View Full Version : Riding/Competing Partially Blind Ho

29-01-08, 02:17 AM
I've had a lovely young foal just recently kicked in the eye. The eye is scarring up and it looks like he may be blind or at least vision impaired in that eye. I was wondering how this will affect his future as a ridden horse? Would he be allowed to compete in official competitions? He has the most sensational movement and temperament, it would be such a shame if this injury kept him from having a ridden career :(

29-01-08, 03:13 AM
Werdun used to have a wonderful horse called King who was blind in one eye. I had the pleasure of riding him a few times and taking him to young rider scholarship weekends. This horse was trained to PSG and would jump anything you put him at. He was such an honest and amazing horse. He used what vision he had and trusted you 100%.
I remember taking him to this one specific weekend and we had to jump a very narrow fence. Poor King probably could only just see it out of the corner of his good eye but he jumped it like the pro that he was.

Everyone who met him fell in love with him (as im sure Werdun would agree).

I think your foal has every chance to be a fantastic ridden horse. Put him in situations which accomodate him being blind (by that i mean dont do things that will cause him not to trust you etc.)

RIP King....What a legend of a horse :-)

29-01-08, 03:16 AM
What disciplines?

29-01-08, 03:16 AM
Hi Kia, I suppose it depends on what disipline you are competing in.
I have known horses with only one eye. They were only used for trail riding though and it didn't seem to cause any problems at all.

I'm pretty sure it's Medallion who only has one eye.

I really can't comment too much because I haven't ridden a horse that is blind in an eye, but I have been around them and you just have to be a little more aware in case they take fright but nothing too out of the ordinary. One of my friends horses who was missing an eye was a basket case though and we had to be very aware around it.
Sorry I couldn't be of more help, maybe their are others who have competed with such horses and can give you more of an insight.

29-01-08, 03:49 AM
There are probably many more horses out there competing which are blind in one eye than anyone realises - sometimes even the owner might not know. I know a fabulous pony which would jump anything, and was pretty fancy as a dressage horse as well. His owners only found out he was blind in an eye when they went to sell him and he was vetted. I also know of other horses which jump perfectly well with only one eye.

29-01-08, 03:53 AM
I think you and your boy will be fine as long as you don't put him in a situation where he could fail. Take the time to gradually increase his confidence levels. Do a lot of ground work with him too, so that when you do finally ride him, he will be able to trust you.

I have looked after ( and owned)two horses who each had lost one eye. One of them had be injured as a baby, the other ( mine) when he was 24. The mare injured as a young horse was fine on her blind side, as long as you spoke to her. My boy was the same, never looked back. Never an issue with a thing. Even riding them.

When I was younger, I met a lady that had a blind connemara named Pony when she was a young girl. He was given to her because he went blind, and the people were going to put him down. She showed him successfully for years ( even over fences). A book was written about him too. The author was C.W. Anderson and is called The Blind Connemara. True story. I think our horses will do anything for us if the trust is there =-)

Good luck.

29-01-08, 05:31 AM
I know a horse that competes in associate dressage that only has one eye. It always seems to do a nice calm test and is a real credit to its owner. I think the key is taking things slowly and developing confidence and trust.

29-01-08, 06:44 AM
Thank you all for your replies and encouragement. Amazing about the ones that jumped succesfully! I was thinking of doing dressage and some showing with him. He already has adapted very well to his limited vision. Initially he knocked into things a fair bit and got scared easily. Now he is the quietest foal of the bunch and is very good about being caught, tied, and having his eye treated. Just wanted to make sure there are no official rules against competing a horse with sight problems?

29-01-08, 08:22 AM
Correct, the Grand Prix stallion Richmeed Medallion had no sight in one eye. He competed at international level at CDI-Ws and there is definitely no rule against at all. It was marked on his ID document with a x, is all.

He competed with me all over the country and performed in four states and no one would've known if we hadn't told them.

The ONLY thing he ever did was occasionally catch the left side of the saddle on the door jamb of a strange stable if he misjudged the exact distance to his left.

