I rode through the desert on a horse with one eye...
 
 

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I rode through the desert on a horse with one eye...

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    04-10-2012, 08:28 PM
  #1
Weanling
I rode through the desert on a horse with one eye...

(the lyrics are mixed up but that songs been stuck in my head).


If you have been following my past thread about my horse's eye you'll know all about what's going on... if you haven't read it and you'll be caught up to speed. In a nutshell: over the past three weeks I've been fighting a battle for my horses eye and this Friday I lost.



I decided my last thread was too long and thought I should make a member journal for educational purposes for anyone who might go through this in the future.

We had our first 'official' ride yesterday, and today was my lessee's first ride back. My horse did amazing! Even did her first flying lead change :)

So far this horse has been 99% the same. It amazes me. The only thing that is different is showmanship (because now he can't see me, but DANG this horse picks up fast! Now he's pivoting just from a kiss) and when his eye is on the side of the fence, he tries to go more into the middle of the arena.

Spookiness- none. Nada. Zippo.

I've had 0 experience with horses with one eye, so I don't know if this is normal but so far my own experience is a horse with one eye really isn't that different than a horse with two!

In fact.... I found he's quicker to 'respond' to my showmanship cues because he can't see if I'm about to 'reinforce' (taps with the rope).


I'm going to take more pictures of his eye as it progresses, right now it looks like the above picture but a little more bloody. I was stupid and put a warm wash cloth on his eye because I thought it would feel good, but it loosened a scab which started bleeding down his face.


Side note: those worried about riding the vet gave me the green light, he wasn't worried about riding affecting the eye at all.
     
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    04-10-2012, 08:39 PM
  #2
Trained
I hate to say it...But, I told you so. I knew he'd be just as good with one eye as he was with two.

Great work with him and I'm glad that your realized he's the same old Reily and is going to kick some butt in the show ring. If anything, I think you'll make quite an impact with him and give everyone something to talk about. (In a good way of course)
     
    04-10-2012, 08:49 PM
  #3
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by CLaPorte432    
I hate to say it...But, I told you so. I knew he'd be just as good with one eye as he was with two.

Great work with him and I'm glad that your realized he's the same old Reily and is going to kick some butt in the show ring. If anything, I think you'll make quite an impact with him and give everyone something to talk about. (In a good way of course)
Haha yeah you were right! I'm so excited that this isn't going to effect us long term, I've mostly stopped being obsessed about his eye.

I can't wait for show season!! It's going to be fabulous :)

This has all ended so wonderfully even IF he lost his eye (of course I don't want that!) All the things I was mainly worried about I don't have to be. He's going to be ride able right away, he's not spooky, he rides 99% the same, AAAAND even through all this crazyness my lessor has decided to keep leasing (it helps me afford my horse, and gives him something to do when I can't ride ;) AAAND it's another person to show him this year!)

I was really worried about the leasing, because I decided if he lost his eye I wasn't going to throw a new person on him right away and add more change. Him and my lessor get along fantastically and I think she's a great person for sticking through it when so many would run.

I can finally breathe again, annd I get to ride my horse which is always the BEST stress reliever :)
     
    04-10-2012, 11:53 PM
  #4
Green Broke
So glad he's doing so well & your attitide is so positive. Keep up the great work. & give your wonderful horse a big hug & kiss from those of us that followed this saga.
CLaPorte432 likes this.
     
    04-11-2012, 02:20 PM
  #5
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cacowgirl    
So glad he's doing so well & your attitide is so positive. Keep up the great work. & give your wonderful horse a big hug & kiss from those of us that followed this saga.
I will! Thank you all for helping keep my positive through all of this :) I was so scared, but now I can finally relax because it's all going to be okay.
     
    04-12-2012, 10:20 PM
  #6
Weanling
Progress

There aren't as many obstacles to overcome as I thought... but I still am finding a few things that are definitively different.

The main one being showmanship... never been my favorite class but I like to enter it for fun. Since my horse is blind in the eye that I would be by, the main thing is getting him to 're-learn' cues. For stopping, he has a 'woah' stop already so that was easy. Setting up, I make a snappy noise with my boots when I turn to face him and he's learned that means he's going to set up.

The hardest part of showmanship with the way Reily is, is pivoting. He's been trained to pivot when I walk towards his shoulder and kiss. Now he can't see me walk towards him, he has to go from just a kiss. I've been practicing tapping the lead rope on his shoulder while kissing and he pivots perfect. The other day we did get 1 perfect pivot (left a hole in that arena ) from just a kiss! Still ways to go, but progressing (in my opinion) quite quickly for just one week.

The other obstacle that I've waited until today to attempt is lunging. Obviously lunging to the right where he can see me is exact same. When I went to lunge him the other way the poor guy got confused and started sidepassing away from me when I clucked (very nice sidepass though) because he didn't know which way I wanted him to move. I tapped his but with the whip to help him out, and he picked it up quickly. Now I have to be very vocal while lunging on that side, but I can live with that.

Riding wise.... after the past couple of days he's become more trusting with riding on the wall.

