Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sad Day

I had this post all arranged about a wonderful weekend beach trip with a very dear friend of mine, pretty pictures and all...but I just don't feel like doing it today.

For a while now, I've been taking Harley to an indoor arena and riding him with a friend of mine and her horse. It's been going great and I've been enjoying this one-on-one time with my wonderful horse. We've been doing some bonding and building confidence in one another and getting physical exercise, and it's all been so very enjoyable.

I didn't get to go riding last Sunday morning because there was an unusual event take place during the morning feeding. My hubby and I were up pretty early, had a quick cup of coffee, then headed out to the barn to let the horses out into the corral where they could enjoy their breakfast in the sunshine. Nothing unusual...pretty much our morning routine, except on this particular morning, I was the one pushing the "roach coach" around dispensing the hay piles while my hubby released the horses from their stalls one by one. As is customary with our little herd, Shad (the thoroughbred) got out first and he came running and bucking out to the hay where he has a little taste and then, unable to contain his pure, unadulterated joy at his freedom, has to go gallywhomping off again being the silly goose that he is...normal stuff...however, when it was Harley's turn to come running out he came charging with a full head of steam straight at me. gulp...no time to react, except for a quick thought to dash behind the roach coach for cover...sounded like my best chance for protection at the time, except that when Harley got close enough for me to look straight in his eye, I knew he wasn't going to run over the top of me; he was instead going to go straight over the top of the roach coach full of hay...what the heck!? So, I quickly moved in the opposite direction and surely as if it had been his intent, Harley ran right over the top of the cart...as if it hadn't been there...as if he hadn't even seen it. Very strange...

So, I ran into the barn and grabbed his halter and lead to bring him back inside where I could survey the damage. He appeared to be okay but for a few minor scuffs and one small cut near his coronet band on a front foot. Good grief!! I say a quick prayer of thankfulness that he wasn't hurt and turn him back out for his breakfast. As I headed back out to finish depositing piles of hay and collect the roach coach, I realized I had left the gate open into a small paddock-sized grassy area which of course, Shad had spotted. Before I could get through the gate, Ladde and then Harley were all in the grassy area. I followed suit with the intention of flushing them back out into the corral where they belonged before heading back inside for another cup of coffee.

Now, the horses know before I say a thing that these are sweet, stolen bites of fresh, green grass and that they are going to be run out...so, without much prompting from me, one by one they run out. Harley was the last to leave, and he rounded the open gate with ease and proceded to run full-tilt out into the corral. Now, one thing I had failed to mention earlier; was that I had left the now nearly empty roach coach sitting right smack dab in the middle of the corral...well, Harley ran right into it again!! This time he flipped over and got his hind leg briefly entangled in the handle. Oh my word!!! I was in complete and total shock at what I had just witnessed and was so upset that he was hurt, I could barely think straight. What is going on!!?? First thing that crossed my mind, of course, was that he can't see!!

So, to make a long story somewhat shorter...last night my boss came out and did a full eye exam on Harley and he is indeed, losing his vision. Apparently, he has been losing his vision for a while now. How long, we will never know, but looking back over the last year or more...let's just say that a lot of questions in my mind have now been answered. So many occurances now seem so much more clear. I had occasionally wondered why my perfect little trail pony seemed to be so much spookier than he used to be; he used to be so much more sure-footed than he is nowadays...the list could go on and on and on, but you get the picture. I can remember quite a few times where the thought had crossed my mind...is he having trouble seeing? And then, as quickly as that nasty little thought entered my mind, I would dismiss it; certain that I was being paranoid, or it was just my overactive imagination...only now I know it wasn't. I can only say that I am so heartsick at the thought of my beloved Harley going blind. Oh how I wish it wasn't so!! He's only 12 years old, and he has so much life and energy, and he's just so healthy and vibrant!! It's such a hard diagnosis to accept, except somewhere deep inside...I already knew it.
I hate it!! One of the things I hate the most is feeling helpless, and right now I feel utterly and completely helpless. My boss took close-up pictures of Harley's eye and plans on sending them to some ophthalmologists that he knows, but told me not to get my hopes up. I know there are many advances in medicine in regards to the eye, but the prognosis is usually guarded at best. It probably doesn't help that he's an Appaloosa. Seems to be a pitfall of this beautiful breed of horse. I can only say that I feel so very, very sad about this. Not for me, but that my beautiful and cock-sure little horse may very well become blind and won't be able to see all the beauty that there is to see. I would appreciate your prayers for Harley.

I'm not nearly as confident of a rider as I used to be, and I'm trying to get over my feelings of fear and inadequacy, but this opens up a whole new host of challenges that we will need to overcome. I've never been a quitter, and I won't now, or ever, give up on Harley. A blind trail horse can be quite a challange, but if God's plan for Harley is to be blind, then we'll just have to get through it together and the best way we know how. Again, I humbly ask for all your prayers if you don't mind. We can use all the help we can get. I'm not the sort of person who can easily, or any other way for that matter, disgard an animal. They are family. Right or wrong, for better or for worse...we're in this for the longhaul.

Blessings all,
cingspots :(


Mrs Mom said...

Prayers your way Spots, for all of you.

I had a blind Appy gelding, and we did a lot more than trails ;) It can be done, and I am confident that you and Harley have a strong bond, and you'll be able to work out your own "language" with him.

He'll lean on you a bit more, but being there for him has it's own tremendous rewards.

Please give that beautiful man a rub from me, and in spirit, my old Appy, Jack.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Awwww, I'm so sorry. You didn't need this extra challenge. What a disappointment.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Awww, I'm so sorry. I'll keep your handsome boy in my prayers. But I know with the bond you two have, you'll work it out together. There is always hope.


fernvalley01 said...

Oh Lori! Hugs my sweet friend. As i said int he email I sent erlier I had a mare that went blind at a young age as well.One little thing I did forget to say is that when her vision was failing it was worse than when it was gone (if that makes sense) once she was totally blind she seemed more comfortable (maybe less shadows or confusing perceptions) She carried her head a little to the side and seemed to use her other senses.I always walked her the perimiter of any new pen and she appeared to be able to judge her space that way. She moved more cautiously and I don't believe I ever saw her at a full run again but all in all she coped very well. That all said I am so sorry this is happening to your beautiful beloved Harley. I am sending you warm hugs and prayers for peace with whatever prognosis he is faced with . At least he is ina loving home where his challenges will be met with love and compassionate care .
Love ya girl !

Kate said...

That is very hard - keeping you and your boy in my thoughts. But many people have had horses that are blind and they can do many things, and live a good life. Your dedication to him shines through.

Maria said...

Thinking of you all & wishing the best, I know things will work out, changes in life but you'll continue to conquer them - together. Love my Appy and Harley is lucky to be at your farm for this challenging time ahead.

Leah Fry said...

Sorry to hear about your boy, but don't write him off yet. He's just gearing up to show you what he can do.

Prayers are on the way for you and Harley.

Gail said...

You have healing thoughts coming your way.

I have read of blind horses working very well. Some rely on the owners direction and others have adopted a seeing-eye buddy and do very well...if worse come to worse.

There can be a healing if enough people agree it can be done.

Tracey said...

I will definitely keep Harley and you in my prayers.I am so sorry to hear this!! I know one thing though...Harley is very lucky to have you by his side as he goes through this.
Take care!

Pony Girl said...

Oh, I am so sorry to hear this! Being an Appy owner, I've worried about this with my own horse, especially two years ago when he had a weird head-shaking issue.
I can't imagine what you are going through. I have heard stories of many horses that are blind and go on to live productive lives and continue to be ridden. It's a lot of work and an amazing feat, but I think you and your boy Harley can do it, you have that bond. Also, hopefully some of the medical advances will help slow down the process. Keep us posted and know that I am thinking of you and sending you warm thoughts as you go through this!!

C-ingspots said...

Thank you, each and every one of you, for your kind and supportive comments. I treasure each message more than you know. My heart is warmed knowing there are so many prayers going out for my little "spunky", Harley.
Leah, I wouldn't be surprised if your message turns prophetic because "gearing up to show me what he can do" is exactly his personality. :)
Gail, I believe you're right about the healing of prayers.
Thank you all so much!!

greymare said...

Oh Lori that is such sad news. But there is hope. You and harley have a special bond and I'm sure with your help you two will be out enjoying life again. I haven't had a horse go blind, but my old Golden dog went blind and she lived a great life. She knew where everything was in the house and the yard and still could go for walks off leash, just listened to my voice. It's great that you count him out or any of your animals. So many people treat their animals like objects. If it breaks or isn't what you want, they throw them out and get new ones. Could never do it.

Jenn said...

Oh no! How devastating...but you know, blind horses can do very, very well, and continue to be excellent partners. They can do especially well if they live in the same place where they had full sight.

Some horses accept it and do wonderfully, others don't. I hope Harley is in the former category!

You are both in my thoughts and prayers.

gtyyup said...

I'm so very sorry to hear about Harley. We'll definitely keep him and you in our prayers. Amazing things can happen with blind horses, you've got the heart and spirit to support him through his needs...we're here for you too...many blessings~~

Carolynn said...

Well, frankly, I'm relieved. When I read your post title, I thought the worst. The bad news is, Harley's losing his sight, the good news is, you still have the pleasure of his company. Thank God for that.

P.S. I hope he's doing alright after his run-ins (pun intended) with the trailer.

Hugs & Blessings,

allhorsestuff said...

Harley horse!!! When you said he ran into the WB the first time..I wondered if it was going this way?
Oh sweetie...poor guy! He is gonna need you to be an extra helpful horsey mom from now on...and you will be!
Gosh, praying for him now...so is my husband!
Hang in Lorie, there is much living to do with him and much learning for you both. He has a huge Heart and so do you~

jrosey said...

So sorry to hear this. I hope that the transition is smooth for you both and my prayers are with you...

119 said...


Welcome To Wilmoth Farms said...

First let me tell you how great it was to read your blog again after such a long absence I've had. Second, let me say that my boy is blind in one eye and has been for quite awhile. Yes its only one eye so its somewhat easier for him, and I dont know if your boy is going blind in both, but as others here have said, this is just a challenge that WILL be overcome. My boy has compensated, he trusts me to give him more body cues when we ride, and as he gets older and if and when his other eye gives out then he just needs extra protection with his pasture, smaller area with a better protective fencing (for his protection) as not to injure himself...its only a speed bump. No more just opening that stall door, looks like you'll be leading him out and teaching him to stand and walk out of the barn...he'll learn to live with this small handicap to where its not going to be a handicap and you wont and he wont even notice it....it can be done..it WILL be...faith my friend! I missed your blog and it was great to read up on you, hate that this was the first post I had to read today tho :-( I feel your pain very much so, we hate when our horse friends hurt in any way and we want them "perfect", but remember he still is! :-) you will come to find that the two of you will become more in tune with eachother! Hope you'll follow me again and havent forgotten who I am! LOL Rachel Kyfarmlife/wilmothfarms

Grey Horse Matters said...

That's so sad. But I know you two will get through it. Years ago I knew a man at one of the barns we boarded at and his horse was totally blind. He used to take him all over on the roads and trails. That probably doesn't make you feel any better but there is always hope that it won't be too bad to deal with. Good luck.

manker said...

Somewhere where the L-rd closes a door, He opens a window... You will get to communicate with him totally differently as a result.. and methinks you guys will be way more in synch... if you let yourself

wow.. i truly know (trust me!) about gaining confidence in riding... a work in progress with the 'little man"
shalom sweetie

Rising Rainbow said...

Wow, what a shock. Prayers coming you way from here.

However this comes out I know Harley's a lucky horse to have you in his corner through this challenge.

Hang in there!

KD said...

Warm thoughts and prayers coming your way....I've been watching my 23 year old Appy mare for signs.

Lea and her Mustangs said...

Lori, Its sad but glad its not some terminal thing. Pepper has been going blind for a couple of years. About half gone in one eye and less in the other. He is still very active. We just keep loving and praying. You and Harley are in my prayers.

fernvalley01 said...

Hey there Lori, just checking back.I haven't seen you around the blogs as much lately . Hope all is well.Hugs

LuLo Designs/Blue Eyed Tango said...

Oh my what's this about your boy Harley? I'm so sorry you have to endure this challenge but like everyone has already spoken to you that you can be Harley's eyes. He's so lucky to have you. I know what challenges are all about and you can do it. I'll ask God for a miracle healing. Blessings to you.

valentine said...

Hi there i have a 7 year old few spot mare called valentine i think she is loosing her sight she shows violent head throwing when going from light to dark / into and out of the stable any sudden movement on the right side of her head (but she is fine when she knows you are there)foing under trees she will stop dead and throw her head and run backwards she is a very very quiet mare so safe and trustworthy it is so sad do you think she could be loosing her sight are these the sort of symptons ? harley looks so handsome x nikki

prashant said...

I'll keep your handsome boy in my prayers.
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