instilling confidence.

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