Kit in the Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, CO
Kit at Fox Run Regional park in El Paso County, Colorado
My precious thoroughbred, Kit, is now 24 years old. I found him in a pasture in northern Colorado as a barely trained six year old. I began training him in dressage and on trails. I competed with him through 2nd level in dressage and he was the RMDS champion twice before I retired him from competition and just used him as my main trail horse. He is the cover boy of all three of my "Riding Colorado" trail guide books. I love this horse with all my heart.
On Halloween, 2014, I was on a trail ride with my friends and Kit ran into the horse in front of me. "Weird," I thought. Then, on another ride last fall, he ran into a tree. "Weird," I thought. Then on the trail ride at Fox Run pictured above, I was standing beside him and he ran right over me! I knew something was very wrong. I started swinging my hand toward his left eye and he didn't flinch or even blink. I called my vet, Dr. Marc McCall and told him I thought Kit had lost his vision in his left eye. Dr. McCall said it was probably just a cataract and he could remove it, making his as good as new.
When Dr. McCall checked him, he discovered that it wasn't a cataract, that it was optic nerve damage and that there was nothing we could do. Kit would be blind in that eye for the rest of his life. I was heartbroken for him.
So, I started re-training Kit to get used to half a world. At first, he appeared to be super sensitive to sound and they would spook him, but now he seems to be adjusting and coping much better. I ride him knowing I have to be his left eye. I have been riding him with a slight flexion to the left in order to center his right eye more. When I approach him from the left (the "near side" where we equestrians do most of our work) I make sure I talk to him so as not to startle him.
Kit, like all of us, needs to be allowed to accomplish all that he can. None of us is perfect so we just do our best with what we have.
I found this youtube video of a completely blind dressage horse being competed at 2nd level dressage. The horse is in Oregon, my old home state.
Click here to watch it:
Horses are healers for people but people can also be healers for horses!