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Can your horses eyesight affect training?

Don Jessop

Yes, your horses eyesight can affect training.  So we have put together nine signs your horse might not be seeing well.

​1. Getting Spooked Easily
If your horse gets scared more often than usual and reacts in a big way to small things, it could be because he's not seeing well. Imagine if you were wearing glasses that made everything blurry – you'd probably jump at every little sound too!

2. Taking Longer to React
Have you noticed your horse taking longer to respond to your cues? Like if you ask him to move or stop, and there's a delay in his reaction? That could be a sign his eyesight isn't as sharp as it should be.

3. Head Going Side-to-Side or Tilting
If your horse starts moving his head from side to side a lot, almost like he's trying to get a better look at things, it could mean he's having trouble seeing clearly. It's like when you're trying to focus on something far away and you squint – except your horse can't squint!

​4. Trouble with Footing
Horses are usually pretty good at knowing where to step, but if your horse seems unsure of his footing, especially on uneven ground, he might start doing a little dance, called "jigging." It's like he's saying, "Whoa, I can't see where I'm going, so I better be extra careful!"

5. Squinting or Closing Eyes
Just like humans, horses might squint or partially close their eyes if they're having trouble seeing clearly. If you notice your horse squinting more often than usual, it could be a sign of discomfort or vision problems.

6. Rubbing Eyes
If your horse is constantly rubbing his eyes, it could indicate irritation, discomfort, or even an injury. Horses usually have a natural instinct to protect their eyes, so any behavior that suggests they're bothering their eyes warrants attention.

7. Clumsiness or Tripping
A horse with vision problems might become more clumsy or prone to tripping, especially in familiar environments where they normally navigate with ease. This could be due to difficulty judging distances or accurately perceiving obstacles in their path.

8. Change in Behavior
Any significant changes in your horse's behavior or temperament could be a clue that something's not right with their vision. For example, if a typically confident horse becomes more hesitant or fearful, it could be because they're struggling to see clearly and feel unsure of their surroundings.

9. Change in Performance
​If your horse's performance in activities such as riding or jumping suddenly declines, it could be related to vision issues. Difficulty judging distances or accurately gauging obstacles can impact their ability to perform tasks they once did with ease.

Sometimes your horse/s need to be checked out to make sure that eyesight is not holding them back.  Hope this helps. Don

Don Jessop - Blog Welcome

Hi! I'm Don Jessop

With Mastery Horsemanship

I write to inspire, educate and encourage you on your horse and personal journey.

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