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Carmen32 02-22-2011 10:44 AM

breaking a blind 2 year old
 
I have a 2 year old appaloosa filly who was recently diagnosed with moonblindness and cataracts. She is completely blind in her left eye and the vet thinks she will soon be blind in her right eye as well. I was just about to start breaking her to ride, but now I'm not so sure. Has anyone has any experience with something like this? Should I continue her training and still try to break her or should I not and just focus on ground work that may not be so hard for her?

kitten_Val 02-22-2011 10:49 AM

I read an awesome article once (I think it was Horse Magazine, but I'm not positive). The horse went blind, but he was so trusting the owner that she kept working with him and competed in dressage. So why not to give a try? Start with ground work and then just see from there. But again the horse has to have a complete trust in you because you'll be her eyes! Good luck!

apachiedragon 02-22-2011 10:53 AM

I have a blind Saddlebred that I ride. He went blind at an older age (early teens), but from the same thing. He was already trained to ride, but I essentially had to retrain him anyway once he lost his sight. Her trust level in you is extremely important. Anything you teach her will take twice as long. Verbal cues are your best friend. My horse will relax as long as I keep up consistent light pressure on the reins to constantly direct him, and keep up a steady stream of chatter. If I get quiet, he gets nervous. (I have actually taken to riding him with my mp3 player on, and singing to him whatever happens to play, lol) The main thing to remember is that you ARE her eyes, so if you let her bump things or stumble, she will learn not to trust your judgement. But as long as she is given plenty of time to learn new tasks, and you don't try to push her too far out of her comfort level, there is no reason she can't be a riding horse.

Production Acres 02-22-2011 02:03 PM

This is a good way to DIE!!!!! Half blind horses or blind horses are NOT SAFE! They startle much too easily! Been around several in my life - have one finishing raising a foal right now. NO - you don't try to ride one, much less try to break one to saddle. Did I say - THIS IS A GOOD WAY TO DIE!!!

They need either put down or left in the same paddock for the rest of their natural life. Change is not good for these animals.

RoosterDo 02-22-2011 02:11 PM

Growing up a neighbor had a gelding blind in one eye and missing the other eye completely he was very trusting and Im pretty sure every kid in the neighborhood rode him. The real kicker is he was so good and so gentle we rode him bareback with only a halter out on the roads and trails.Just take your time and I think you will grow a really special bond being your horses eyes!

Carmen32 02-22-2011 02:44 PM

Thanks everyone for your opinions. I've heard stories about blind horses who went blind later in life and were ridden fine, but I've also heard stories about some who weren't ridable anymore. I've never heard anything about anyone breaking a blind horse, however.

Something the vet mentioned to me was a cataract removal surgery, that would return her eyesight to her. It's very expensive, and the vet didn't seem to think it was something that has a great success rate. Has anyone ever had an experience with a horse who has undergone this surgery?

apachiedragon 02-22-2011 02:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Production Acres (Post 937065)
This is a good way to DIE!!!!! Half blind horses or blind horses are NOT SAFE! They startle much too easily! Been around several in my life - have one finishing raising a foal right now. NO - you don't try to ride one, much less try to break one to saddle. Did I say - THIS IS A GOOD WAY TO DIE!!!

They need either put down or left in the same paddock for the rest of their natural life. Change is not good for these animals.

That's a horrible outlook. It very much depends on the horse and the person working with it. Some can't handle it, but most have absolutely no problem adapting to loss of eyesight. It simply takes common sense and taking the necessary precautions. You can fire a gun off next to my horse, and he will do nothing more than lift his head. And he was abused as a youngster. Shame on you for generalizing all blind horses in this way.

spookychick13 02-22-2011 02:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Production Acres (Post 937065)
This is a good way to DIE!!!!! Half blind horses or blind horses are NOT SAFE! They startle much too easily! Been around several in my life - have one finishing raising a foal right now. NO - you don't try to ride one, much less try to break one to saddle. Did I say - THIS IS A GOOD WAY TO DIE!!!

They need either put down or left in the same paddock for the rest of their natural life. Change is not good for these animals.

I have to politely disagree. My 1/2 blind arabian was perfectly safe and I rode him until his retirement at age 30. He was a lovely horse with a disability, that is all.
I know plenty of people with blind horses that do just fine.

What would the alternative be? Destroy the horse?

ShutUpJoe 02-22-2011 03:21 PM

I disagree on the whole death thing.

I think the owners of these horses would disagree too.

Alwaysbehind 02-22-2011 03:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Production Acres (Post 937065)
This is a good way to DIE!!!!! Half blind horses or blind horses are NOT SAFE! They startle much too easily! Been around several in my life - have one finishing raising a foal right now. NO - you don't try to ride one, much less try to break one to saddle. Did I say - THIS IS A GOOD WAY TO DIE!!!

They need either put down or left in the same paddock for the rest of their natural life. Change is not good for these animals.

Not always.

A friend had a horse that was very successful at hunter shows (so yes, it was jumping) that during a PPE for the new buyer it was discovered that the horse was completely blind in one eye and had limited vision in the other.
The horse just trusted the rider and had adapted well to its lack of vision.

Backing a blind 2yo is something that would depend greatly on the temperament of the 2yo.


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