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KaiKamm93 11-29-2012 07:15 PM

Wanted: Advice for Liberty/Natural Horsemanship training with Blind Horse
My horse is completely blind in one eye and has a cataract in the other eye. He still functions on his own without a problem as far as mobility, moving around obstacles, figuring stuff out, etc. With his confident, curious, and fast-pace personality, you'd never know he was blind under saddle or in the aisle. (We do eventing.... so clearly we're up for a challenge :P)

He follows me around perfectly, like a puppy, with or without a halter/bridle. He knows to backup when I face him and walk at him "strongly" and say BACK. He knows to swing his haunches over when I step at his barrel quickly and say "OVER." He walk/trot/canters beautifully off voice commands on the lunge line. Free lunging, however, is a hilariously different story. He's great until we get to canter...... but then he remembers that canter is his favorite gait, and we suddenly forget what the downward cues mean. :P

So yeah. For all you natural horsemanship people out there, what else is there to teach a horse that works off voice commands? Obviously I can't work with body language since he can't see my body 75% of the time, so what kind of different verbal tricks can I work on to keep my horse interested? He LOVES having a job and learns REALLY quickly, so I like to keep teaching him stuff to keep him thinking. :)

Fargosgirl 11-30-2012 06:12 PM

Your post reminded me of a movie I haven't seen in ages. It was called "Pride Of The Blue Grass". It's the story of a race horse that loses its sight from a blow to the head, the owner refuses to give up on the horse and retrains it to be a steeple chaser using voice cues to tell the horse when to jump and how high. I just looked it up hoping to find a copy, so I can see it again. A cool fact is that the horse played himself, a real blind thoroughbred named Gantry. It was on of my favorite movies when I was a kid, I loved the scenes where they are figuring out how to teach the horse when to jump.

Back to your question, I think you are only limited by your imagination! My only suggestion: if you can yield forequarters and hindquarters equally well, then sidepassing should be fairly simple to ask for, then add a specific voice command for sideways.

Fargosgirl 11-30-2012 06:17 PM

Just found this link, you might find interesting, it's the true story behind Gantry the Great, and how he was trained for the movie.

Blind Horse Stars in Film – Pride of the Blue Grass, 1939 Do What's Right, Not What's Easy

PunksTank 11-30-2012 06:21 PM

We have a blind mini at our rescue learnjng unmounted agility off verbal cues. 'step up' and 'jump' are our current two hieghts that she knows, for poles or raised poles. She knows w/t/c in hand but same as yours gets carried away at the canter. Using physical cues is the only way to communicate when verbal isn't with blind horses. So we do need a lead on her when working at a canter. Until his verbal cue is strongly backed up with a physical cue i wouldn't try it at liberty.

If your mounted stop the same as you would any horse, unmounted stay clipped on until he has a stronger response.

PunksTank 11-30-2012 06:22 PM

Sorry double post

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