Buying a horse that's blind in one eye? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 37 Old 02-23-2016, 07:21 AM Thread Starter
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Buying a horse that's blind in one eye?

I am not quite ready to buy yet... but have started looking around. As soon as it's warm enough (in about a month), I could pick up horse # 2 if the right horse came along and just pasture board him for now. BO will give me a significant price reduction if I don't need a stall. Not that I'm in a hurry (we are building our barn this spring), but as I said, if the right horse came along...

So essentially, I want a very, very quiet horse. Call it a husband horse, a mom horse, a kid-safe horse - basically a dead broke horse that has a lot more whoa than go. Solid training is a must, absolutely no spooking or foolishness. I'd rather get a horse that plods along than one that is jittery and skittish. I must be able to take it on lots of trails so it should be sound and not afraid of cars, ATVs, animals, etc. Our current horse is jittery on trails so I'm hoping this one would be a reassuring presence. An older horse would be great. One that is retired from showing or schooling and is ready for a laid-back lifestyle.

While I haven't been actively looking, I noticed three horses recently that were being shown to non-show homes only (that would be me - we already have a horse that can show, this one will also be a companion horse for him). Two of the three were blind in one eye. The other had a "slightly" clubbed foot. Otherwise, they seemed to meet the criteria and seemed to get around fine. My question is would you even consider a horse like this? I asked one seller about the cause of the blindness and she said the vet thought it was "moon blindness". I read up on it and would be concerned that the other eye would eventually be affected.

What do you think? Should I cross a horse like that off my list? Will it be more likely to spook because it can't see on one side of its head? I understand that each horse is an individual, but just how much of a handicap is blindness in one eye?
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post #2 of 37 Old 02-23-2016, 07:45 AM
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No, absolutely don't cross a blind-in-one-eye off your list.

However, if the has been removed due to cancer, I wouldn't want the risk of the cancer coming back somewhere else.

My first horse became blind one eye due to moon blindness. It never changed her, I could still stand on her bareback and pick apples off the tree. She did not have increased spookiness when I road her down the road.

A good friend bought a pair of Tennessee Walkers who are half brothers. The breeder unwittingly sent them to an Amish guy to break. The nice Amish man nearly ripped the tongue clear off one horse and caused the other horse to go blind in one eye.

They have had these horses for several years and blind horse remains unspookable. They are hard trail riders, like I used to be, so the horse is on some pretty rough trails and rides thru the river.

IMHO, the key to buying a horse like this, is how much spook the horse naturally comes with.

With fair treatment and some extra consideration by the handler(s), the horse can excel at trail riding, being a friend, and keeping Harley company.

As long as Harley doesn't turn out to be aggressive and starts to devil the blind horse because he recognizes its weakness. I have to keep my IR horse with lifelong injuries permanently separated from my other horse, just for this reason, which is I why I bring it up.

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I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.
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post #3 of 37 Old 02-23-2016, 07:51 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by walkinthewalk View Post
No, absolutely don't cross a blind-in-one-eye off your list.

However, if the has been removed due to cancer, I wouldn't want the risk of the cancer coming back somewhere else.

My first horse became blind one eye due to moon blindness. It never changed her, I could still stand on her bareback and pick apples off the tree. She did not have increased spookiness when I road her down the road.

A good friend bought a pair of Tennessee Walkers who are half brothers. The breeder unwittingly sent them to an Amish guy to break. The nice Amish man nearly ripped the tongue clear off one horse and caused the other horse to go blind in one eye.

They have had these horses for several years and blind horse remains unspookable. They are hard trail riders, like I used to be, so the horse is on some pretty rough trails and rides thru the river.

IMHO, the key to buying a horse like this, is how much spook the horse naturally comes with.

With fair treatment and some extra consideration by the handler(s), the horse can excel at trail riding, being a friend, and keeping Harley company.

As long as Harley doesn't turn out to be aggressive and starts to devil the blind horse because he recognizes its weakness. I have to keep my IR horse with lifelong injuries permanently separated from my other horse, just for this reason, which is I why I bring it up.
Thanks walkinthewalk! Good to know! I just didn't know what to think and hubby couldn't believe I was even considering a horse that's blind in one eye, but I figure if they're getting around ok...

Harley is at the bottom of the totem pole in a herd usually, but lately, he has been challenging the big percheron X who is the alpha. We have noticed a lot of bite marks on the big guy's neck from Harley! Not sure what is going on.

What I have noticed is that he has the least amount of conflict with mares. I think other geldings are competition to him. There is a mare at his barn that he became friends with - they were in a paddock alone together at first, until he got used to the two geldings. They never fought once. They became best buddies in no time and the mare got quite attached to him. So I'm going to be looking for a submissive mare.
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post #4 of 37 Old 02-23-2016, 07:52 AM
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^^ I agree, and horses with vision problems are much more common than people think. Many horses adjust so well that you wouldn't know by casually observing them.
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post #5 of 37 Old 02-23-2016, 08:07 AM
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Yep, one horse I used to ride was mostly blind in one eye. Another horse I rode only had one eye. The only way we knew the one horse was mostly blind was that in an arena he liked to turn his head in off the wall when going a certain direction. Other than that, he would let cars pass on the blind side and was not spooky, very safe to ride.

