Working with a 1/2 blind mare
Theres this mare on the farm, her name is Rosie, her owners abandoned her and no one does anything with her at all, I feel really bad for her and I want to start playing with her just grooming and walking around. But hes 1/2 blind (she has UVitis) and not used to being handled, she likes me and comes up to me in the field and pet her and touch her all over so I guess thats a good start, but how should I go about working with her to keep her comfortable and happy?
I worked at a rescue shelter that took in a throughbred mare that had lost an eye in a trailering accident. She was brought to us panicy and very frightened and it took quite a long time before anyone could get near her let alone touch her. I'd like to congratulate you for taking the time to want to work with a horse with such a severe handicap because they really do deserve all the love any other horse does.
You are a huge step ahead of where we were, because she already trusts you and will walk up to you. The first you you need to remember is that her field of vision is less than 1/2 of what it should be. So she is liable to start more than other horses at flickers of movement or touch, so always approach her on her sighted side and speak to her. Touch her where she can see you and slide your hand around to her blind side so she can feel the preasure. When working on the blind side, talk to her, alot. Ongoing conversations are good, so she doesn't forget you're there.
Her other senses, like those of a human, will improve, and you'll notice she's the first one to recognize visitors to the barn or pasture.
Our Stable owner rides that 1/2 blind mare now, and its a real posibility for you. If the horse trusts you to see what she cant and you trust her when she puts a foot down or stops at a sound. Start slow, move slower than you would with a normal horse, and remember trust is 100x more important.
I'll get pictures of Rosie next time im at the barn :) I dont think ill ever ride her I have no idea how long its been since shes been ridden. Unfortunatly her bad eye is beginning to shrivel up and die. Her owners want nothing to do with her and if someone doesnt pay for surgery to have the eye removed she might have to be put down if the eye dies and effects the brain or something :(
Uevitis is the swelling of the iris (I think, if memory serves). Depending on the cause I doubt the eye would be dying. Uevitis is very painful for the horse because of the swelling and is generally treatable, but not fixable by anti-inflammatory eye drops which are relatively inexpensive.
As for working with a blind horse, it is no different than working with any other horse. It sounds like she trusts you so continue building on that trust and she'll do anything for you.
I worked with a mare with uevitis and no vet had any idea how she had developed the disease or how to treat it. It was also accompanied by excess tearing and was quite obviously painful for her because she would open her eyes only a sliver in conditions brighter than dusk. At the beginning she would constantly spook and was difficult to handle, but as she trusted me more she turned into a confident horse. We competed at second level dressage and 2'6 hunters with many championships and schooled to about 3'9 jumping and third level dressage.
So don't give up on this mare, with some medical treatment and more trust she'll end up being a great partner.
^ I agree with the above. There is a horse used on the equestrian team at my school who is blind in on eye and he is an awesome jumper!!! Jumped like 4ft,one of the best out there. All I can say is once this horse has your trust she will probably do most of anything for you! Good Luck!
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