There is something immobilizing when our visibility is taken away. We fear what we cannot see. What would it be like to be surrounded by darkness every day? This is the reality for a horse at our farm … Blue is blind.
Blue navigates his dark world well … in fact, so well his blindness went undetected for weeks, possibly months! His recent diagnosis came as a surprise because his eyes show no visible sign of his blindness … but our veterinarian noticed some mannerisms that needed follow up and a blind diagnosis resulted.
Blue is now retired from show jumping … and as a 31-year-old Thoroughbred, he is remarkably exuberant. He has become part of the fabric that makes up our stable and has brought a new awareness to the needs of a blind horse. Verbal communication with Blue is reassuring to him, letting him know that we are approaching whether in his stall or out in the paddock. Everyone feels compelled to keep an eye on Blue whether it is carefully leading him from pasture to stall or just observing him when on the pasture, always making sure he is with a buddy. We have had other senior horses to care for at our stable but Blue’s determination to survive and adapt, even in blindness, has made him remarkable. This kind old gentleman is a finicky eater, he requires shoes to keep him comfortable and safe, his hay is mostly replaced now with alfalfa cubes and his requirement of concentrated feed far exceeds all our younger working horses, but he continues to enjoy his daily routines as we enjoy caring for him.
Blue’s owner, Tami, has owned him for over 25 years! Her dedication to caring for him is exemplary of their human/equine bond. When she grooms and visits him she chats about their show career and how Blue’s “big heart” was a constant in their relationship, carrying them both across complicated jumping courses. Now she is showing all of us her “big heart” as she continues to love and support this lovely old gentleman.
Submitted by Janice Ecclestone, Inukshuk Farm