It sure didn't make any difference to his handling (you could lunge him that way and he couldn't see you or the whip at all, made no difference), his riding or his serving.

I wouldn't hesitate to do everything you planned on doing!

29-01-08, 08:50 AM
As Hails said, King coped brilliantly with one eye and loved his jumping. She forgot to mention that I also hunted this horse (including jumping) and he was as good on the hunt field as everywhere else, even through the rough country. At the time, there was another horse hunting who was also totally blind in one eye (also jumping). That horse also had no problems, and the only giveaway was that her eye was slightly enlarged (as with King). I used to compensate a little, ie if we were turning sharply into a fence on his blind side, I'd do a couple of strides of shoulder in to give him a good look at the jump before straightening. On the bright side, if you come across a spooky object out on a trail ride, you only need to "deal" with it once! :D

Horses with impaired vision are not allowed to race, but they are allowed in Equestrian events (not sure about Western, cattle work, etc). I believe there was an A Grade showjumper up in QLD some years back who only had one eye.


29-01-08, 10:31 AM
Used to be a pacer in WA in the late 1980's that raced with one eye. He was aptly called Monacle. Not sure if the racing rules h ave changed since then though.

I figure if they can race with one eye they can probably do most things. Not sure about EFA rules etc though.

29-01-08, 11:01 AM
If it is any help take inspiration from Australia's Cattle King Sir Sidney Kidman - the 5th of 6 sons to struggling English migrants in SA, who left home with a swag to sleep in & an one eyed horse for cattle work, to build up a massive cattle empire covering 3&1/2 percent of the continent - & the pastoral operation still going today. Praise & credit to his one eyed horse is documented somewhere........

In my own lifetime I have seen many either blind in one or one eyed horses competing successfully in western NSW. I recall about 30 years ago now a cutting mare lost an eye (accidently) & continued cutting.

mayville lodge
29-01-08, 11:08 AM
We had a part arabian who came here at 15 to spend his time nannying and giving rides to any visitors that needed a bombproof horse and he'd had a glass eye made for him (still got it in the filing cabinet). He'd had a an amazingly successful career both as a stallion, then hacking and ponyclub and jumping - never seemed to bother him at all.

30-01-08, 03:20 AM
Leacocks in Casula had a A grade Pololcross pony named Comet.

He was a legend.

Kevin Sayer had a one eyed endurance horse, forget his name this morning.

won many rides and now competing in Dubai.

when someone tried to bring in a rule to ban one eyed horses from endurance he was used as an example to prevent such a silly rule being accepted.

30-01-08, 03:44 AM
I remember when I was working at Koombahla Park many years ago there was an eventer there who was blind in one eye and he coped just fine. I later 'inherited' the job of managing a riding school in Echuca and there were some questionable horses among the school horses they had. The worst was a little ARP mare who was incredibly 'dead' to the reins on her off side, to the point that she was virtually unstoppable and unturnable because of it. Well, I set about trying to re-train her and it didn't take long to realise that the poor pet was totally blind on that off side, but nobody had ever noticed before. Well, it took a couple of weeks to re-train her (she'd had a lot of bad experiences on that off side and had become paranoid about turning that way or doing anything associated with that side) but once she'd got her confidence about things she was absolutely wonderful, one of the best riding school horses I've ever worked with, and the blind eye never caused any issues for her again. Like a couple of other people said, we just kept in mind that she couldn't see on that off side and it was never a problem.


30-01-08, 04:06 AM
I used to ride a standardbred in NZ who was blind in one eye, jumped like a stag and was extremely quiet, think if they lose it young they cope really well.

There was a lovely article in Dressage Today a while back about a horse that totally lost sight in both eyes, but with patience his rider was back on and riding him again, big wb if I remember, took a while but they got there.

In regards to showing, you may find some judges that do not like it, remember a friend of mine had a stunning part bred arabian gelding, judge asked him to leave the ring due to his blind eye, heck as if he was going to pass it on to anyone, but judge said it was a blemish she was not prepared to overlook, silly judge.

Good luck I am sure with time and patience your boy will be fine.