“Ultimately, it’s the Appaloosa Horse Club that must lead the effort to restore the Appaloosa’s rightful place as one of the preeminent breeds in America.”
For Appaloosa Owners
Some Appaloosa owners whose horses are going blind may take comfort in knowing that this issue is finally getting the attention it deserves. And they will be glad to learn that some research is actively underway, even if much more needs to be done.
Yet we also recognize there will be other Appy owners – and particularly some breeders – who may be very unhappy, if not angry, with us for launching this Web site. The Appaloosa breed’s risk for blindness has been quietly and informally discussed in the horse world for years, but largely – and successfully – kept out of public view. Until now, it has never been documented except in the pages of a few veterinary journals.
Thus we fully expect to be accused of “harming” the breed and of tarnishing its reputation by drawing public attention to this issue. We anticipate some Appaloosa breed enthusiasts will respond by either trying to discredit us, discredit the research, or by questioning our motives.
Turning The Numbers Around
The sad truth is that the Appaloosa breed has been in decline for at least a decade, as demonstrated by the breed registration and transfer of ownership numbers published in Equus. As far as we’re concerned, this is a real tragedy for such a versatile and handsome breed of horse with an illustrious history in America. Those numbers should be going up, not down!
We wonder whether the Appaloosa Horse Club has done any opinion research among horse owners to understand why the new registration and transfer numbers have dropped so much in the past ten years. We would not be surprised to find the word “blindness” cropping up in the poll results.
Caring For Blind Appaloosas
Before anyone fires off angry emails to us or picks up the phone to yell at us for creating this Web site, please remember: We’re the ones taking in the blind Appaloosas. We’re the ones providing counseling and advice to anguished Appy owners who are watching their horses lose vision. And we’re the ones who keep fielding endless requests to take in more blind Appaloosas. Believe us, we wish we could.
Ultimately, it’s the Appaloosa Horse Club that must lead the effort to restore the Appaloosa’s rightful place as one of the preeminent breeds in America. And that effort should start with committing the resources to find out why this breed is at such risk for uveitis and blindness ... and to doing something about it.