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competing on horse w/blind eye?

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  • competing on horse w/blind eye?

    I seem to remember reading a rule about competing on a horse blind in one eye, but can't find it. I searched the USEF dressage rule pdf and looked around USDF (how do you search there now?!) but couldn't find anything.

    If I recall, it's legal -- any requirements around it?

  • #2
    I will look but I am pretty sure it is legal. There is a woman that competed a totally blind horse up through 4th level if I am not mistaken.

    I will look around!


    • #3
      This is what the general rules say:
      GR841 Soundness.
      Unless specific division rules state otherwise, all animals except stallions and mares in
      Breeding classes must be serviceably sound for competition purposes i.e., such animal
      must not show evidence of lameness or broken wind. Animals with complete loss of sight in
      either eye may be found serviceably sound at the Judge’s discretion
      , except in a class over
      fences where a Judge may ask a rider to change horses.

      chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


      • Original Poster

        MANY thanks. didn't think to search the General rulebook. Guess I should have started at the beginning....
        If all goes well and we get along, I'll have the opportunity to learn a lot from a nicely trained teenaged gelding who just happens to be blind on one side. He doesn't seem to regard it as a problem, but I wanted to make sure I knew the rules.


        • #5
          In the Dressage Rules, DR119:

          Horses showing evidence of broken wind or complete loss of sight in either or both eyes are permitted to compete. Horses with complete loss of sight in both eyes may only participate in classes in which they are shown individually.


          • #6
            You would be surprised how many dressage horses have 1 blind eye, incl. at the FEI levels. I know of 2 successful GP horses who have 1 eye that looks like a blue marble - i.e. it's visually obvious to the observer that the eye is blind, and they still compete and do just fine. I believe that after Imperioso's death, it was disclosed that he was blind in 1 eye. The horse who was Reserve Champ at the Markel YH Championships in the 4 y.o. div. (2006) and 5 y.o. div. (2007) is blind in 1 eye.
            "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - The Little Prince


            • #7
              Sort of off topic, but what is "Broken Wind?"


              • #8
                Competing with an unsoundness

                Originally posted by Fitte View Post
                Sort of off topic, but what is "Broken Wind?"
                The term Broken wind (what an awful old fashioned term), means the horse roars, e.g. makes a noise on inhalation or exhalation due to paralysis of the vocal chords in the larynx.

                Roaring does not really affect a horse working at a slow pace as most dressage horses do, so it should not affect his performance.

                My horse 'makes a slight noise" eg has a slight tendency to roar. It does not affect his performance.

                I used to compete a horse who was blind in one eye. He showed for many years and did well, no-one ever knew he had no vision on one side.
                I am currently training a filly who has only one eye, she has been blind since birth and is very well adapted, it certainly does not seem to bother her!

                But we are careful about her around other horses.

                If the horse is used to it, and well adapted, I'd say go for it. It is legal.
                Last edited by Melyni; Jun. 24, 2008, 07:59 PM. Reason: spelling!
                Melyni (PhD) PAS, Dipl. ACAN.
                Sign up for the Equine nutrition enewsletter on www.foxdenequine.com
                New edition of book is out:
                Horse Nutrition Handbook.



                • #9
                  My daughter competed a horse that was totally blind in one eye, a cataract, and you never would have known it to ride this mare. She was not spooky at all, and carried my daughter around to many good placings in dressage and eventing. It is totally legal to ride a horse with one blind eye, I've seen horses at recognized events and shows, with just one eye. There was a horse just a few years ago that competed at the Burghley event in England, that was blind in one eye, went clean, and took the longer routes.

                  So it's not uncommon even at the highest levels.


                  • #10
                    I seem to have a penchant for one eyed horses. My retired horse was blind in one eye and I showed him in dressage and I jumped him in hunters. Current mare is also blind in one eye and I event her. Both are stiffer on the blind side and a bit spookier and the mare had some issues picking up the canter lead on that side. After learning to trust they had no issues and also had no problems jumping.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post
                      I seem to have a penchant for one eyed horses. My retired horse was blind in one eye and I showed him in dressage and I jumped him in hunters. Current mare is also blind in one eye and I event her. Both are stiffer on the blind side and a bit spookier and the mare had some issues picking up the canter lead on that side. After learning to trust they had no issues and also had no problems jumping.
                      i have a student who competes in the jr. jumpers "aa"- her ottb not only rocks the jumpers but raced w/ one eye. he is a touch spookier on that side- but not too much. i think that USEA has a rule about horses w/ one eye not going above a certain level- cant be certain tho.
                      "If you were doing it wrong I would say something..."


                      • #12
                        I competed a horse for four years that was totally blind. Took him thru 2nd level. To my knowledge, the judges never knew and only my closest friends who were aware of his problem ever had a clue to his blindness. Made me much more aware of our surrounds and exactly "where" we were. He trusted me to be his eyes and tell him where to go...I trusted him to take me there safely...and he did. We developed a very special relationship. I learned an awful lot from that horse. I truly miss him.
                        A poorly fitted saddle hampers both horse and rider.


                        • #13
                          Seems I read somewhere a few years ago that Granat was actually blind in one eye, although they tried to keep that fact as unpublicized as possible. Anybody know if this is true?


                          • #14
                            There was an Appy that showed Dressage...

                            in Indiana named Rain Dancer that was blind in one eye.

                            And I thought I heard or read somewhere that the blind horse part of the movie "The Long Shot" was loosly based on a true event of some horse that the writers were aware of.
                            " iCOTH " window/bumper stickers. Wood Routed Stall and Farm Signs


                            • #15
                              The writer of "The Long Shot" was the father of the lady that showed the blind horse.


                              • #16
                                'broken wind' is a term for COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), or emphysema, sometimes called heaves. this is in the lungs; roaring due to obstruction up in the windpipe, broken wind does not refer to roaring; occasionally the term is used in a very general way to cover ANY breathing problem, but it means COPD or heaves.

                                horses with partial or more complete paralysis of the larynx are referred to as 'roarers' or 'whistlers' depending on the sound they make. roarers have been raced, even fox hunted for many many years. commonly the horses used to be 'tubed' if they had serious breathing obstruction in the throat - a hole was made in the throat and the horse breathed thru the hole instead of the nostrils.

                                granat had no useful vision in one eye.

                                with a scowling georg wahl leading him around the show grounds to graze for hours and hours before the class, and him spooking big time in the warmup and ring, it was pretty obvious something was up, though most will say alot of his shenanigans were purely high spirits.


                                • #17
                                  Horses blind in one eye can compete in any dressage classes. Horses blind in both eyes are limited to classes where they are the only horse in the arena.

                                  Fessor and I are making our first level *recognized* debut this summer. He's blind in both eyes. We've had reasonable success at training and first level in our local schooling shows, so it's time to see if we can make a start toward earning our first Bronze Medal scores.

                                  Proud owner of a blind horse.


                                  • #18
                                    I have known one GP (Olympic) dressage horse have one good eye, and one GP showjumper have one good eye and one hunter stallion with one good eye and quite a few ponies with one good eye, too. They did fine.
                                    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                                    • #19

                                      Horses blind in one eye can still compete but they are obviously disadvantaged in perceiving depth.


                                      • #20
                                        We've got an amazing Friesian in our barn who's competed successfully through 3rd level (so far) with one blind eye.

                                        He's proven to be both bold and careful, and an amazing horse for both pro and amateur.

                                        I think as long as the horse can *trust* his rider implicitly, there's no reason they can't go all the way.