I have a 25 year old thoroughbred in good health and rideable, although his gaits are a little "syncopated." He has always been spooky. Lately though, barn workers tell me they think he is losing his vision. So what ARE the symptoms of vision loss? Here are my horses:
-- Just about EVERY time he comes out of the barn, he freezes, "blows" through his nostrils and fixates on something we can't see.
-- Several times in his stall (which has two windows and a dutch door) he "freaks out", presumably in response to something he sees or thinks he sees. Barn workers tell me they are afraid he'll hurt himself.
-- He's getting minor pasture injuries more often, an eye injury, swollen fetlock, and he seems to have trouble keeping his footing/slipping.
-- And the coup de grace, I was handwalking him the other day while we had a horse show on the premises. We were further from the barn than I normally go, and suddenly he freaked out. He usually spooks, but this time he really tried to bolt repeatedly - like out of the starting gate bolt -- and I thought he would get away from me.
I didn't figure out my guy was losing vision until I moved to a new barn and i noticed he bumped into me when checking the place out. Soon enough, he adapted so well that I didn't notice until I moved to yet another barn, and the bumping into me was more pronounced.
When riding, he hated the wind in his face. I took to riding with a fly mask as it calmed him down. I realized after the barn move that wind blew leaves and dust at him that he couldn't see.
It's easy for the vet to check. If your guy lost his vision rather suddenly, I could see your symptoms being related to that!