Pretty is an amazing mare on my life. She was given to me as a freebie portion of a multi-horse deal because at the time she was half-blind. Since then she has become my favorite mare, by a long shot.
Pretty is now completely, 100% blind in both eyes. Her loss of vision has obviously not impaired her willingness or ability to work, move and play. She is still a capable and magnificent
That said there are major limitations - for instance when I guide trails I often have to spend most of my time looking backwards at my riders. This can often be a problem for Pretty - who is completely fearless and has more gumption than she deserves. Going blind didn't slow her down so she'll run right into a tree with full force if I don't tell her where to go (and she doesn't always think she should listen either!). She also tends to trip up on downed trees more, even with a "lift your legs cue" and she also has a harder time on the river banks and hills.
Due to the nature of my business, I haven't been able to ride Pretty as much as in the past. Her inability to see makes guiding trails on her difficult and even a liability.
As a result, while I still ride her on trails, I am not using her as a guide horse any more. If she trips and falls, which does happen occasionally and she goes down on her knees, it freaks out the novice riders. It doesn't matter that she's blind, or that she is 100% okay after the trip or that she still would rather be out there tripping than stuck in a field - it's terrifying to watch for novices. All they can think is "Will my horse do that? Will it happen to me?" As a result, we are more recreational riders, not a working pair anymore. Unfortunately that just means less time under saddle for Pretty instead of her daily rides.
As a result, she just hasn't gotten as much ride time as in the past so she is unfortunately out of shape. I haven't been able to do more than the occasional walk/trot rides with her in the past couple months. However, her natural athleticism and skill today left me flabbergasted.
To see for yourself, check out part of our 30 minute workout yesterday. Out of shape, out of practice and completely blind, the mare still has it in her! This is what makes her my favorite.