Sunday, July 20, 2008

Blind horse wins at European championships

A few days ago, the German Junior Riders won Gold at the European Championship in Portugal. Thea Felicitas Müller and her blind horse Highway received a score of 68.10%. Muller and Highway (by Trakehner stallion Hohenstein out of a Weltmeyer dam) have been competing successfully even though the horse went blind last year, the victim of an incurable eye infection. According to a report in, "As he seemed to cope unusually well with this, they decided to keep him around." Indeed!

Dem Schicksal getrotzt

Das blinde Pferd schafft Unmögliches

Ein Pferd wird blind, die junge Reiterin ist geschockt. Doch sie reitet weiter. Sogar im Leistungskader - mit dem erblindeten Tier. Erfolgreich. Es klingt nach einem Stoff für ein Märchen. Im westfälischen Schwelm ist es Realität geworden.
blog it

Also try this link to photos.

Here is a recap of several German articles, generously translated by the member pferdefreund on COTH:

The horse Highway has only been with his owner since early 2005 (she had grown too tall to continue competing on a pony). In summer 2006 the family returned from vacation to find the horse in his stall, eyes wide open an not moving, not even taking a step to say hello. The vet diagnosed blindness and at a clinic it was found that his retina was degenerating (atrophy of the retina).

The young rider who had just advanced to the next higher level of riders in her region, decided she would want to try to continue working (and competing) with highway and become his "seeing eye dog". She worked on getting more trust from the horse, taught him extra commands, such as stop... come ... watch out. The horse learned quickly. Then she got in the saddle again and rode him in the indoor arena as well as on the trail. He even trotted and cantered on the trail, never stumbling

She spent hours with her 13-year old horse taking care of him.

She also found a new trainer and takes lessons 3x/week.

In 2007 they competed in the German Championship and were 14th among 35 riders. Then they qualified for the "Prix of the Best" (more difficult than the German Championship) where she eventually took second place. And she will also compete in the "European Youngster Classics".

Then she also qualified for the European Championships !!! And she barely missed the bronze medal at the Europ. Championship with a score of 72.05%.

Dressage Daily News article


  1. amazing how the horse does trust the rider, even that it is blind. :)

  2. I found this story on the Finnish board you mentioned. People there try to translate your story. They think that this horse trusts completely his rider and their co-work is amazing. That's about it! Great story!


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