Blind Love-Our grant is protecting horses & donkeys
Blind Love in South Africa provides a safe, loving forever home to horses and donkeys in
need and improves the lives of all animals in the surrounding disadvantaged communities through owner education and access to basic services. Currently, Blind Love provides sanctuary to 12 rescued horses and 21 donkeys, most of whom have suffered some sort of neglect and/or abuse.
AKI's 2023 grant to Blind Love is for the construction of field shelters for all their resident sanctuary horses and donkeys, The Big Build Project. These are a few of the horses who will benefit.
Angel is a stunning, highly bred American saddle horse. She comes from the Chubasco pinto line of saddle horses in the US. Both her parents were champions, but sadly this beautiful horse was born with a deformity known as wry face.
With wry face, the nose and sometimes the lower jaw deviate and rotate to one side, a congenital abnormality, present at birth. Angel was born with only one eye too. Milder cases of wry face require no treatment.
Angel’s birth defect so shocked the breeders, they decided to sell all their horses and find a suitable safe forever home for Angel. This stunning, feisty girl lives a full, happy, healthy life at Blind Love's sanctuary. Thankfully in Angel's case, no treatment has been needed.
Blush is 100% blind. Blind Love rescued her as a tiny emaciated 18 month old filly. She could still see at the time. In 2011 disaster struck when she was diagnosed with Equine Recurrent Uveitis (ERU), a horrible disease, the leading cause of blindness in horses. The advice was to euthanize her. Blind Love Director Philippa wouldn't accept that though and did her own research. Blush became the founding inspiration for the establishment of Blind Love.
The early days with Blush were harrowing, with Philippa often questioning herself, wondering if she was doing the right thing for Blush. Blush would be struck with an attack in one eye, then the other.... sometimes both eyes at the same time. These flare-ups were painful and she had to be treated daily with eye drops and anti-inflammatories. After each flare up she would also lose more sight in the affected eye.
The other horses pushed Blush out of the safety of the herd. They drove her away viciously and she had to be placed in a safe space with an older thoroughbred mare named Victoria, who never bullied Blush. They spent many years together.
When Blush finally lost her eyesight in both eyes, things changed drastically. She no longer had any painful flare-ups. She became a calm, confident horse. Today Blush most enjoys her time spent with her best friend Vuma.
Blush's best buddy Vuma was a champion triple racer in Manyatseng township, but sadly had been broken in and ridden very hard from an early age. By the time he was just 4 years old he was finished. In early March 2020, Philippa received a phone call from a friend who had seen a very crippled, injured little black horse; she hadn’t been able to stop for him as it was getting dark, but she said he needed help urgently, and please could Philippa try and find him.
That was something like looking for a needle in a haystack. Not to mention that March 2020 was the start of the covid lockdown in South Africa.
Amazingly, just before lockdown was set to begin, a police woman called Philippa to tell her that she had found a black horse in Manyatseng unable to stand up. She told Philippa that if she had had her gun with her, she would have put the horse down.
With the vet, Philippa raced over to where the horse was. After a thorough examination the vet found that nothing was broken and they decided the little black horse was just severely emaciated, sore, and exhausted. He had huge raw bedsores, probably the result of lying down too much.
Even though he was in such a horrid state, the owner refused to surrender him. But then, inexplicably, the owner called Philippa. He had second thoughts, he decided to surrender the horse.
South Africa was set to go into lockdown at midnight that night. And Philippa was so concerned about the horse's condition, she knew she couldn't wait another day or he might be dead. With horse box in tow, they headed to Manyatseng, loaded Vuma up, and brought him home safely.
He was still a stallion at the time so he had to be put in a field with 2 old sheep ladies--the sheep were safe from his advances. He spent those first several days eating, resting, lying down a lot, and getting to know his surroundings.
Now he's a very handsome guy, shiny and fat! He will never be in tiptop condition, and he still likes to lie down and rest often. But every now and then, just as his name suggests, he gets some Vuma, and charges around at top speed...vrooom, vrooom!
Maybe because of his previous hardships, he is a wonderful companion to blind girl Blush.