My horse might have a vision problem? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 06-22-2011, 11:29 AM Thread Starter
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My horse might have a vision problem?

I am beginning to suspect my horse has a vision problem. He's definitely not blind, but he did something the other day that made me begin to question whether he can see as well as he should.

I was riding in a large hay field with a friend and the lady from across the street walked over and stood in the field, very still, with her hand up shielding her eyes. When I turned around, Gabe didn't know what she was. I've been riding him long enough to know what he's thinking, and he couldn't tell what she was. He knew she was there but I had to have her speak out and put her arm down and move until he was okay and realized she was a human.

Then I begin to think about everything we've experienced in the past 5 years. When he was a baby he accidentally stepped on a jump and it snapped in two and stabbed him in the belly, ever sine then he's had severe jumping issues where he refuses the jump unless I walk him up to it and let him sniff and measure it.

From working with him and gaining his trust he rarely refuses anymore but I have gotten into the habit of counting him off 4 strides away from the jump (because it helps me get the correct striding) but I realized when I stop counting he gets really messed up and thrown off track. So I began to think maybe this counting really helps him with depth perception and knowing where the jump is. Not sure.

Anyways, just wanted to know what you guys think, and if there's any such thing as an equine eye exam? I don't know whether to have the vet out, or just let it be?
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post #2 of 3 Old 06-22-2011, 11:33 AM
Join Date: Jul 2009
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Your vet can look at his eyes and give you a good idea if there is something wrong.

I do not see the stranger in the field with their arm at a funky angle as overly worrisome though.
Many times in life I have had to have people I encounter in the park speak so my horse realized they are just a human in a funky hat or such.
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post #3 of 3 Old 06-22-2011, 11:55 AM
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Agreed, it is not unusual for a horse to not know what a "human" is if they're standing weirdly.
Perhaps the counting off strides isn't really him messing up, it's something that you're doing or not doing if you count out loud or not? I highly doubt he knows what "4...3....2....1..." is - I'm willing to bet that something in YOU changes when you're counting aloud or not. It's probably subtle, but I bet it's something that you're doing that makes him miss the stride (rider error, not horse error - we have to show them the base) rather than him not knowing what to do if you aren't counting down.
A veterinarian would be able to tell you for sure, and it is worth checking out - HOWEVER, I don't think it's your answer to the jumping problem.

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