TheHorse.com Poll Recap: Caring for Blind Horses
- Nov 21, 2012
One respondent said, "I have owned a one-eyed horse for 23 years; he is the best horse I have ever ridden."
In last week's online poll, TheHorse.com asked whether or not readers had ever cared for a blind or partially blind horse. More than 650 readers responded and we've tallied the results.
Sixty-eight percent of respondents indicated they had cared for a blind or partially blind horse, while 32% indicated they had not.
Additionally, readers shared more than 120 comments, tips, and questions about managing vision-impaired equids.
Some readers shared good experiences with caring for blind horses:
- "They trust you completely."
- "I have owned a one-eyed horse for 23 years; he is the best horse I have ever ridden."
- "The first months are difficult, but if they trust you it's a wonderful experience."
Several respondents didn't have such good luck with the difficult task and shared their experiences as well:
- "Very difficult to manage well."
- "They definitely require a lot of planning in their care."
- "My 20 y/o TB gelding just lost an eye 4 months ago. It's been a difficult adjustment for him."
- "The mare I cared for didn't adjust particularly well, so her owners opted to euthanize her."
Some respondents offered tips for caring for blind horses. "A gentle companion is the kindest and smartest thing you can do for them," one reader said.
Many readers shared success stories:
- "We boarded a blind mare at our place for years. She even raised two foals."
- "(This horse was) partially blind in one eye. Went cross-country at all speeds just fine. Maneuvered to look at things."
- "Had a horse go blind in one eye. Didn't hold him back. We fox hunted and showed for 12 years afterward."
- "I endurance race a Quarab that is totally blind in one eye, and may be developing blindness in the other."
- "(This horse) was blind in one eye. He got along just fine. Even continued showing in the hunter ring."
- "Our old guy suffers from uveitis in both eyes although you'd never know it from the way he acts!"
Some respondents shared the reasoning behind their horses' impaired vision:
- "My mare had severe uveitis following a severe allergic reaction resulting in temporary total blindness."
- "I currently have a mule that is going blind due to a brain tumor."
- "Cared for an OTTB eventer who went blind from uveitis."
- "A young mare of mine tragically lost an eye in a field accident."
- "I cared for a retired TB who had a detached retina in one eye."
- "My aging horse is partially blind in one eye. His other eye has both cataracts and glaucoma."
Finally, a few readers who haven't cared for blind horses shared their thoughts on the topic:
- "I'd like to read more about the adjustment. Most say they do well but no time frame is given."
- "I think it would be a fascinating adventure."
The results of our weekly polls are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter, which offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters on our homepage and look for a new poll on TheHorse.com every week!
About the Author
Erica Larson, news editor, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in three-day eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.