Blind Horse Rescue

Go on a carriage ride in any city or location where auto traffic may be present (leaving aside, for now, THAT issue and all its arguments), and the horse will probably be fitted with “blinders” that limit its view to what is directly ahead. (I could use a pair of blinders in my own day-to-distracted-day life). The play Equus, by Peter Schaffer—one of the finest plays ever written or staged—has as an inciting incident the blinding of six horses with a hoof pick. But other than a few examples, we don’t often hear about blind horses. Intellectually, if we think about it, it makes sense that there would be blind animals, and horses living a long time (up to 40 years or more) would face several conditions and issues of aging, but I can’t really remember hearing of a blind horse.

HorseNet Horse Rescue in Maryland has a herd of blind horses, 13 of them now, and one is even being trained to ride. Rescue facilities all face ever growing numbers of animals as the economy forces more and more people to surrender their animals and pets. Some of the HorseNet blind and visually impaired animals have lost sight from age or disease, some from abuse or neglect, but all of them learn new skills and challenges to keep them motivated and active throughout the rest of their lives at the Mount Airy facility. They quickly learn the environment of the paddocks and fields, and each blind horse is paired with a sighted horse that acts, in some ways, like a seeing eye horse, to ease their comfort and show them the ropes.

HorseNet is 100% volunteer run and entirely donation supported…and could use a little help. There are many other rescued horses here, so go to the website and consider donating, virtually “adopting” a horse, or volunteering if you are in or visiting the Maryland area. They are specifically raising money for Jericho’s Fund, named after a long-time resident of the blind herd who passed away last year. The fund exists to refurbish the blind herd’s field and shelter area and fencing. Horsenet is also hoping to connect with other organizations who advocate for the blind, and welcomes inquiries from organizations and individuals about the blind herd.

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