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Angelus Equus

Creating harmony between horse and rider

Smokey - Blind Horse
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Goodbye Little Town
 Little Town x Naughty Kildeen (by Slamruler)
  March 5, 1988 - October 21, 2011

With tremendous sorrow, we have lost the most extraordinary baby, Smokey 

"The best and most beautiful things cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart."  - Helen Keller

Smokey and his girlfriend, Davina.  September 2010

It was a complete shock when Smokey became totally blind at 8 years old.  We had always known that his left eye had a cataract and he was slowly going blind in that eye.  What we did not realize was that the same thing was happening, only much more rapidly, in the right eye.

Without warning, my beloved gelding was to spend the rest of his life without sight.  He adapted exceptionally well and I made it my goal to keep him as happy and independent as possible.  There are many people who believe that a blind horse cannot have a comfortable, happy life.  There are even more who believe that a blind horse can no longer be a riding partner and are really only to live out their life as a pasture pet.

Thankfully, these ideas never crossed my mind and Smokey continued on as one of my best and favorite riding horses.  He is the most inspirational horse I will likely ever meet.  Through all the unfortunate twists of fate that life has handed him, he has always pulled through with remarkable resilience.

One such incident was in October of 2003.  We were on a casual trail ride when Smokey stepped on a long stick with his front hoof.  The back side of the stick popped up and impaled Smokey between the hind legs, penetrating 14" inside of him with the end of the stick nearly exiting the top of his right buttock.  This stick had a 1 1/2" diameter!  With his trust in me and mine in him, as well as the help of my family, we were able to keep him at home with us and take care of the wound ourselves.  Today, the only reminder we have is a lightning shaped scar running down his right buttock.

In June of 2004, Smokey was diagnosed with Cushings Disease (pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction) and insulin resistance.  While being treated for Cushings, Smokey became very depressed; he stopped eating, roaming and lost a tremendous amount of weight.  If the cure was going to be worse than the disease (at least it appeared that way in our circumstance), it was decided to take Smokey off the medication and simply manage his diet and exercise.  Since then, he has gained all of his weight back as well as his very spunky attitude!

On a nice morning in October of 2007, Smokey came for his breakfast, greeting me with a very large laceration on his face (approx. 4" x 4").  He tried unsuccessfully to convince me that all was well and that I should really just feed him.  I had to drive him to our closest vet clinic to have him stitched, but could not put a halter on over the wound, so he loaded into the trailer and traveled without one.  At the clinic, I unloaded him with the halter around his neck and led him through the clinic.  He was then weighed, examined and sedated without anything on his head.  Everything went exceptionally well and he was soon allowed to go home and finally eat his breakfast.   We still do not know what he cut his face on as the pasture is very safe and we have gone over it thoroughly.  ...they will find a way to injure themselves, even in a padded stall!

Smokey has given me so much to think and smile about every day.  We certainly had great fun before his blindness, but his loss of sight has meant virtually nothing to limit the things we have accomplished.  He has competed in dressage as well as open shows (frequently winning his classes), worked sorting cattle on a working ranch, team penning, trail riding, ponied young horses and most recently...competed at the Northwest Mountain Trail Challenge in Eugene, OR.

Those who meet Smokey are always touched and amazed by his absolutely beautiful soul.

View Smokey's Dressage Videos!
View Smokey's Trail Challenge Videos!

March 1, 2009   Bears Above the Ground
First Place:  Second Level Test 1, 59%
Second Place:  Second Level Test 2, 63%
February 20, 2010  DevonWood's Blue Ribbon Dressage
Non-Competing:  Second Level Test 1, 57%
Non-Competing:  Second Level Test 2, 60%

Angelus Equus
Angie Egberg