Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails

Blind Jim the Lucky

So far, rehabbing a blind horse, has been no different from working with, and retraining any abused or otherwise mistreated horse, we’ve dealt with in the past. It takes patience, a lack of anger, as there’s no place for anger when dealing with animals, and an understanding of what causes them to react they way they do. The only difference with blind horses, is that one must be mindful that they can’t see. This isn’t such a big deal, as we talk to our horses … a lot. They know where we are, by our voices and our touch.
It’s been just over a month, since we saved Jim from being euthanized. Time had been of the essence, as he was a day away from death, and we didn’t hesitate but for a moment. Having been through six different owners in seven weeks, and suffering the trauma of being put through an auction, he had a good deal of plain old fear and distrust to get over. I’m pleased to state that most of his fear is gone. He comes when called, and rarely flinches and grunts with fear, at an unexpected touch. Jim is quickly becoming, a typical Andrew horse. He’s realizing that people can be pretty darn wonderful. Every interaction is met with a handful of grass, a rub, a scratch. People are great, at least, the ones in his life now are. We were told, dealing with a blind horse is a challenge. Challenge accepted, yet we’ve not seen any evidence of it. Lucky Jim is a joy to work with and train. Every small achievement, is a source of triumphant joy for us. He’s come such a long way, in such a short time. Sure, there will be backsteps, but we expect them. Every day there are improvements. He now casually meanders about, the whole pasture he shares with Spirit and Aurora. He trots out with confidence, and he passes through the gate that once terrified him with ease, at least most of the time.
The funniest, cutest thing happened at the evening feeding. I called the three of them in, and heads shot up at the sound of my voice. They all know what that call means, senior feed! Seconds later, they’re headed towards me at a brisk walk that picks up speed, along with obvious signs of competition. Surely he, or she, who gets to me first, gets more feed. Fast walks turn into trots as they hasten along, and Jim is as much a part of the enthusiastic charge, as any. The mares barrel through the gate and straight to their feed tubs. Jim veers off then stops to stare blindly at where he’s sure the gate is, at least from the expression of his body language that’s what he’s doing. Suddenly, he has doubts. In his excited enthusiasm and expectations, he forgot to count, or take note of where he was. Now he’s not so sure, if the gate is where he thinks it is. He doesn’t dare try, just in case he’s wrong. Nose to the ground, he casts about, like a dog seeking a scent, still, he’s unsure and hesitates.
“Hey Jim,” I call out as I head to meet him, “need some help with the gate? You’re almost there.”
He’s fully focused on me now, ears pricked sharply forward, expectation renewed. His muzzle meets my outstretched hand, I could feel his impatience. It was like he was saying, “What took you so long? I was waiting.”
“I’m here now, aren’t I?” I answer as he eagerly heads for the gate, practically towing me along, in his haste to get to that feed. “Hang on Jim. I’m suppose to be leading you.”
Clearly, he knew where the gate opening was all along. He simply lacked the confidence to give it a go. He doubted himself.
As we pass through the gate, he lets out a little squeak, along with a couple of happy hops. It was easy to see that he wanted at that feed. I led him to his tub then proceeded to tickle his muzzle to get him to follow my fingers. It’s what we do, to show him where feed and water is, and he knows it well. This time he was far too impatient. He would get withing ten inches, then eagerly begin to search around for his feed tub. It took several tries, before he actually followed my fingers all the way to the feed.
Today it was a different story. I called them in, and the exuberant reaction was the same, except this time, Jim slowed his pace, about thirty feet from the gate. This time he studiously carried on, right through and straight to where I waited. His impatience to be shown where his feed was remained the same, but then, tomorrow is another day.
Our blind, Lucky Jim is one smart horse.

  1. Awesome! It won’t be long till he runs to his feed !! You need to add a love button since Facebook is being a bugger !!

  2. He’s one beautiful horse that I bet could have or maybe was the top of the line !!! He’s lucky as well as you are❤️❤️🤠

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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