I would like to know your thoughts and experience with blind horses.
At the barn I used to ride, one of the mare recently became blind. She is 15yo, got a baby 4 months ago and totally lost her sight about a month ago.
This started with an eye infection due to flies. The vet came several times and treated the infection with antibiotics and some kind of product to put in her eyes (I do not know the details of the treatment, but the vet said many horses in this area got this kind of infection this year, so apparently he knew what it was). The treatment did not help and surgery was the next step. Unfortunately even after the surgery the mare kept loosing her sight until she became totally blind. Now she walk straight into walls/fences/other horses... She does not react to people gesture, flashy colors (ie. umbrella) or anything else sight related.
What can you do with a blind horse? If you already trained a blind horse, what did you achieve?
From my personal experience and thinking:
- horse confidence into the rider is the most important
- hard wooded fences instead of electric tape
- some said to put a buddy with a bell so the blind horse can follow the buddy to the water and hay. I am afraid it will become impossible to separate the blind horse from her buddy
- flat work, and trail ride on easy trails is fine
Someone told me he heard that once upon a time a blind horse was able to to jumper show by following a buddy with a bell (basically 2 riders 2 horses) -- obviously they were not part of the main show. Anybody heard of a similar story?
At this point the barn/mare owner hesitates between retiring the mare and leaving her in a pasture (with all necessary care!) or to ask instructors to work with her. Beginners and intermediary riders will never be allowed to ride her (not to make her loose the confidence she has in people).
What are your thought? Any brilliant suggestion?
What would you do?