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Barn Blindness – Are You A Sufferer?

July 5th, 2019 by Sophia Skeith

If you’ve ever bred or even owned a horse, then there’s a good chance you may have contracted this alarming disease at some point. It knows no racial, ethnic or religious boundaries. Early symptoms include excessive grooming of your horse, and constantly posting pictures on social media of every “cute” and “adorable” angle of said animal/s.

It can quickly develop into a chronic condition when most of your waking hours are spent comparing your horse/s to all others only to find all others wanting.

The disorder can even progress to its most acute stage when you believe judges are unfairly penalizing your horse if it doesn’t achieve the score you think it should have and you become highly sensitive to any comments about your horse that are not superlatives, especially by trainers (cause what do they know?)

The disease I’m talking about is called Barn Blindness and those who suffer from it generally have no idea and even deny such a condition exists or will happily tell you about others who suffer from this sad fate.

The problem with Barn Blindness, if you need it pointed out, is that it stops you improving your horse, cause your horse is already amazing right? Or worse, you don’t correct or manage a flaw because you don’t see it.

One of the best cures is to put your horse up for sale at a horse auction. The open market will tell you exactly what your horse is worth, ouch! Side effects can include a broken heart and deflated ego, neither of which is fatal.

If you’re a breeder, it’s a condition that will continue to blight your bloodlines as your inability to see flaws prevent you from improving on them with the right crosses. Here’s a hint: if they’re not knocking down your door to give you money for your stud’s sperm or your horses, maybe it is time for a rethink?

If you’re the type that believes your horse is amazing purely because it has the papers that say so, news flash, it’s still got to look the part and perform in real life. Pedigree doesn’t mean anything if the product doesn’t show it.

Another cure, painful as it may be to treat like alcohol on open wound, is to ask experts and trainers to give an honest assessment of your horse. A word of advice if you do this, be prepared to hear the good AND the bad. And remember: it’s not personal. They are talking about your horse – not you! Take a deep breath, grin-and-bare it by clamping down on a piece of leather, or your tongue, and maybe count to 10 before you reply!

The third treatment for Barn Blindness is to join a support group with similarly afflicted owners, such as Owners Anonymous of the World’s Greatest Horse otherwise known as Western Pleasure (that’s a joke people!). If you have recognized yourself or a loved one with this diagnosis then intervention may be necessary. Get them to watch CHTO for some intense video education (re-programming!).

 

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