Blindness certainly isn’t unique to aging equids, but it is a condition that many older horses and their owners deal with on a daily basis. And after owing an Appaloosa with recurrent uveitis and dwindling vision, I have a lot of respect for owners who successfully manage horses with vision lossÑit’s not an easy task!

Still, it’s something I think all owners should at least have a little knowledge about, because you never know what might happen in the future. And on a recent visit to The Donkey Sanctuary, in Sidmouth, Devon, England, I got the opportunity to visit with their herd of blind and partially sighted donkeys and their sighted companions, and learn about how the sanctuary manages them.

Sighted donkey Lucky acts as a “seeing-eye donkey” for his blind companion, Teddy.

Photo: Erica Larson

An educational sign posted on the donkeys’ shelter explains that some donkeys are born blind, while others lose their sight via illness or age. Pip, one of the donkeys’ grooms, told me that it’s not always easy to tell when a donkey is losing his or her sightÑthey’re such stoic animals. But when the veterinarians and caretakers determine that a donkey is losing or has lost vision, that animal is transferred from a re