Barrel Racing... with one eyed pony? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 06-20-2009, 07:40 PM Thread Starter
Yearling
 
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Barrel Racing... with one eyed pony?

Hey there, I have a question that I'd like your opinions on.
I have an appaloosa pony that was rescued, and her left eye is scratched from an accident. I wanted to train her western this summer with the help of my coach, and then I remembered how fun barrel racing was when I was a kid (I've been riding english for 6 years now). I was thinking it would be fun to do barrels with this pony, but I remembered that she had barely any vision in that eye and might not be able to see the barrel. I was thinking that it should be ok because she has me to steer her, and I would be walking her around the pattern for a while so she would know that there is in fact a barrel there. I just wanted to know what you guys thought of it? I haven't ever really barrel raced, so I didn't know if perfect vision or anything was a major factor.
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post #2 of 11 Old 06-20-2009, 07:48 PM
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I have a mare that's blind in one eye to!! I think you should try, the worst that cauld happen is she doesnt do it!
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post #3 of 11 Old 06-20-2009, 07:49 PM
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You could give it a shot. I don't think she could ever be competative due to the blindness but just for fun could work. She would have to have an incredible amount of trust in you for it to work though. If I was going to do it, I would run the pattern where you only turn her to the blind side once and the other 2 to her sighted side. You may work out some signal to her that the barrel is coming up from the start; like maybe when you get about 2 strides out, say "Barrel" or something and that way she will start to learn that when you say barrel, in 2 strides there will be a barrel there. IDK if that would work or not, I have never dealt with a blind horse.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog: http://robertsontraining.blogspot.com/
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post #4 of 11 Old 06-20-2009, 07:57 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smrobs View Post
You could give it a shot. I don't think she could ever be competative due to the blindness but just for fun could work. She would have to have an incredible amount of trust in you for it to work though. If I was going to do it, I would run the pattern where you only turn her to the blind side once and the other 2 to her sighted side. You may work out some signal to her that the barrel is coming up from the start; like maybe when you get about 2 strides out, say "Barrel" or something and that way she will start to learn that when you say barrel, in 2 strides there will be a barrel there. IDK if that would work or not, I have never dealt with a blind horse.
Thanks for that advice! I think we have enough trust.. lol. I've been told we have a really strong bond, comparing to other people with their horses. And I don't think we'd do any big competitions, maybe just some of the local shows and fairs. :)
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post #5 of 11 Old 06-20-2009, 08:57 PM
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My very first lesson horse was this 17 year old gelding who was blind in his left eye. His name was Winky. He took great care of me and trusted everyone who got on his back. I rode him in many western pleasure classes, took him on trails and we even came in second at a barrel racing competition at a local fair.

When Winky was younger my instructor taught him the different barrel patterns and he had them pretty well memorized. I could walk him through the course just once and then I guess something clicked in his head and the next time he could take off at a full gallop.

About your pony I have to agree with Smrobs. I say give it a try. Just take it slow at first and work your way up.
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post #6 of 11 Old 06-20-2009, 09:01 PM
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I think that it's completely possible for a horse that's blind in one eye to compete. Building trust is the first thing that needs to be established though. She needs to be able to trust everything that you ask of her...and that's asking a lot from a rescue.

There are a couple competitive horse's around here that have a lack of vision in one eye. One of which is SR Red Ryder...who needs to introduction. The other is a very consistant 1D 2D mare. One thing that both riders have in common is trust from their horse.

Good luck.Never hurts to try.
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post #7 of 11 Old 06-20-2009, 09:20 PM
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I competed in games with a one-eyed horse. We did really well, basically try to desensitize him to what you would find in the arena and earn his trust

"And somewhere in the northwoods darkness a creature walks upright. And the best advice you may ever get is: Don't go out at night..."
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post #8 of 11 Old 06-20-2009, 10:08 PM
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It depends how trusting your pony is. Is he comfortable with being blind?
I think he could learn to do barrels if you got him comfortable with it before trying anything drastic.. ya know, practice walking around one barrel and work up. What I would see as a problem here is that barrels are timed and if you were going really fast and your pony got spooked because he couldn't see something, it wouldn't turn out very nicely.. =\
It seems like you and your pony have a great bond. Try it out and see if he has fun with it, but remember not to push him! =]
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post #9 of 11 Old 06-21-2009, 07:10 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IheartPheobe View Post
It depends how trusting your pony is. Is he comfortable with being blind?
I think he could learn to do barrels if you got him comfortable with it before trying anything drastic.. ya know, practice walking around one barrel and work up. What I would see as a problem here is that barrels are timed and if you were going really fast and your pony got spooked because he couldn't see something, it wouldn't turn out very nicely.. =\
It seems like you and your pony have a great bond. Try it out and see if he has fun with it, but remember not to push him! =]
Oh, she is perfectly fine blind. She's been that way since she was a few months old, so she pretty much figured things out. I don't think trust is an issue, I can get her to pretty much do anything as long as I'm with her. I'll just be learning this as well, so we will definitely be doing this slow at first.

Thanks for all the help guys. :)
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post #10 of 11 Old 06-21-2009, 08:32 PM
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Glad we could help and I want updates periodically to know how ya'll are doing. :)

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog: http://robertsontraining.blogspot.com/
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