Need some help with a new horse that may be deaf?


And for the record, people breed to deaf horses like Gunner because their phenomenal performance abilities, trainability and attitudes far outweigh a minor setback like deafness. Many top trainers with experience aboard deaf horses will tell you its not a hinderance, and can even be an asset, though no one intentionally breeds for it.[/QUOTE]

No. Just no.

Anyone who is intentionally (knowingly) breeding to a deaf horse needs to be permanently removed from the breeding population and branded on the forehead with some sort of insult that indicates how STUPID they are. :frowning: Living creatures developed hearing for a reason - it is essential to survival. Like it or not, it is a genetic defect and like all genetic defects, is a defect. Meaning, the individual is defective and should not be bred!! It is not that hard to grasp!! I shouldn’t be shocked though… it’s the same people that knowingly breed for a likelihood of lethal white, or HYPP… :eyeroll:

I just can’t believe people can be so selfish.

OP, I’m sorry for derailing your thread.


Someone told me a couple of weeks ago that horses with two white ears are usually deaf. Have no idea if it’s true. The same person said she asked a Paint breed inspector or judge about the deafness and he said it was, if anything, considered an advantage as the deaf horses were less spooky.

I wouldn’t worry about the deafness much. If anything it seems like it could be a benefit. Go to a H/J show and just about every horse has earplugs in to help keep them quiet…

His spookiness may just be him. We have a handful of reiners at my barn, all owned by the same trainer, and they are extreeeeeeemly flighty (I think that is learned behaviour, ifyouknowwhatimean…). If you are leading one and swat a fly on your arm the horse will be in reverse at 90 mph. I can’t think of why deafness would lead to bucking. I think that’s a separate issue.

Anyway, good luck with your new boy!

Why is bucking on the lunge line a big deal? You stated he settles right down after a minute. Plenty of horses play a bit on the lunge line.

As for training tips, I don’t see where you’d need to change anything really except you obviously can’t use vocal cues on the line or whatnot. Just proceed as normal and teach some sort of physical sign for cues on the lunge line.

Hey there I know this post is old but I figured I would reply anyway. So I adopted a horse that was abandoned at a horse barn just this year in April. She is a deaf sabino paint. I was hesitating the adoption simply because she was deaf. But she chose me and I went with it. After 3 weeks of pure groundwork I rode her. Mind you she had been worked with on and off over the years but nothing consistent. She was awesome for only being 5 and not worked consistently. When you communicate with a horse it isn’t just voice commands, it is your body language mostly that they understand, at least from the ground. She has turned into an awesome horse since she has been worked consistently. I wouldn’t give her up for a hearing horse. It does make her seen shadows a bit differently but she trusts me and knows I wouldn’t put her in harm so her scares aren’t too major and we move on like they never happened. Let me know if you need any help.

My client has a deaf paint. He has tested 100% deaf. We use visual cues on the lunge. A hand up means whoa, a point means speed up. They read body language just the same as other horses, the verbal cues just have no part of training. Doesn’t mean I don’t find myself clucking at him out of habit!

I do find that he is much more sensitive and responsive to seat, leg, and weight. If you do not ride properly you get a fussy/frustrated horse. So he requires someone who actually knows how to ride properly and not just pull him around.

If we see something that might make him spook, we turn him and face it as he can’t “hear” it coming. The good news is he doesn’t spook to noises that a horse with regular hearing would! So we just make him aware of anything that might be unnerving and that seems to help.

Good luck with your boy!