While this was a terrible tragedy, it really is fascinating to see how well he's adjusted to only having one eye! He hasn't let it hold him back at all, so I don't plan on letting it either.


Eye healing wise.... today his 'eye' started bleeding again, because he keeps rubbing it/the vet said it was going to drain a lot. So a combination of the two. I'll bring the camera tomorrow but he looks a bit... horror movie-ish on that one side at the moment. The actual eye seems to be healing well, swelling is going down (does that mean the cave is coming? ). He keeps rubbing his head on his knee, which I think is probably adding to the bleeding, so I've decided to lock him in his stall for the next couple of days so he can wear a fly mask without it being ripped off.


We're making a list of shows we're going to!! Tomorrow I'm even going shopping for some show supplies
     
    04-13-2012, 08:18 PM
  #7
Weanling
I love my horse.

For educational purposes.... Reily's eye one week after surgery. (Horror movie worthy, but it looks worse than it is)





The doctors going to call on Monday and we're going to set a date for the stitches to come out next week :) yayayayay.

Reily and I had our first 'tough' ride today. I rode him just like we did before the incident, and he rode the exact same on both sides. For a minute I honestly forgot he was blind in one eye.

We've been working on showmanship and he's been FANTASTIC!

MVI_1317.mp4 video by outtatheblue2 - Photobucket

Video for proof. Believe it or not but this was actually our WORST pivot of the night. I was videotaping and I'm a bad multitasker, so I wasn't really able to use the chain so he was going all from the kiss sound. And the way he just squares up..... I'm in love (don't get me wrong I know we're not showmanship gurus so no reason to critique harshly)

Also you may notice blood on his knee in that video.... he does rub his eye on his knee. And on his stall door. And on his stall posts. Basically his stall looks like a mild (very mild) crime scene. I've been keeping a fly mask on it now and locking him in his stall so he can't rip stitches out, but the doctor wasn't too concerned about that. He says he'll stop itching when it hurts.

A week after surgery and I'm hoping this means his eye is healed enough he can NOT open his 'eye' ripping the stitches. I'm hoping SO bad because that would be the worst sight EVER.
     
    04-14-2012, 08:32 PM
  #8
Weanling
Well, we're in tornado watch so I just got to visit my pony for a little bit today and didn't get a picture, but it looks slightly worse than yesterday. The blood got on his fly mask too, which couldn't be helped I guess but that doesn't help appearances. Healing wise it still looks good, behind the blood the skin looks clean and healthy like it's healing up nice.

The swelling is going down slightly... I'm hoping the transfer to a hole in his head is slow so I can get used to it. But at the same time I want to know what it will look like so I can be prepared.

Emotionally I have been better now that my horse is out of pain (I cannot stand animals in pain... especially when there is little I can do to help it). BUT I know it's not all over... every other day a new person comes in the barn and is taken by surprise at Reily's eye and has me explain everything and then says, "Oh I'm so so sorry".

Then they get that look in their eye that people usually give you when you tell them a loved one died. Almost like it says, "I'm so sorry your horse lost an eye, that's the worst possible thing that could EVER happen, your horse won't be good for any of the things you did before and that's very sad for you". I don't understand it. There are things MUCH worse that could have happened than my horse loosing his eye... and I'm tired of people telling me about how different my horse is going to be. One person told me he would need months off before ANY type of work, another told me we would have BIG changes to make and my horse would be paranoid and have to move his head a lot to see both sides...

I know they mean well, but I've mostly gotten over the fact that whats happened happened, and there's nothing more to do about it than to move on and make the best of it.

However, when people start offering their sympathy's it makes me all emotional again. It makes me think about those three weeks I was SET on Reily keeping his eye, and how this was the absolute worst case scenario I never wanted to happen. It makes me think about how what if I had been riding three inches further behind that horse... or for that matter, what if I was riding three inches closer to that horse? What if I never went on that trail ride that day and stayed home for arena work. What if my horse still had two eyes right now and I DIDN'T have to know all this terrible information about eye injuries and blindness in horses (I'm quite squeamish so I've felt quite sick doing some research for my horses eye, even with descriptions only).

That said, I am mostly over getting sad about his eye when I am at the barn by myself or others who have gotten used to it. When I look at a horse with two eyes though... I feel something I don't know how to describe other than envy. I want my horse to have that, if not only for how people perceive him, but also for his own health.

Whenever he bumps into something on that side, I, for the lack of a better word, melt a little.

The other day my lessor was riding him in the arena and a girl came up and watched. She didn't notice his eye at all and went on about how much she loved him and his coloring. This girl was the first person to NOT notice his eye, and that made my day that someone actually cared to look at the WHOLE horse and not just one flaw.

Training wise... my horse is spoiled ROTTEN right now. I'm usually quite a stickler about manners with my boy (I don't like bubble invading, head rubbing, pushy behavior at all) but I've been slacking after his surgery. We're getting back... but I think we have to go through a treat withdrawal first (one reason I don't like treats- they make a horse pushy. He had PLENTY over his limit of treats these last couple of weeks!)

I guess this is a long ramble because I don't feel like anyone at the barn can really understand... because they get to go back to their perfect two eyed horses. I KNOW there are things worse than a horse loosing an eye... but for some reason this is just something that's taking longer for me to get over than I thought. My horse is WAY over this.. in fact I don't think he was ever bothered by it except for the pain. Isn't it amazing how animals adjust?
     
    04-14-2012, 09:33 PM
  #9
Yearling
Outtatheblue, it sounds like Reily is doing every bit as well as people predicted! What a horse! It's normal to do the "what if" thinking (in fact, I wondered when you would start doing that!) but it isn't very healthy in the long run, because this was an accident. Reily could have taken a bad step on that trail and blown a tendon - and you wouldn't have been able to ride him or show him in any of the events that are still on your to-do list. In other words, this accident left you with 99% of your horse where some other accidents would not have.

All that being said, it is normal to grieve for what you lost, and for what Reily lost. After that, you move forward again just like you have already been doing, with plans for how to enjoy your super horse. The people who don't recognize how awesome Reily is are either ignorant (they only know about the frantic, anxious horses who don't deal well with the loss of sight) or shallow (looks are more important to them than talent). So, ignorant you can fix - Reily's adaptation is the lesson for them! Shallow - I wouldn't waste my time on them.
Wallaby and CLaPorte432 like this.
     
    04-14-2012, 10:16 PM
  #10
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ladytrails    
Outtatheblue, it sounds like Reily is doing every bit as well as people predicted! What a horse! It's normal to do the "what if" thinking (in fact, I wondered when you would start doing that!) but it isn't very healthy in the long run, because this was an accident. Reily could have taken a bad step on that trail and blown a tendon - and you wouldn't have been able to ride him or show him in any of the events that are still on your to-do list. In other words, this accident left you with 99% of your horse where some other accidents would not have.

All that being said, it is normal to grieve for what you lost, and for what Reily lost. After that, you move forward again just like you have already been doing, with plans for how to enjoy your super horse. The people who don't recognize how awesome Reily is are either ignorant (they only know about the frantic, anxious horses who don't deal well with the loss of sight) or shallow (looks are more important to them than talent). So, ignorant you can fix - Reily's adaptation is the lesson for them! Shallow - I wouldn't waste my time on them.
Ah I know it isn't healthy! It just keeps snowballing until I feel terrible and am only focusing on what I could have done to prevent it, instead of how I should deal with it now that it's done. And I know it could have been SO much worse! I think I've been lucky with this horse, in the four years I've owned him we've had zero health problems/accidents. None at all... vet bills were very cheap! I took that for granted, and something I never would have thought happened did. But I am grateful that it is not affecting his soundness and riding now!

This whole thing gets more complicated though emotions wise... the person who let go of the branch that got flung into Reily's eye I recently found out didn't realize her part in the whole ordeal (I told her when it happened, but then we didn't think it would end NEARLY this bad and weren't too worried). Over text they asked me if there letting go of the branch was the cause, and I couldn't lie so I told them it was, BUT that I knew it was a freak accident and no one was at fault really. They apologized many times, and even offered to help pay. Of course I couldn't hold anyone responsible for something that could have happened to anyone, anytime, etc. just a freak accident.

She then texted me hoping it wouldn't affect our friendship, which I didn't think it would at all. But now when I see them at the barn.. I think they still feel guilty/something and always look sad when they see me. Whenever I see them, I remember everything about that day and it's just a reminder of our hope (they were with me the whole way encouraging me about Reily's eye) that was unfortunately VERY high that was completely wrong. Or I remember the actual day of the trail, how we were smiling and happy not thinking his eye would be THAT bad (I thought it was only a scrape at most until I got back to the barn because of the way Reily acted). I think when I probably look sad when I'm around her because all of those reminders start bubbling up, and I don't like dealing with them. BUT I think she sees this as me being mad at her, which I am 100% not. I cannot put blame on this accident on anyone beside myself, because ultimately I am responsible for my horse especially since I was riding him. BUT even then, I'm beginning to come to grips with this being a complete freak accident.

I know we just need to talk in person about it, but I'm very nearly sure it will make me emotional which I don't like to be in front of people. It makes me so sad though, because now we barely say anything to eachother at the barn and we used to talk all the time...

Too true, thanks for the descriptions of the people. Unfortunately, I think we are going to run into a lot of the shallow people at the horse shows this year. But we'll just grin and bear it. As for the ignorant, I do plan on proving them wrong and surprising them. There's one person at the barn who treats Reily extra 'careful' when I have him out.. which isn't bad per-say (sp? Haha) but my plan of action is/was treat him the exact same as before and address any issues as they come. I don't want to baby him too much and make it sort of self-fulfilling by treating him 'careful' making it so I always have to treat him 'careful'.

Unfortunately I'm leaving for Wyoming tomorrow and won't be back in town until Tuesday, I'm going to miss my boy! My lessor is going to take care of him while I'm gone, and Tuesday night she's going to use him for a 4-H level test (she just has to canter a circle both ways) I'm hoping I make it back in time to watch :) my goal is to get her and him to state this year, I think that would be fantastic!
     

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