Dealing With a Newly Blind Horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 40 Old 02-29-2012, 07:50 PM Thread Starter
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Dealing With a Newly Blind Horse

I would appreciate hearing from those of you who have gone thru this heart break and have suggestions (besides the buddy horse with a bell on it). He has no reaction to my hands waving near or around his eyes and has to "feel" for things he knows are near. He is my only horse and $$$ unfortunately dictates that I can't get another horse for him. How can I help him or is this the end (can't believe I just typed those words....).
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post #2 of 40 Old 02-29-2012, 07:59 PM
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It doesn't have to be the end. When I was young one of my ponies went blind. I remember what we did.

We would take some gravel and spread it a couple feet around the fence, then lead her up to it and show her the fence after she touched the gravel. It taught her the fence was always where the gravel was so she wouldn't run into it. So long as she isn't violently panicking you'll just have to show her around. Eventually she will get familiar with this. My pony was always led the same path every day from the barn to the arena. She didn't like straying away from that path but once in the arena she could still be ridden, she trusted wherever you were pointing her. We never asked her to navigate trails or anything again though.

I believe my parents got these ideas from one of those books of horse miracle stories...And it turns out they worked! The pony ended up living to her late twenties.

Also, talking to your vet would be an excellent idea to see if s/he has any suggestions for you. Good luck!

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #3 of 40 Old 02-29-2012, 08:09 PM
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I can't help you with a pony, but when my dog went blind at age 11, she could still navigate everything perfectly using her sense of smell and was so familiar with her environment. I would have to think a horse would be the same since they also have a good sense of smell. As long as nothing changes in his environment, it should not be a very big adjustment for him. If he's been alone all along, he should do just fine. I know it's hard to watch, but he might surpise you.

You just have to see your don't have to like it.
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post #4 of 40 Old 02-29-2012, 08:13 PM
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How is taking it? Is he scared? If not, then there is a good possibility that he can keep having a quality of life. I have heard that blind horses can still be ridden, but they are no longer trail horses - arena work where the footing is even is the only way to go.

A goat can be a very good friend for a horse for a low price. You will want a full grown goat, not a little baby.
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post #5 of 40 Old 02-29-2012, 09:00 PM
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We had a horse go blind but he became panicky and was scared. He was older like twenty six or so. Had to have him put down he just couldnt ajust to being blind.All depends on how your horse is dealing with being blind if hes calm then yeah he might be just fine. Just have to see how he does.We gave our horse over a month he was just to scared and got to where he wouldnt lead. He just stand there a shake with fear so yeah putting him down was the right thing to do.
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post #6 of 40 Old 02-29-2012, 09:31 PM
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I have a friend who actually blindfolded his pony after he had all his basics and ground manners done, and I've taken to using the method myself. We'd put a towel over his eyes and tuck it in his bridle/halter and walk/ride him around in the arena and fields. He never freaked out, and was very trusting of his handlers (my friend and me). We could canter him around in the indoor (never tried it outside in the fields) and he'd go wherever you pointed him. It improved his trust/respect levels immensely, but would only move if he trusted the handler (wouldn't do it for the girl that leased him). I rode him around bareback with just his halter and a lead while he was blindfolded. I plan on trying this with Lucky (in the arena on the ground) Sunday when I go out before I ride. I haven't done it with her yet, but she trusts me, so I doubt I'll have any issues. Neither of us have had a horse that has freaked when we've done it, so I'd liketo believe that we know when they're ready for that "step".
My point is, just because he's blind does in any way mean that it's the end for him if he hasn't gone "crazy" already, IMO.
BO only thinks it's necessary for the possibility of a barn-fire so that they won't cause an even bigger issue by freaking out when they get a towel tossed over their heads if a fire ever happens. I think it's great to get them desensitised and use to blindly following their handler in the case that a fire may possibly happen, for whatever reason.

I agree with the rest of the members that posted here though, if my post was kind of off-topic a bit. :3
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post #7 of 40 Old 03-01-2012, 11:44 AM
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I have seen alot of blind horses are put in pastures with there "bell buddies" of course but the people put mulch, or some other kind of footing all around the pasture paremeter and it went from the fence about a foot or two into the pasture. So when ever the horse felt its feet hit this new kind of footing it new there was somthing close such as a fence or tree. Not to much experience with this but hope this helps :)

14.2hh Quarter Horse Mare
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post #8 of 40 Old 03-01-2012, 08:48 PM Thread Starter
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Finally got a little good news today....the Cushings test came back negative. That's 4 negative tests since 2006, so at almost 26, he won't be tested again, I don't care how long his winter hair gets Vet coming tomorrow to check both eyes to decide if there is anything else we can do for him.....I am going to try the mulch around the fence line...that makes sense. Also going to take down the corner hay rack in the stall. I am leaving the radio in the barn on low at night so it can mask any unusual noises that may startle him. Trying to watch my habits around him and doing everything in the same order and same way every day. Seems like he can still see some light so I have thought about a nite light but worry that it will cast unusual shadows. Any thoughts on this?
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post #9 of 40 Old 03-01-2012, 08:55 PM
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If he can still see some light, he might be better off than you think. Horses see very well in low light conditions. He might see perfectly well in daytime when there's enough light to compensate for his lack of vision...if that makes any sense.

You just have to see your don't have to like it.
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post #10 of 40 Old 03-01-2012, 09:31 PM
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Years ago, we picked up a really kewl little arab gelding out of a horse rescue for my daughter, who was little at the time. This guy had been sent to the rescue because after being a kid's show horse for years (he was in his late teens) he had started taking home red ribbons instead of blue ones. The last time he had been jumped was at two and a half feet (?) at the show where he was taking red ribbons six months before we brought him home.

A month or so later we had the vet out for a general check. According to the vet, this little guy had lost about 80% of his vision in one eye and 100% in the other eye. And you wonder why he was no longer taking blue ribbons in the jumping ring??????

Anyway, he never showed any stress about his lack of vision. That 20% in one eye was more than enough for him to happily take my 8 (7 ?) year old all over some pretty steep trails for several years. We lost him three years later to cancer :(

And one of him at a medieval recreation event - where she is showing off her prize.

If your horse still has some vision left, he is probably going to be just fine for quite a while. Even if he looses all of his sight, if it happens slow enough, he probably won't get scared.
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