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[RC] blind horse--Mojo - Dawn Simas

<<I remember reading (don?t remember where, was it in Julie Suhr?s book?) about a rider doing endurance rides on a blind horse. I recall that the owner/rider would hit her horse on the neck to tell it to step up. Does anyone else remember reading this?>>

I read the archive a few times a week and I think I posted about Mojo, my blind Friesian, didn't I?  It's not there in the archive. Then I noticed that Jan 8's messages are all missing...  Anyway, I know that Nicole Wiere's mom Pat Chappell rode a blind stallion in endurance.  First one eye, but later he went blind in the other, and she did American River Ride on him.  Todd Nelson told me this and how amazed he was with that horse.  I believe he was the QH that sired Thunders Lightning Bar, her mare that holds the record of the most Tevis finishes (13). 

I spoke with her on the phone for advice when I first rescued Mojo.  She told me to teach him voice commands.  And I also taught him to know the elevation of his next steps so that he wouldn't trip over his toes.  I use "Step Up" and then would raise the reins on his neck.  A little, means a slight grade increase, but if I raise them a lot, that means a steep hill.  If I "Whoa" and stop him first and *then* say Step Up, that means straight up rather than gradual grade increase.  Like over a curb or into a step up trailer.  Again, the cue on the neck tells him how far.  Same with Step Down. 

BTW:  I have ridden him through the boulders on the Pioneer Trail between Granite Bay and Rattlesnake Bar and he's completely blind, not even shadows.  :)

Dawn

"A lot of people spend time talking to the animals but not that many people listen. That's the real problem."
- Winnie the Pooh