Judging; Visual Impairment

I’ve been searching for advice from a judge, or someone knowledgeable about blindness in morgans, specifically when it comes to showing.

My horse has recently lost sight in one eye. We are incredibly lucky he’s taking it well, and was able to keep the eye ball itself, despite it’s impairment, however I am saddened this may stunt his success as a high level show horse. I am discouraged to put more money into training and getting him ready for show season if he will be over looked, or penalized merely for a scar on his eye.

I’ve been told, it shouldn’t be considered in a qualifier, but may be in a championship, and that in in-hand it would be unacceptable- however like I said, if we’re wanting a high level horse, championships and in-hand would be important… I’ve looked over the rule book meticulously and can’t find my answers. It says branding, and eye color should not be penalized, but I don’t believe either include scars to the eye. It says scars from wire cuts or rope burns, are considered blemishes which are penalized sometimes. A blemish is an abnormality that does not affect the serviceability of the horse, whereas a fault is a deficiency in conformation or a condition which will eventually affect serviceability. Is it considered a blemish or a fault? Blemishes would be penalized in in-hand and pleasure classes? Could a judge clarify things for me, or give their opinion on how they would approach this situation. Much appreciated.

2 Responses to Judging; Visual Impairment

  1. RaeOfLight says:

    I’m no judge, but I think it would depend a lot on the class. For example, in a Ladies class the horse needs to appear feminine, sophisticated, beautiful. A scar like this will take away from the overall picture and could affect final placing.

    To have a top level horse I don’t think in-hand is necessary. In fact, many top level western and hunter horses would flat out lose most of our in-hand classes these days.

    I would consider this injury to be a blemish rather than an abnormality. There are plenty of blind horses that are perfectly serviceable. However, it may mean that the A level show circuit may not be where your horse is best suited.

  2. empressive says:

    Exactly as Rae said. Scars will probably be counted as a blemish.

    I would suggest a letter from your vet giving an explanation for your horse concerning the blindness and that the horse was in an accident, etc. This way there is an understanding and it is also a respectful gesture towards the judge.

    I have a friend who pulled her horse out of pasture to show the next year. The trainer worked the horse before the show with no problems, but when she got into the ring after a few rounds the horse began bleeding from the mouth.

    Disqualified. After vet vist’s and cultures it was decided that the horse had non-cancerous lesions under his tongue. They are not going away and he will continue to bleed a little. So she now has a letter from the vet she sends in to all of her shows. Still competes because she and the horse enjoy it.

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