One of the things we do is provide help and counsel to people who are dealing with a disabled animal for the first time. More often than I initially expected, we are in touch with people in other countries who have asked for our advice. A few years ago, I had an email from Cecilia S. in Sweden, whose pony was going blind. Cecilia recently sent me an update, and when I asked her permission to post excerpts from her note on the blog, she also sent me some additional photos of her pony, including the one above. She wrote, "you can see what he looks like when -- despite his bad vision -- he finds the muddiest place to roll around." Ah, yes, we know about that ourselves!
In her update, Cecilia said:
"I don't know if you remember me, but I contacted you 3 years ago when my New Forest pony very quickly went blind because of cataracts. Everybody including the vets said to me that the best thing was to let him go to sleep forever. Neither I nor my vet knew of anyone taking care of a blind horse. (I live in Sweden). There was no treatment, an operation would result in too many complications on such an old horse, he is now 24.Perhaps you want to know what happened to us.
First I must say that I really don't know what would have happened if I hadn’t got in contact with you or found your website. To be convinced that a blind horse can enjoy life, that it is really possible to keep a blind horse, made me decide to give him a chance despite everybody else’s advice.
It wasn’t easy, the first 3 months he was very unhappy, including me. He was scared of everything, losing weight because of stress, some quite dangerous incidents happened and several times I nearly gave up.
But I am stubborn and I love my horse very much, and after a few months I could notice some improvement.
And after that it has gone even better and better.
Today I have a happy horse, walking around in pasture like the others; no one can imagine he is blind when they watch him. He is with two other horses that he has been together with for about ten years. I can notice that he is very aware of their presence, he doesn’t want to be alone, but he will not allow them to go too near him, they can’t touch him, if they come too close he turns away. I have to be his horse mate who scratches him, etc.
He is very happy when I ride him; he can even try to run too fast sometimes, he is convinced that I take control and be his eyes. So in other words: it is working, I am so happy I have got a few more years with my horse, hoping for more (even at 24 years old). And all this has been an exciting experience, although of course I wish he could see, but the contact and the special relationship we have today is something extraordinary. Sometimes I get tears in my eyes thinking of my brave little horse.
I am so grateful that I found you and for your support."
Isn't that a story to warm your heart?
Thank YOU, Cecilia!
Here's another photo of a less muddy Swedish pony and his two pasture buddies: