We wish to thank everyone who responded to our request for assistance for this nice guy. We had to leave town for a day (thanks to Kate for holding the fort over here) and were absolutely overwhelmed by the man kind responses we received, the offers to help and the offers to provide Bruce a home. You all rock! We especially appreciated the comments from blind horse owners who pointed out how easy these horses are to care for and how deserving they are. We couldn’t agree with you more!
While it is difficult for us to reply to everyone, I’d like to answer a few of the questions we received.
First, the therapeutic riding center could no longer use him because their insurance would not allow it, not because he could no longer do his job. As we understand it, they would have been more flexible had he been small enough to walk along with while holding on to the rider, but he is too tall to have made that practical.
Regarding his being ridden, blind horses that are well trained will cue to a sensitive rider the same way the did when they were sighted, though you may need to teach them some extra cues or voice commands. Bruce was already well trained and was being ridden by an instructor, so the communication between them was probably pretty good. But there are quite a few blind guys out there who are still gainfully employed.
We were unable to take Bruce here because we can only handle so many blind guys at a time. We must keep them separate from the other herds, in smaller groups and in obstruction-free paddocks to avoid having them bullied or injured by sighted horses who are just working through herd dynamics. Most of ours have additional problems, such as Cushing’s Disease, advanced age or arthritis that make them more fragile. While they are generally very easy to care for, putting too many of these guys together can lesson the quality of their care and increase the chance of injury- a compromise we have been unwilling to make.
This is true of the other horses that we list in the “Clearinghouse.” These horses need homes and are usually at risk, but when we post them for the owners, we are not in a position to take them in without jeopardizing the care of the horses we already have. But we hope that our getting the word out about them will help them find the right homes. We sincerely appreciate everyone taking a moment to consider them, as they need assistance. In Bruce’s case, his friend has confirmed that he has found a home and we thank every one of you who stepped up to help in any way.