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Hunting a horse that is blind in one eye?

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  • Hunting a horse that is blind in one eye?

    Has anyone ever done this that would mind sharing their experience? I was having a discussion with friends about this the other day. One wouldn't hesitate to try it, but I would wonder about the safety of it, given that the horse would have impaired depth perception.
    One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. - Virginia Woolf

  • #2
    I used to trail ride a one eyed horse occasionally, and that was fine, but I'd be extremely hesitant to jump one that didn't have proper depth perception.


    • #3
      I have known several one eyed horses that continued to hunt after losing an eye/losing vision in an eye. The key factor seemed to be that they were smart, safe,experienced hunting horses before they lost vision in one eye.

      I also owned an absolutely fabulous trail horse that went blind in one eye. The only difference in him was that he carried his head to one side, putting the good eye forward, so to speak. Truly the only change I noticed in him was that he could be startled by something coming up behind him on his blind side, other than that, he was the same rock solid packer that he had always been. I would not have hesitated to jump him if he had not already been past that part of his career.
      The plural of anecdote is not data.


      • #4
        Quite Easy is a Grand Prix jumper who lost an eye at some point. Didn't stop him from a winning career.

        Horses eyes, as prey species, are somewhat to the side of their heads, so I don't believe their depth perception works the same way as ours.
        Tranquility Farm - Proud breeder of Born in the USA Sport Horses, and Cob-sized Warmbloods
        Now apparently completely invisible!


        • #5
          I hunted a a few months on a horse before we realized he was blind in one eye. We noticed a little spookieness in the barn and that's what led to the discovery of his blind side. That said, he was a trooper. As soon as we knew, we were a bit protective of his left side - we always made sure the left turn was clear before we asked him to turn that way - but he jumped and went both in the pack and as a staff horse. I really think it depends on the animal and how well they've adapted to it, however most of the one-eyed guys I've known deal with it pretty well, provided the other eye is good.

          And for what it's worth, although barred from showing in the hunters and jumpers, eventing does allow a horse with one eye to compete.
          The rebel in the grey shirt


          • #6
            Had a conversation with a vet a while back about this as we were deciding what to do with a horrse with prorgressing uveitis. He said that thier depth perception does not work the same way as ours does and jumping would be just fine.


            • #7
              Have known more than one horse that has vision in only one eye that continued to jump just fine.
              It truly depends on the horse. If this horse is comfortable and happy still going out and doing stuff with just one eye then go out and have fun.


              • #8
                Originally posted by McGurk View Post
                I have known several one eyed horses that continued to hunt after losing an eye/losing vision in an eye. The key factor seemed to be that they were smart, safe,experienced hunting horses before they lost vision in one eye.

                I second this - my best friend's fox hunter is blind in one eye. Now, the mare had been hunting well before she lost sight in that eye. But even with only one working eye, she hunts like a champ in first field.


                • #9
                  I know a girl that jumps and even barrel races her one-eyed horse. I would say the only thing that you would really need to watch is YOUR depth perception, since the horse is 100% relying on you to be his/her bad eye, I could understand how a slip up could make them lose confidence.


                  • #10
                    [QUOTE=McGurk;6649853]I have known several one eyed horses that continued to hunt after losing an eye/losing vision in an eye. The key factor seemed to be that they were smart, safe,experienced hunting horses before they lost vision in one eye. [\QUOTE]

                    I took a one-eyed horse on his first hunt ever; he'd barely even been trail-ridden before. He was super, but has a stellar mind to begin with and had lost the eye early in life. In the years since, his owner has whipped in and even led the field on him.

                    This was the 2nd one-eyed horse I hunted. The other one wore an eye patch due to uveitis.

                    There is a 3rd one-eyed horse in our hunt.

                    You just need to be aware of where other horses are, how the blind horse will react to someone coming up on that side, where hazards (branches, etC) are, and ride accordingly.

