Need advice on blind foal! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 07-22-2015, 06:26 AM Thread Starter
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Need advice on blind foal!

We have a foal of 8 months who can see very little. Only when you get really really close she can see. Her mom is now sick and needs treatment. My daughter has a Welsh mare of 20 years!

I was wondering if we can place the foal and welsh mare in a stable for some time so they could get used to each other? Then maybe, if they get along, the foal could rely on the mare and follow her around as she is doing now with her mom? The pony only gets ridden every once in a while...

Any other advice on how to wean this foal? I do NOT want to put her down, but will do what is best for her.

Thank you!
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post #2 of 9 Old 07-22-2015, 10:20 AM
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Why is she going blind? Has any treatment been suggested?
She's certainly old enough to be weaned.
Stabling with the older mare should be OK but not in the same confined area or stall.
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post #3 of 9 Old 07-22-2015, 10:25 AM
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"Stabling with the older mare should be OK but not in the same confined area or stall."

Do you have safe fencing, like pipe panel, that you can put between the pony and the foal, if they haven't already been in the same paddock? That way, they can touch noses and feel one another while the mare is tended to. Hope the mare recovers from her illness.

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post #4 of 9 Old 07-22-2015, 10:33 AM
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I also have a pony that was almost blind, it was cataracts. This is a problem for some foals. It is passed down from the parents. Have the vet check to see if it is cataracts. They can be operated on. But best to do before one year of age. There may not be a vet hospital in your area that will even do it. It is expensive. I had mine done and she can see well enough to run in the pasture without running into trees or fence. If nothing can be done, she needs a good partner. You are on the right path to introduce her to another, older pony. If they bond, and they should over time, she will follow it and it will take care of her. I have had a lot of good advice over this forum on mine, when I felt it was not coming thru with sight. The best of wishes.
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post #5 of 9 Old 07-26-2015, 04:40 PM
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Before you stable them together, see how they interact in a controlled situation. You should have a way to control both horses---halter and lead. If they get on okay then consider turning them into a large stall or safely fenced pen that doesn't have anything the foal can get hurt on.
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Cindy D.
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post #6 of 9 Old 07-26-2015, 06:06 PM
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I think the main concern is that the foal cannot see any warning signs given so the mare may up the correction too much.
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post #7 of 9 Old 07-26-2015, 06:27 PM
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Two stalls side by side allows for weaning to take place yet offers the companionship of the other mare. The foal needs another horse nearby or it will think it will be dinner. (old instinct). There may be a lot of hollering at first but it will settle down.

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post #8 of 9 Old 07-26-2015, 09:12 PM
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Subbing... I really hope you can work this out <3 Poor thing.

The sensitivity of the internet baffles me.
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post #9 of 9 Old 07-28-2015, 10:54 PM
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What type of barn/pasture situation do you have? What was your plan for weaning the filly anyway? How is she with other horses with her mother around? Could you stable/pasture the mare and foal beside the 20 year old mare to see how they all get along together?

How much have you handled the filly so far? How does she respond to being handled? What do you plan on doing with her? Are you going to train her to be ridden/driven?

I would recommend putting the mare and foal in a stall/paddock beside the 20 year old mare or introduce them in a controlled situation. Watch the 20 year old's attitude toward the filly very carefully. Look for any signs that she feels threatened by the filly. Most likely, the mare will either ignore her or just accept her as another member of the 'herd'. However, if the filly is going to be alone with just the 20 year old mare then when/if you decide to do anything with the filly later, you'll likely end up having to 'wean' her again from the 20 year old.

I would suggest that you begin working with the filly to develop her other senses and her trust in humans so she can be turned out with a 'herd' and used as a riding/driving horse. Depending on her personality and mind, she could very easily develop into a good horse or her handicap could limit her to being a companion only. If you work with her constantly and consistently it's much more likely for her to be the former.

Yours is a different situation than I had, but I thought I'd share what I've experienced. We had an Arab/Saddlebred gelding that lost his left eye as a 2 year old. The vet recommended euthanizing him, but we knew he had a good mind, so we didn't. We spent a tremendous amount of time (daily) with him working on his good side and then doing the same on his bad side. Basically we sacked him out almost constantly on that blind side for a good few weeks. We we able to turn him out with the herd of 10 horses (including 4 foals, a couple geldings, & the rest mares) after we had worked with him. He turned into a great horse that could be trail ridden and even jumped by anyone. When he was 22, his good eye got scratched and developed cataracts and scars that prevented him from seeing very well from it. We had a mare that had been his pasture mate for 16 of her 18 years. On normal days, that mare was marish (sometimes downright *itchy), but when he couldn't see she would lead him to the water trough, to the feeding stations, and back out to graze with his head laid across her back. So I guess, what I'm saying is that it can be done!
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