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This product is proudly
made in the
Anita & her horse "Benny" 05-17-2010
just sent off my THIRD order for a mask. I live in the desert
in southeastern New Mexico, a land that is harsh, hot and mostly
brilliantly sunny year round.
used to think that it was just a given that many of the paints,
appaloosas and white horses in this area went blind by around 15
years of age, and if I thought about it at all, I just assumed
it was because of weaknesses within the breeds. In 2002, I
bought the best horse I have ever owned for my daughter. Benny
was an 8 yr old red and white appy, with one blue eye and one
marbled blue eye. He put up with her teen age cowgirl years,
placidly accepting whatever current pursuit or fashion she
forced on him with good cheer and willingness.
A couple of years ago, she started mentioning that he stumbled
occasionally, and seemed to startle more easily. I went out to
feed one evening, right about dusk. He and my mule share a 10
acre, mesquite grown field. An old white car had just been put
out in that field. As I called them in to supper, Benny came
galloping through the mesquite brush, side stepping and jumping
over clumps as usual. To my absolute horror, however, he
galloped straight in to the side of the car, striking it
broadside with his chest and knocking himself to the ground. I
ran over to him, where he stood up and rooted himself, trembling
and refusing to move unless he was physically touching my
shoulder. The ultimate diagnosis? He was nearly blind. My vet
told me that uveitis is very, very common in the southwest
because of the intense sun and glare off the ground, and very
common among horses with light colored eyes. She told me the
desert southwest was really hard on appaloosas and paints, and
other light colored animals with light colored eyes. There was
nothing to be done, she told me. It was apparent he had learned
the topography of his pasture, and trusted my daughter when
riding, but she said it was only a matter of time until
euthanasia. To say we grieved is putting it mildly.
About a year later, one of my older daughters told an
acquaintance about it, and they mentioned reading about Guardian
masks. She visited your website, and told me to take a look. I
asked my vet about it, and she said we were grasping at straws.
I ordered Benny's first mask in May or early June of 2009. By
this time, he rarely moved unless he was right on the tail of my
mule. He was unstable under saddle, spooking and "planting"
himself frequently, and sweated frequently for no apparent
reason (other than not being able to see what monster was
approaching). I penned him up for several days when first
putting on the mask. By that time, my daughter had gone off to
college, so it was just me and Benny, so I was seeing him
frequently and knew his mannerisms well.
Since I left for work very early in the morning, and got home at
dusk most days, he spent 100% of the daylight hours in his goofy
looking mask. Within a week, I got the impression he was
actually watching me come down the path to his pen. Within a
month, he was watching the mule out in the pasture and calling
for her. His head tracked her even though she was quite some
distance away, and I knew we were on the right track. By month
two, he was flitting around the pen, jumping his water tub, and
I decided to see how he handled being back out in the pasture.
I put him out on a weekend so I could watch him, and started
crying when he took off at a full gallop, running along a new
fence line, obviously fully aware of anything in his way.
The blue color in his solid eye actually seemed bluer. I took
pictures to catalog the color, but didn't have a picture of the
muddy blue it was when we started, so don't know if this is just
my enthusiasm or not. The mask doesn't hold up to mesquite brush
very well, so I ordered mask #2 after a few months. Mask #2 has
now been destroyed (not the eye cups-they seem made of iron- it
is the velcro jaw straps that are repeatedly torn off!), and I
have just ordered #3. I also have the bridle mask, and he is
back to being safely trail ridden.
Just a note, however...my vain daughter hates the way he looks
in the mask, and I have caught her riding him without the
goggles, and he stumbles and trips over small obstacles, so the
underlying light sensitivity has not been cured, just
controlled. Benny is now my 'full time' pony, and he always has
his mask on. He waits for me in the morning by the gate, where
I hang the mask in the evening. He puts his head in it himself,
and if I sleep late, he parks himself there until I come out. I
know he is much more comfortable with it on, and he depends on
it, too. I imagine if a young New Mexican horse started out
with a Guardian, they would never develop the damage in the
first place. My vet is a convert and I am so proud that this
lovely, kind horse has a new lease on life, thanks to his
am not one to write "testimonials", and am having
trouble affording 3 masks a year, but seeing is believing. This
mask saves horses lives. Thank you for developing it.
Thank you so much for taking the
time to write us about your experiences with Benny.
The best part of this is that you were able to see first hand
how the properties of the mask helped your boy. We're so
pleased to know he has a second lease on life, is active and
happy, that is what it is all about!
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