Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails


We were told, the caring for a blind horse, would be full of challenges. We’ve had our Lucky Jim, for quite some time now, and we’re still waiting for the challenge to happen. So far, having Jim, caring for Jim, has been very similar to any abused horse, we’ve ever rehabbed. He had fear and trust issues that had to be dealt with and addressed, and allowances made, but that was to be expected. All in all, the only thing, we really had to be extra mindful of was his blindness. Not that we find that a difficult thing to do, as we talk to our horses … a lot. Jim always knows where we are, because if we’re not talking to him, we’re talking to other horses, or each other. That’s not to say, we haven’t had a hiccup or two. Nope, that’s a lie. We’ve had a hiccup, only the one, and it was recent.
Everything has been going along perfectly, tickety-boo, better than expected. Jim has let go of, much of his baggage. He’s easy to catch, which makes sense, as he comes when called, instead of avoiding us. He loves a good scratch, and is crazy about his senior horse feed. That horse loves his feed, and therein was the problem and hiccup creator. When Jim thinks about senior feed, he tends to forget where he is. Forgetting, or losing track of one’s location in a space, is a really big deal when you’re blind.
Well, it was bound to happen, and happen it did. Jim became a little confused, and wasn’t sure of where he was. Sweetpea and I, could clearly see what was about to happen, yet couldn’t do a darn thing about it. Not that we didn’t try.
“Jim … fence!” Sweetpea called out. It almost always worked. If you gave Jim a warning, said fence before he walked into something, he would heed the warning and stop, nine times out of ten. As a matter of fact, it was probably twenty-nine times out of thirty. He’s a smart boy, and he’s figured out some words, like come, step, and fence. Blame it on his passion for good feed, coupled with being in a new space, but our Jim didn’t heed the girlchild’s warnings that time, nor mine. Though we urgently tried to get his attention, he walked right up to the fence, the electric fence, and his poor nose got zapped.
Because we were calling out to him when it happened, because his nose was shocked while we were speaking, Jim associated the shock with us. Surely, we were responsible for it, and he was very displeased with us.
It took about a week for him to forgive us, a very hard week of endless reassurances and soft touches, before he would let go of his wariness once again. At the end of these many days, Jim crowded me when I was entering through the gate with my little pail of senior, just like Aurora does. It was so great to see. Not only had he forgiven or forgotten, the zap he’d felt, he was acting more like a regular horse, than he ever had. Just like Aurora, he hovered in expectation of the feed they both love. He crowded me a bit, but not in a bullish or dangerous manner. He simply wanted to keep close, to follow the feed and feed tub, and I was relieved to see him do such a thing. All in all, I don’t consider that a challenge. As far as Jim goes, familiarity is a good thing.
In many ways, having a blind horse live with a sometimes witchy mare, is a perfect relationship. He’s completely oblivious to any snarky mare faces she makes, and simply carries on. To that effect, Aurora makes nasty faces and the like, far less than she used to.
Nothing that we’ve dealt with, has been a challenge, only considerations and allowances for his handicap. Other than being blind, Jim’s a regular horse. Instead of getting his information from sight, he gets it from hearing and touch. No more grunts and catches of breath when we touch him, no more avoiding us. I’d say he’s forgiven us, for hurting his poor, tender noozle (sweetpea’s word). So challenge, no … hiccup, yes. Our blind, Lucky Jim, is doing great.

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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