Friday, October 08, 2010

Living with a Blind Horse

Remember the horse that I had photos of a few weeks ago showing how Appaloosas change colors as they get older. Well that same horse, our Appaloosa, mustang cross horse Star has gone blind. The vets we had look at her weren't really sure why. Maybe she has a problem called uveitis or moon blindness, or maybe it is a genetic problem that seems to be common in Appaloosas. Even appys get moon blindness more that other breeds do. What ever the reason we now have a blind horse. She and I are both having to learn to live with this problem. She still has about 25 percent of her sight and that is just enough to cause her to spook at a lot of things she almost sees that otherwise she would ignore.
Thankfully I have always talked to my horses all the time when I am moving around them. That is the most important part of being safe around a blind horse as it is with all horses. If you talk to them then they know where you are. Star is learning to use her ears and nose more. She quickly learned the sound of the crackly paper that is around her favorite treat - peppermint candies. She is getting a lot more peppermints now as I work with her to earn her trust better and to keep her from being so unhappy.
Star is already showing signs of boredom with her new life. I wish I had more time to spend with her and I would if I could handle being on my feet out in our desert heat. And now I can't let Star be in the same area as our other horses. Some horses will except a blind horse and help them but they are more likely to bully the blind horse as they know there is something not quite right and in the wild a blind animal wouldn't survive very long. Of course all of our other horses are bullies to start with.
What really let me know that there was a problem was when Star ran into the fence and got tangled up. She fell, cutting her right foreleg just above the knee and breaking off a fence post. We were lucky that was all that happened. Just as the cut on her leg was getting well I tried to put her with my other mare, Nita, and Nita kicked her. Star couldn't see the kick coming and it landed right on the knee where the cut was. Her leg has been swollen some ever since then. We are using a water hose to run cool water over it everyday as well as some pain killers for Star as she is limping but it is taking time. But having to run water on her leg is a good part of her new training to help her learn to live with her blindness.
This isn't what I would call fun but I love her and will do what I have to for her.

1 comment:

  1. I can imagine that living with a blind horse would be difficult. Sounds like you are both learning how to cope with it pretty well.