Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails

Blind Jim’s Story

It turns out, the girlchild has another calling in life, she’s quite the sleuth. With very little to go on, she was able to learn at least a little about our new fella, Jim. His story is typical of many horses. From what we learned, he never had a person who loved him, with with every fibre of their being. He didn’t fulfill a dream, or become the focus of someone’s life.
Jim grew up, had a significant amount of training, was enjoyed for a time then for whatever reason was put out to pasture with a bunch of cows. Maybe he was used now and again, maybe he wasn’t. I’m guessing he wasn’t. People lose interest, they head off to school, move away, get married. Maybe none of these things happened to Jim, maybe all of them did. Anything’s possible.
Three or four years crawled by, and as sometimes happens, Jim became a horse with a handicap. Some horses founder from eating feed too rich for them, a distinct possibility when housed with cattle. Some can randomly pull up lame, or like Jim, through genetics or bad luck, lose their eyesight. Sadly, whoever owned Jim, didn’t feel that they had an obligation to do right by him. He was little more than chattel. Despite owning him for years, a now mostly blind horse, obviously wasn’t worth keeping. Jim was sold or given away, though we feel he was sold.
Here his story becomes full of doubt and maybes. We’re unsure if he went directly to the woman who ended up sending him to auction, or if there was someone between, but Jim ended up with someone who considers horses to be disposable. If they outlive their usefulness, you simply get rid of them. In Jim’s case, she wanted to buy yet another horse, and wanted whatever money she could get from selling Jim, to help pay for the new horse. Never mind that Jim was almost completely blind. Never mind that putting him through a sale yard, a completely unfamiliar place full of strange smells and scary sounds, would frighten and confuse. It was all about the money.
The right thing to do, if you no longer have the means or inclination to keep an older or handicapped horse, is to euthanize if you can’t give it away. The trauma a horse suffers going through a sale is high, and even more so for a blind horse. The chance it would be purchased by anyone other than a meat buyer is extremely low.
Though the woman who owned Jim the blind appaloosa, is herself handicapped, she had neither sympathy or empathy for the poor fellow. It was all about the money with her. A horse rescue offered meat price for him in hopes of saving him the stress of going through the sale. This was flatly refused. Jim would go to auction. He would be ridden with only a halter and lead, and this would be done to achieve the highest bid possible.
Well, Jim went to auction, was ridden with nothing but a halter and lead, and the horse rescue had to outbid the meat buyer to save him. The rider was careless and uncaring. Though she crashed him into an obstacle, she neither comforted or reassured. Instead she kicked him on, and continued to ride him around the ring.
Now, here’s where the story becomes ever more confusing. The horse rescue had been asked by a teaching stable to keep an eye out for a sensible horse that could be used as a lessons horse. Jim was to be that horse. The fact that he was almost completely blind wasn’t disclosed at the auction, and the rescue bought him in good faith. When they get older, many horses haven’t the best of eyesight, and have perfectly good careers. Jim was far worse than that.
When his new owner went to get him from the holding pens, he was freaked out and crashing into the panels. Jim had no idea of where he was, or what was going on. Jim was frightened, and rightly so.
From the sales ring, he began to bounce from place to place over the next seven weeks. Poor Jim had no home, because he didn’t fit in anywhere, and he was a lot to deal with.
That Saturday evening, when the girlchild happened upon a post about an appaloosa gelding, an appaloosa gelding that was blind, yet was put through an auction ring, it tugged at her soft heart. The post wasn’t to sell the horse, but to give voice to the disgust the present owners held, for the woman who put a blind horse through so much needless stress. He was at the stables, but not as a lessons horse, as he couldn’t fit in. It was too busy with too many horses, too many people, and the gelding couldn’t deal with it. These two caring women were going to do what was kindest for the poor fellow, seeing as no one wanted him. They were going to have him euthanized in a couple of days. He wouldn’t go through the trauma of another auction. It was going to end there, with them.
Of course there was horror and outrage. After all, blind horses could still have useful lives. There was no reason to put him down. Then there were those who said he was blind, so euthanizing him was the best choice. He was offered to the opinionated who declared him still useful.
“Oh, but …” was the usual response.
Of course the very same who bemoaned his potential fate, weren’t about to step up and take him. Sweetpea read the post, read the comments to me, and we both knew then, that we were going to save this horse. Hubby vehemently declared no, no more horses, but then, the horses weren’t his business, they were as always, mine, and for years now, the girlchild’s as well. Despite hubby’s adamant displeasure, sweetpea and I shared a look, I nodded, and she offered to take him.
A woman offered to help with transport. Her kindness and willingness to help the horse was a sign of true care and empathy. She was willing to do what she could to help. As it turned out, the lovely ladies from St. Andrews Stables, who had come to own the blind gelding, hauled him to our farm. Sweetpea and I visited their stables to meet the blind Appy early the next morning. We committed to his care, and they helped us to get him home. They even went so far as to offer to pay for euthanasia, if it still came to that. That’s what real horse lovers do. They do best by the animal. These women don’t look upon horses, as something to be discarded. These women aren’t like those who treat horses like machines, and move onto the next without a twinge of guilt.
Because they cared, a huge personality now walks in our fences. One we’ve swiftly become attached to. The girlchild figured that our poor, now lucky Jim, possibly had about five homes, over seven weeks. This is his sixth, and his last. Jim is home forever.
People who think horses are disposable, should stick with equipment, not equines.

  1. Thank you both so much for giving this beautiful horse his forever home, if only there were more people out there prepared to do the same it would be a much happier world.

  2. That one made me cry. You guys are awesome!

  3. Jim is so Lucky to have found love. I saw the love when we had the pleasure of meeting him

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About Trudy Andrew

Trudy Andrew lives on a small farm just east of Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she enjoys her Morgan horses. A dreamer since she was a child, its no surprise to those who know her well that her imagination would find an outlet in writing, as it has in the past through artwork.
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 Oakbank, MB