My daughter and I attended a horse expo last weekend and came upon an unusual sight. As we were walking through the horse barns, I heard my daughter say, “Look, mom, this horse is missing an eye!” I turned my gaze just as the Appaloosa gelding moved his head. To our amazement, we discovered that he was missing not just one eye, but two! In the place where his eyes should have been there were, instead, two smooth hollow sockets covered with skin.
At first, we were taken aback. Not to be disrespectful, but it was a little bit creepy! If the horse had been black, like the ringwraith steeds in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, it would have totally freaked us out!
Once I had adjusted to what I was beholding, I wanted to take a photograph. Yet, I suddenly felt like it would be inappropriate. Instead, I thought I might just stroke his head. But, that too, I decided against. I was concerned that it might spook him, since he wouldn’t be able to see my hand reaching toward him.
Not only that, but I noticed that his stall door was open. There wasn’t even a rope tied across the threshold. What if my hand on his forehead made him go berserk? What if he ran wildly out of his stall and trampled small children and nuns and it was all my fault?
I couldn’t live with myself if that were to happen. I didn’t want to bring any harm to this dear fellow, so I kept my hands to myself and we continued on our way in utter amazement.
There were many things to see and do, but my thoughts kept returning to the horse with no eyes. Before we left the expo, I suggested we walk back to the horse barns to see him. I also wanted to pay another visit to my favorite horse of the show.
He was an incredibly beautiful blue roan Gypsy Cob. And he just happened to be in the stall directly across from the blind horse. In truth, I was hoping to get a photograph of them both, since my daughter assured me it would be okay.
“If you’d take a photo of the Cob, why wouldn’t you take a photo of the Appaloosa?” she reasoned. “It’s no different.”
I saw her point. If I had no problem capturing the Cob’s most amazing feature, which was the gorgeous feathering flowing down over his hooves, why should I treat the Appaloosa’s most amazing feature any different? Even so, I still felt self-conscious about it.
When we arrived at the stalls of these two beautiful creatures, we found a small crowd of people gathered around. A few were admiring the Cob, but the larger group was focused on the blind horse. In the stall with the Appaloosa was a young woman, who I assumed was the owner.
The crowd was listening intently to her talk about the horse with no eyes. While I occupied myself with trying to get a good picture of the Cob, I sent my daughter into the pack to see what she could find out. When she returned, she told me that the Appaloosa’s name was Endo the Blind and that he has his very own Facebook page!
“Did you get a photo of him?” I asked. “Yep!” she replied. “Everyone else was taking his picture, so it was no big deal!”
When we got home a few days later, I looked Endo the Blind up online. I was surprised to learn he continues to lead an active life. I was even more surprised to discover he competes in obstacle course challenges that include jumps!
The fact that he learned to adapt to the loss of his eyes, and that his owner patiently loved him through it, tells me Endo is an amazing horse with an equally amazing owner. There is no better example of the power of love than Endo the Blind. Thank you, Endo, for inspiring me to never give up, and to believe that love can make anything possible!