Equine Anomalies: Deaf horses, Mule babies and Twins

I am reposting this because I am gearing up to write about two new sets of live twins!  And, I also wanted all of you to read about deaf horses again because it seems like the community has grown.


This cute baby was presented on one of the rescue sites I watch.  I tried to adopt him but didn’t get him.  My vet was very fascinated and he thought he could get much interest from Loomis Basin and Davis Equine Science (famous equine hospitals around here).  I really wanted to learn from him but it wasn’t to be.  But, it got me thinking… You hear about blind horses , but not about deaf horses.

There is a society for this.  It is called THE DEAF HORSE ASSOCIATION.  The website is being revised and I have not heard back from the moderator.  But, again, that won’t stop me.  I then went to the DHA FACEBOOK PAGE and saw a few entries.  * Wow, this page has really grown since the first time I wrote this post…

You might want to check it out yourself!  Such and inspirational page for all deaf horse owners.

Click image to go to the Deaf Horse FB page!

Click image to go to the Deaf Horse FB page!

It seems there are two kinds of deaf:  born that way and sickness induced.  The same with humans.  The colt above was born this way, clearly.  Upon reading, most of these unfortunate animals are euth’d.  But, some brave souls are teaching the horses in a manner similar to deaf humans.  They use sign language, which works, and they use vibration.  Curiously, some of the stories on the Internet describe how these horses will stand with their head against their human’s chest so that they can feel the human heart beating — or their breathing — but you get the idea.  The horse wants that connection.

Deaf horse riders speak about what great trail horses they make because there is hardly any spooking.  They just aren’t distracted easily.  Yay!  And, those that have deaf horses just adjust.  They stomp on the ground or bang the gate for attention grabbers.  Also, the hoof beats of resident hearing horses tend to alert those that cannot hear.  Truly, it seems to be not that much of a burden if one takes the time.

(The white horse is an albino who was born deaf.  His owner says he is a great trail horse and she adores him.  I am waiting to interview her.)

But, alas, I missed out on this boy first pictured above.  I am trying to get a follow up on him.  I wonder what kind of a halter they are using…?


*This still fascinates me… I wish I could have heard back from the owners.  I would really, really like to understand how this happened. 

Wow!  Could you imagine these folks waking up and seeing a baby next to one of their pack mules?!! 

Mules are sterile.  Or so it seemed.  Mules, being a cross between a horse and a donkey, have an odd number of chromosomes which renders them infertile.  Horses have 64, a donkey has 62 and a mule has 63.  But, I guess this mule had an anomaly.  The owners are doing testing to figure out who is the Daddy and how this happened.  I have yet to hear back from them but I’ll keep on this one as well.


I am gathering information on two sets of equine twins…. I’m excited to bring their story!

I just love seeing equine twin photos.  Sadly, most twin stories don’t turn out so well.  Usually, if the vet sees twins on an ultrasound, he will “pinch” (remove) the smaller embryo.  But, lots of times, there is no ultrasound.  And, most times, the twins are either stillborn, they die soon after birth or only one survives.  This is because there is not enough room or nutrients for two in the equine uterus.

However, sometimes it works!  Again, I have contacted several of these folks but no response.  I think they are sick of being prompted but I will continue.  In the meantime, I wanted to offer some very cute pics.

Enjoy Friday!

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HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!



HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

14 comments have been posted...

  1. dana

    please dont use the term ‘albino’ for horses. its one of my pet peeves :)

  2. stephanie

    oh and twins that live are more common in donkeys and asses than horses.

  3. stephanie

    on the mule thing the molly’s can some times be fertile they do still cycle like regular equines. but it is only the females that can be occasionally fertile. The weird is they had to be in with either a jack or a horse stud 24/7 year round as a pasture buddy to that stud and may have been with him for years before conceiving. so the owners pretty much have a good idea who daddy is if they really think about it. who was she pastured with 12-13 months ago? The other part of the birth is the baby is not sterile and will look allot more like dad than mom. the baby as an even number of chromosomes :)

  4. SusanK

    Here is info about a baby born in 2007 to a molly mule and a donkey jack: http://www.denverpost.com/headlines/ci_6464853 They were thinking at the time that the baby would be 7/8 donkey. The cool thing is, that donkey is is father of my last mule. His naming was put up in a contest by the Mules and More magazine, and the winner was Winterhawk Kule Mule Amos. :) I have not heard anything about how he is doing now.

    More info:

  5. deb

    I owned a deaf horse for 11 years. He amassed hundreds of points in apha events and was a great boy. I would be happy to answer questions if you are interested.

  6. Debbie

    I just pick up a deaf horse, and wanting to find out how different people are training deaf horse.

  7. ErinE

    Love the blog..but there are no albino horses. There are double dilutes (cremello, perlinos) and max whites. But not albinos. I can’t get a good look at the picture to see if I can tell what that horse is. Pretty none the less.

    There are quite a few overos that are deaf..colonels smoking gun is deaf. It hasn’t hurt him at all, considering he earned a ton of money when he was competing. Many times they hold their ears a little bit differently.

    Sawyer creek, an appaloosa farm in NY (they have a website) had twins last year.

  8. peg

    The bay with no ears is very interesting to me,as my son was born with no left ear.. The bones are in there,frozen.. There is no ear canal.. He is a musician and an construction worker.
    As to a Halter,I think a collar would work best..
    Twins are cute as cute can be..
    I read a study about mule foals – the foal can be full donkey or full horse,but not a mule (they said)

  9. Alicia Thompson

    Hello my name is Alicia. I find your site very interesting. I have never seen or heard of a horse born with no ears. You posted a picture of a young bay born with no ears. That one was the most interesting. I also wonder what they use for a halter. I also found it interesting that deaf horses will put there head against the chest. Keep posting things. I will show your site ro others.

  10. shelly from pa

    Very interesting. I like the twins shots….my friends standardbred had twins both were still born and the breeding fee was outrageous and the vet never saw the twin. i wonder why horses cant have twins, i mean, i know you said nutrients and all but if you fed her good would that help?

  11. how to have a baby boy

    Wonderful Website! I wondered if I would be able quote a portion of your Equine Anomalies: Deaf horses, Mule babies and Twins | Horse and Man and use a couple of things for a school assignment. Please email me whether or not that would be fine. Thanks

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