Moon blindness - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 01-05-2009, 11:41 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: North-east, US
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Moon blindness

Recently a pony at my barn was diagnosed with "moon blindness". He is completely blind in one eye already and 50% in the other. It is really sad because he is just awesome little guy, I showed him all last summer and have ridden him a lot, he packs all the little kids around for lessons and is the best trail buddy. He started acting up a little we noticed then he spooked one day and threw a kid, thats when we knew something was up because that is unlike him.

We can no longer use him for lessons. But have started training him to voice commands while he still has some vision so he can be safe to handle, he responds to whoa, walk, step up and door now. I doesn't look like he will be able to stay sadly due to insurance. But he is still great for my aunt, myself and the barn owners because he trusts us already so we have had no issues of following us and even heading up on the trails a few times still.

Has anyone else had a horse with this, and what did you end up doing with them, or were they able to stay a pasture buddy.
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post #2 of 6 Old 01-05-2009, 01:11 PM
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Gallant, Alabama
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ne of our old horses (who my cousin now owns) is moon blind. It doesn't affect him at all, he was the herd leader in our pasture until we traded him and now he's in a pasture all by himself and he's perfectly fine... if he wasn't so old, he'd still be perfectly rideable, his moon blindness never bothers him, or seems to, or anything.

Horseshoe Loop Farm: Home of Gypsie (22 y/o TWH mare), Dakota (10 y/o TWH gelding), Codie (18 y/o Walkaloosa gelding) & Harlow (9 y/o APHA mare)
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post #3 of 6 Old 01-05-2009, 01:17 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: East Texas
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As you've already found, the horse trusting you is the key. Even when he is completely blind he may be able to be ridden as a trail pony so long as the rider is aware of his handicap. My father used to trail ride and plow with a blind horse when he was a young man.

As for turnout, you need to be sure that whatever pasture he is in has no dangerous projections or sharp edges and let him get used to the place while he still has some site. Having a calm pasture mate may also be helpful as he will still be able to hear and can follow his pasture mate via sound. You don't want to move him to new pastures without taking plenty of precautions once he goes totally blind--this would also be an area where a pasture buddy is helpful.

Cindy D.
Licensed Veterinary Technician
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post #4 of 6 Old 01-05-2009, 08:22 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Southcentral Kansas
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My 30 yr old appy, Cheno is blind from ERU. He was diagnosed in 1999. He lost his sight gradually over several years. About 3 yrs ago, during a flareup he lost all sight in his "good" eye. I just had to be sure to be his eyes as he would wander off the track. Up until a few years ago I rode him fairly often. Now he is basically retired and gives rides to the grandkids occasionally. He has been out on pasture with 4 other horses up until this winter. Due to his age he is not as thrifty now and with few teeth he needs extra feed and no competition. He is in a turnout with stall attached for winter.. I've had him since he was 12, btw..

As long as the horse will listen to you and isn't panicy he should be fine to ride. I would just judge how he does on a per ride basis as far as what type of trails etc he can handle.


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post #5 of 6 Old 01-05-2009, 09:35 PM
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Location: Sweden - the land of carrots and apples
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A guy named Bent Branderup rides a blind horse. He does the levade and piaff with him and so on. The horse wasn't only blind, he also had a badly heald, broken hip and some other injuries and were deemed unfit to ever manage to carry a rider, if I'm not all wrong.
It's a really beautiful horse, I've met him :)

Always keep your head up, but be careful to keep your nose at a friendly level.

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post #6 of 6 Old 01-07-2009, 01:56 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Southern Ohio
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my neighbor has a completely blind appy mare. She went blind when she was attack by a large animal, we are thinking it was along the lines of a panther due to the claw marks on its side and she ran into a tpost and knocked herself unconscious and damage the nerves in her head that managed her eyesight. She does fine in the pasture she is in with her 3 herd mates and even raised her colt she was pregnant with when it happened. I think it all depends on trust and repetition with a blind horse. If you just keep them someplace safe that they know and try to find a calm herdmate for them, they usually get along great with no problems.

You know how to make a miniature horse even smaller? Leave them in the dryer a little longer!
"Don't ever regret something that once made you smile"
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