The second horse was the most surefooted horse I've ever ridden. He was a big Thoroughbred and he'd lost his eye from a tree branch that poked his eye out on a trail ride. He watched his feet more than other horses and never tripped. I galloped him very fast and felt completely safe doing so. He was mellow, sweet, never spooked.

I also knew a kid's pony that was completely blind and trusted kids to steer her around in an arena. She'd walk, trot and canter, never spooked even though totally blind. They kept her in a square field that was hot wired, she learned the perimeter without touching the fence, maybe she could hear the electricity.
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post #6 of 37 Old 02-23-2016, 08:13 AM
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I haven't had any experience with a horse that is blind in one eye but as others have said, if the horse is a good solid riding horse and not spooky then it should be a good horse.
I did buy a horse with a club foot and he was a good riding horse but had a huge stride (warmblood) and he needed shoes and I had a lot of trouble keeping a shoe on that foot as he would hook the shoe with his hind foot and pull it off, sometimes taking a fair bit of hoof with it so he couldn't be ridden until the hoof grew out again. I don't think I would buy a horse with a club foot again. If this horse can be ridden without shoes it might be alright if everything else about the horse meets your criteria.
If you do look at a horse, try to get it on a months trial so you have time to see if the horse will be a good fit for you and your family. You want to be sure this is a horse that you can ride out on alone so need to be doing that before purchase.
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post #7 of 37 Old 02-23-2016, 08:45 AM
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Club hoof ---- I forgot to address that <sigh>.

My Rusty has a less-than-grade one club hoof that we know is genetic because I have his papers.

He has hooves like a goat, so has been trail ridden barefoot most of his life.

What does happen with his club hoof, is the toe wears down to the white line and a club hoof always tends to grow an extreme amount of heel. These horses need trimmed more frequently.

Rusty is coming 22 and has been with me since he was 2-1/2. What has happened, over the years, is that the opposite shoulder/leg muscle has become 1/2 inch longer to compensate. The vet measured him, so I'm sure about that, lol.

Club hooves are more prone to thrush on a good day and if not properly trimmed will develop not only a toe crack on the club hoof but a toe crack on the diagonal rear.

Meaning, you will find out just how a good a farrier isn't when they can't keep a minor club hoof like Rusty balanced.

I currently have an excellent farrier working in him and the kicker is this kid's never been to formal school, yet he has a complete understanding and gut instinct as to how Rusty needs trimmed.

Rusty bouts with thrush have also been very minimal since this young man started trimming him, 3-1/2 years ago. He still needs a spray of Banixx 10:1 over the other horse but most of that is me spraying his frogs, just because.

Rusty is a Tennessee Walker, which further complicates things, so he doesn't lose his champagne-smooth running walk.

Those few times Rusty did wear shoes, he would manage to hook a front shoe on something out where all the rocks are. They are better off being barefoot and wearing proper fitting hoof boots for riding.

Me personally, would not deal with a club hoof worse than Rusty's, as I can well imagine it might beget other structural issues.
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I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.
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post #8 of 37 Old 02-23-2016, 08:59 AM
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WTW is right about the thrush, I never had that problem but it does happen.
I did try boots on my horse but he pulled it off just like he did the shoe so that didn't work.

Also I was at a clinic where they discussed club feet and the instructor had picture of horses that had a bulged shoulder because of uneven hoof length and that made for difficult saddle fittings and I know this can be true because a friend had a horse with a club foot and the bulged shoulder and lots of trouble finding a saddle that fit properly.
I think it would be best to avoid those problems when looking for a horse.
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post #9 of 37 Old 02-23-2016, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodhaven View Post
Also I was at a clinic where they discussed club feet and the instructor had picture of horses that had a bulged shoulder because of uneven hoof length and that made for difficult saddle fittings and I know this can be true because a friend had a horse with a club foot and the bulged shoulder and lots of trouble finding a saddle that fit properly.
I think it would be best to avoid those problems when looking for a horse.
^^^Something that never occurred to me, since I ride bareback.

I do have an old Orthoflex (when R.L. Watson was building their trees) that fit Rusty well but he never wore it for more than one or two hours when someone else was riding him. Plus he was a lot younger and that shoulder muscle hadn't started to show any discrepancies.

I agree the less grief would be a horse with one eye, as opposed to having to babysit a club hoof, especially as the horse ages. I consider myself lucky that Rusty has never been lame.
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I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.
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post #10 of 37 Old 02-23-2016, 11:06 AM
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I had a riding pony that went blind from moon blindness and I wouldn't want to go through that again. Like most it started in one eye and eventually moved to the other. When it was just in one eye she was fine, then as the vision started being affected in the other eye she was only fine for me to ride (trust thing someone else would get on her and she wouldn't move). When her vision went completely it was horrible. She did nothing but spin in circles and scream. She'd run into the fence, conk her head against things and was drenched in sweat all the time. After a week I called the vet to come and euthanize because I couldn't stand her being that scared and confused. In his experience ones that reacted in panic when they first lost their vision didn't calm down even with more time to adjust.

R.I.P. JC 5/19/85 - 12/9/14. You made my life better.
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