                    I'd never hesitate to hunt or jump a one-eyed horse. Unless it had no sense of self-preservation, but that applies to two-eyed horses, also.
                    ~ Horse Box Lovers Clique ~


                    • #11
                      Depends 100% on the horse. I would, without question hunt my friend's one eyed mare. She's never spooky and loves to jump. She loves to hunt.

                      I played polo on a one eyed horse. He was great. One of our babysitters actually. Wound up sold to a kid as a trail/4H horse at the end of his polo career. He would have been a good hunter too.


                      • #12
                        I hunted one for years, whipping in, first flight, even hilltopping with my young son. He lost the eye after I got him. He was just as goofy with one eye as with two, but never a problem (except the time when whipping in and passing the field on a road, when someone in the middle first flight let their horse swing its butt into my horse's blind side, knocking us sideways into a ditch, but luckily he landed on his feet). He even raced over timber one season, without particularly distinguishing himself.


                        • #13
                          I gave a one eyed horse several years ago. to a well known NVA hunt.

                          Anyone who saw that horse jump would never worry about a one eyed horse.

                          He would jump wire, corner brace posts, whatever.

                          He was hateful horse in many ways, but that was his disposition, not his eye.

                          I have a funny story to tell about a one eyed mare.

                          I was invited to hunt with a neighboring hunt several years ago.

                          I was riding a really nice horse, but at that time, he was very green in the hunt field. He knew how to jump but the commotion of the hunt was a litle bit much for him.

                          Anyway, the master asked me to ride with him.

                          He will recognize himself, if he reads this, but that is OK because the joke was on me.

                          Anyway the master was long retired from business, grey...and his mare was just a very ordinary looking TB and blind in one eye.

                          I looked at them and thought, yeah my horse is not really up to this but....hell that old guy on a blind horse...yeah. I'll go for it.

                          Well, a few minutes into the hunt the hounds hit a coyote and that "old guy" and his blind horse took off through a trail so crooked and twisting that it was only fit to trot on, certainly not a hell for leather gallop.

                          That mare went through woods like she was running the Derby and the big horse I was on could barely stay on his feet on some of those sharp corners.

                          A lesson well learned.

                          I want to hunt with them again someday, but the horse I have now is no match for that pair.

                          Never turn a horse down because of one blind eye.

                          The blind horse I donated to the NVA club, was blind in his left eye.

                          His stall was on the left side of the aisle. He would walk down the aisle and turn into his stall with a precision that would convince anyone that he had a good eye on his left side.

                          My vet said that he could tell day from night with it and that was about it.


                          • #14
                            There are two one-eyed horse that I hunt with regularly. They have no issues other than requiring common courtesy when being approached from the blind side.


                            • #15
                              I have never hunted a horse that is blind in one eye, but I do have a jumper that had one eye eunucleated. He is still competing, and has moved up a couple of levels in the jumpers since having the eye removed. He hacks over uneven/new terrain. Depth perception has not been an issue. Losing the eye has not effected his ability to do anything.

                              He knows where everything is on the side where he is missing the eye. If you are beside him, he knows it. He knows where other horses are and he has space perception on his blind side. He doesn't bump into things... even in new environments such as a new stall at a horse show. Most people don't even realize he is missing an eye.

                              I do, however, think he is quite an exceptional horse If anyone is interested in a picture, I could post one?

                              I wouldn't hesitate to hunt a horse that was blind in one eye if it was a good horse for the purpose intended. I would start out slowly however. The one thing, especially when jumping is a straight enough approach that the horse can see the jump with the seeing eye.


                              • #16
                                My 17hh+ OTTB gelding is blind in his right eye. I have listened to tons of people tell me that he will always be spooky about people coming up on him on that side, that he wont jump, etc. Well, he hunts first field with no issues and he is one of the most well behaved horses in the field


                                • #17
                                  Imho, it totally depends upon the background of the horse, how/when he went blind, etc. And always presenting him to things in such a way it can see it well.
                                  I.D.E.A. yoda