Equine Rescue

Blind Horse Unit Makes History at Wisconsin Parade

By Amanda Tyler of WEAU.com

“We wanted to show off the fact that just because the horses are blind doesn’t mean they are disposable,”

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SPRING VALLEY, Wis. (WEAU) – It was a sight to see in Spring Valley. Sunday the small town held its annual “Dam Day” parade and celebration but one of the units in the parade was turning heads and making history in the process.

“It’s our goal to be the only fully blind parade unit and its our goal to be sitting in Pasadena California one of these new year’s days with our parade unit,” Refuge Farms executive director Sandy Gilbert said.

For Gilbert and the other volunteers at Refuge Farms, Sunday was their chance to show people that blind horses still have a purpose.

“We wanted to show off the fact that just because the horses are blind doesn’t mean they are disposable,” volunteer Dan McCargar said.

The riders and horses had a little help in their first parade appearance on Sunday. Spotters helped make sure the horses stayed calm and a perimeter unit allowed people to see the horses up close without startling them.

“It’s a challenge because we have to have eyes all around us,” Gilbert explained, “we have to anticipate what the public is going to do.”

Through research Gilbert and the rest of the Refuge Farm board of directors believe their horse unit might be the first to make an appearance in a parade.

“It’s exciting, we are making history,” Gilbert said.

Riders say while there were several things they couldn’t anticipate before the parade, one of the biggest might have been the connection they would form with the horses.

“When you have something that’s blind and they are able to do something that maybe even the sighted horse wouldn’t allow you to do its very heart warming,” McCargar said.

“I firmly believe that somewhere along the line there are going to be horses’ lives saved because we are out there riding blind horses and that’s what we are trying to do,” Gilbert said.

12 replies »

  1. Not only are the Horses beautiful , but also are the people who take the time to prove what all horse owners and advocates already have experienced to the Public , Horses even blind horse are wonderful and still have a place , just as blind people do !!!!!!!! just as people when the horses lose their sight , the other senses are sharpened !!!! Throughout History the Horses have proven their worth Blind or not blind they are a treasured Gift and a part of us we will never give up !!! Please everyone call your State Reps get the Safe Act passed in your State !!!

    Posted on the site, please everyone post a comment there, its a chance to reach many people !!!!!


  2. I’ve been involved with the recuperation of a beautiful paint gelding who lost his sight when someone tried to kill him by hitting him between the eyes with an ax. He has learned to accept his life as it is and is a gentle soul with a big heart and lot’s of love. Other senses take over…he can smell when he’s getting near another horse in the pasture and will avoid collision. He can hear a peppermint wrapper from 300 yards and make a Bee-line right towards it…LOL. He’s a marvelous example of courage. I was fortunate enough to be able to give him his name “Takoda” which in the Sioux language means ‘a friend to everyone’…and he is!


  3. It has always hurt to hear that horses who are blind or sight impaired are killed by BLM when brought in on roundup. Doesn’t this bother you too? Doesn’t it seem rather that the miracle of this horse and the companions who guided it in, might be better “managed” by acknowleding the accomplishment of their communication? Doesn’t it seem that having the honor of caring for horses who are in this stage of life would be fulfilling and inspiring?

    We really need to insist that wrangler/livestock handlers cease and desist and be replaced by horsemen anf women who are better able to truly provide protection under The Act.

    And who amongst us want to see all free roaming horses everywhere placed under the protection of the American people?


    • Exactly !!! Its why we are all here !!!!!!! Protection from all harm , and preservation !!!!! The Horse is natures Perfect Balance !!!!!! They truly belong and are needed !!!!


  4. To have gentle horse care takers is always a blessing. The reality is that some of the cowboys are very rough with the horses. I have seen it with my own eyes. Their views on how to take care and treatment of horses are very different from the kind souls that really care about horses. It is hard to change these type of harsh cowboys.


  5. Horses, as well as other animals and humans, learn to adapt to their disabilities in life. What is most remarkable about this and other stories like this are the connection and trust that is necessary between the horse and human. It is truly a special bond that has been created! I am a Wisconsinite and will have to look up this group. I appreciate their time and efforts in helping horses and teaching people about how incredible they are! Thank you!!


  6. This is not related to the above story, but I just saw a story on Now MSN.com regarding a Connecticut court ruling that the horse is a naturally vicious species of an animal. This was done because a horse bit a young boy in that state. If you can get to the story on this you should read it.


  7. My friend, Guy Adams runs a Therapy Ranch. Most of the horses used in this equine therapy are rescued from dire circumstances, and one even taken off the slaughter truck. Guy is currently using a gorgeous blind Appaloosa in his program. The Appy is an inspiration for many, including the wounded veterans that partake of Guy’s program at Heart of the Horse Therapy Ranch.


  8. my stepson works with a 21 year old horse that has been blind from birth. He drives the horse in crowds and parades in huge crowds, and has even driven him in the Fiesta Bowl Parade 3 times!


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