Tag Archives: deaf horse

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!

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

Update on Deaf Horses and My New Horsey Bling!


I wanted to show you the bling I ordered for my gelding.  It is a tag you put on the bridle.  I talked about it on a previous post regarding Horse Bling (2/14/10).  Anyway, it arrived and is better than the pictures!  Way Better!  I love it!  I am thinking of ordering a few more with different colored stones for each, if possible.  My only issue is that my other horses have really long names.  So, I guess I will come up with creative nick names.  Which, I’m happy to do since I really like it!  One of the most impressive details to me, that I didn’t understand from the previous photos, is that the piece is really substantial.  It is heavy and bigger than I thought it would be.  Total bang for your buck!  I’ve pictured it below with a quarter next to it so that you can compare.  Also, it is silver, not gold.  My professional photography studio here — isn’t.  Here you go!  And, if you want to order your own, click to go to the website.


Well, I kinda feel like I’m cheating because I’m going to cut and paste the words from two owners of deaf horses.  I felt that I should just go ahead and use their emails since I would basically be paraphrasing anyway and I might make a mistake.  So, here you go — two devoted owners of deaf horses tell us a little bit about what it is like to own, train and love a disabled pet.  First though, I wanted to link you to the DEAF HORSE Facebook page where there are several owners as well as a link to the Society web page which is under construction.


Splash was born May 15th, 2009. Her mother decided to give birth to her in a puddle of irrigation water in the bottom of our field. Why? We will never know!! We noticed that the foal was not very responsive, and had probably not nursed as of the time we discovered her. She was ten days premature and had been born in a puddle of cold water gosh knows what time of the night. We got her to her feet and after milking the mare and pouring some of the vital colostrum down Splash’s throat, she commenced to nursing and rarely quit right up to weaning time at six months of age. She is a voracious eater! Still is at almost a year old.

We discovered she was deaf several ways. One was that her ears hung out to the sides and did not “prick up” at loud sounds as did the ears of the other colt we had. Her color is another factor including the fact that she was premature. Splash-White syndrome is the cause of her deafness, and our vet believes hers is due to color and prematurity, rather than genetics, since there are no deaf horses in her background. Color and hearing are the last things to form on foals while still in the uterus. The final deciding factor was when my husband fired up the chainsaw and she wandered over to see what he was doing! All the other horses were leery, of course, and wanted nothing to do with the loud obnoxious machine! Our vet then fired off a few firecrackers just to satisfy his curiosity and it was decided..Splash is totally deaf.

Haltering has been an issue so far. She has learned four “signs” so far: hello, come here, stop, and move over. She is very eager to please, but she doesn’t seem to like new things touching her until she has explored them well. She will, however, follow me across any type of board or bridge without fear. Even across a running stream! I plan to separate her now that she is a yearling and begin the true “leading” process. Right now she follows hand signs only.

To interact with her I often place my throat against her neck and talk so she can feel the vibration of my voice. I tell her I love her and her reaction has become to paw with her front foot each time I do…weird. She loves me to talk to her and it seems to be something she asks for when I spend time with her. Touch is everything with her and she is very affectionate and doesn’t spook as easy as the other horses do either. Only when she is sleeping. Then, I always stomp my feet on the ground to let her know I am near so she doesn’t get startled when she sees me. She picks up the vibration from the ground and usually opens her eye to look at me.
Both of her eyes are sky blue and she will have to be tatooed (eyeliner, vet applied) after she turns a year old to avoid cancer around her eye. Training to begin soon since it’s warming up! Excited!


Adeline is a 10 year old APHA (red roan) overo mare. She is not an albino as some think, as she does have some pigment. She was born with all that white & pink skin & blue eyes, but has SOME black pigment under white coat, and a few red roan specs on her ears. I’m actually quite surprised she wasn’t euthanized immediately thinking she had OLWS. (Overo Lethal White Syndrome).

I met Adeline as a 2+ year old, she came from a breeder who’d picked her up after she was passed around to several homes already in her young life. She was truly a sweet, quiet, honest and intelligent horse, but I think maybe not everyone knew she was deaf and therefore, didn’t know why she didn’t understand them.
At this breeders, she was bred to another paint at a young age and ended up absorbing the foal. I was planning to buy the foal, but the breeder decided she wanted to sell Adeline. I knew I had to have her. She would follow me around with her nose in the small of my back when I was there, I knew she loved me already too.
So, I bought a deaf, untrained mare. She is on one side Impressive bred (beautiful halter horse w/ some issues, and Impressive mares can be quite rank!) and the other side is Jet Deck (QH racing). So she is fast, pretty and deaf. ;) And now, Adeline – who was once spooky and not -so – confident, has turned into the best trail horse, and we practice our lower level dressage for conditioning and really – we just enjoy spending time together. I LOVE her.

So, there you have a few stories to mull about the next time you hear of a deaf horse.  IF you ever hear about a deaf horse… I sure hadn’t until one needed a home around here.  I had no clue about them.  Now, a few more of us do, thanks to these brave owners.

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