Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Blind Horse and Pretty

I came across this story today and while there is a religious meaning, I read it a different way thanks to my own experiences. 

Here's the story:
Just up the road from my home is a field, with two horses in it. From a distance, each horse looks like any other horse. But, if you stop your car, or are walking by, you will notice something quite amazing . . .
Looking into the eyes of one horse will disclose that he is blind. His owner has chosen not to have him put down, but has made a good home for him. This alone is amazing.
If you stand nearby and listen, you will hear the sound of a bell. Looking around for the source of the sound, you will see that it comes from the smaller horse in the field. Attached to the horse’s halter is a small bell. It lets the blind friend know where the other horse is, so he can follow. As you stand and watch these two friends, you will see that the horse with the bell is always checking on the blind horse, and that the blind horse will listen for the bell and then slowly walk to where the other horse is, trusting that he will not be led astray.
When the horse with the bell returns to the shelter of the barn each evening, it stops occasionally and looks back, making sure that the blind friend isn’t too far behind to hear the bell.

This reminds me very much of Pretty and Bubba before Bubs died.. Before Pretty (aka. Sock It To You) and Bubba came to me, they lived together in the same stall, same paddock, and went on the same trail rides for 10 years. Pretty had lost vision in her right eye midway through as a result of leptosporosis. While Pretty relied on Bubs for her right-sided vision. Bubs relied on Pretty for confidence and companionship. 

Midway through last summer, Bubba died, tragically. Horses usually mourn, but not the way Pretty has ever since. My fast but reliable horse no longer would lead trail rides. She would get nervous more often, even buck and rear if being pushed.

In other words: Pretty started acting like a half-blind horse.

I wonder if she would act this way if the relationship she had with Bubba hadn't been so special due to her blindness. And I wonder if she would be the way she is if she weren't blind. 

That said - I wouldn't trade her for the world and she will be my official barrel racing horse this summer despite her blindness and despite the fact that I have many other horses that could replace her. 

Pretty and me at the Savannah Potato Festival gaming show showing off her good eye!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Blind Horse and Pretty: Revisited

I suppose that some of you may remember my previous post about Pretty and her blindness: . I wanted to revisit the topic.

Been thinking a bit about the vet's visit yesterday, mostly about Pretty. We've fully determined that she is moonblind in her left eye. I suppose I knew she was already going moonblind in her good eye (remember her right eye is completely blind).

Pretty Booking it in a Field, October 2010
At this point I'm not sure if it really effects anything:
  • she lives with her stud man, who protects her and guides her; 
  • the stud paddock is the safest paddock at the stables; 
  • she's only ridden by me anyhow, and we're best buddies (and wost enemies, but mostly best buddies); 
  • she still guides trails amazingly, probably better actually since she started going more blind because she doesn't fight me and just goes with my guidance
I am so glad that since my last note (ironically written about this time last year) she has found a new mate in Sierra. When Bubba died I truly worried about her. I'm so glad she paired off and can live protected in her paddock as a pair.

Tally and Pretty Cantering in a Field, October 2010
I'm also so glad that because she is infertile, she keeps the stallion company; meaning she keeps him calm, happy, contented and disciplined. This has given her worth to the stable beyond a riding horse and as a result she is guaranteed a space in the barn. For this I am also thankful for because I never want to have to make the tough decision to re-home her in particular. 

That said, I still am concerned for her, and I think of her often.