Shiela & her mare - 09-11-2002
+ Update 04-27-2004
I guess it has been eight months since I bought my first fly mask from
you. As I told you on the phone, I was desperate to find something to help
my friend (horse). I wasn't sure this would do the trick, but I was
willing to give it a try.
A little over a year ago, I had the pleasure of riding an animal that
stole my heart. I can't tell you why this particular horse tore at my
heart so much, because she certainly was not an easy ride, but she did and
I had to own her. I bought her a month and a half later.
She was an ex-racehorse that had been used as a broodmare for six years.
I see from her registration papers that she was owned by VA Tech for two
months, right after her racing owners, and I can see on her body that she
must have had a terrible accident. She had been passed from person to
person, I'm guessing, because she was such a handful. She didn't trust
people and she was completely wild.
The first time I rode her, I thought I was going to die. She had only two
speeds, stop and run like the wind. She jigged and was totally
unpredictable and unresponsive, but she and I clicked. I worked with her
for months. My friend (and barn owner) noticed she hit her head sometimes
in the stall. She has plenty of turnout, so it wasn't like she had a
small confined area and her stall is big. About the same time, I started
noticing she was afraid to enter the woods on trail rides. If I got off
and led her through the woods, she was fine, but if I tried to have her
maneuver her way through the trees and paths, she flipped out. I spent
many hours walking her through the woods.
One day, her left eye swelled so bad I called the vet. The vet said she
had Uveitis! I was floored. Not only did I have a horse with problems to
overcome; now she had problems with her sight too. I had already
suspected her old injuries caused some discomfort, especially through her
neck area were it looks like she is missing parts of her muscle tissue,
but now I was wondering if it wasn't her eye that was the culprit. The
vet said she probably had very little to no sight in the left eye. Since
she was such a hand full, I had to have her treated at the vet's
hospital. She spent a week with them, so they could get the medicine in
When I went to pick her up, she put her head in the corner of the stall
with her butt facing the stall door, daring me to come in. I stood there
talking to her for at least 30 minutes before she would let me in.
The vet said there wasn't much I could do for her. That she would have to
live with this and that many horses do fine with only one eye. I wasn't
happy with that! I hit the Internet and searched on Uveitis. Your site
popped up in Goggle. I read every single testimonial and every word on
your site. I had nothing to loose. I called you and decided you seemed
legitimate. I ordered two masks from you. One for my Thoroughbred and
one for my 32 year old Quarter horse (she had teary eyes because her tear
ducts are fused shut). My Quarter horse wasn't real happy with the mask
and still does whatever she can to take it off, but her tearing stopped.
And my Thoroughbred is a changed horse.
Your mask was the answer to a great deal of our problems. Once I started
riding her with the mask, she has settled down enough to listen to my
aides. I ride her with the sick eye covered and the good eye open. It
looks funny, but it works best for us. She wears her mask 24/7 and when
I'm not riding her she has both eye pieces on.
This weekend, we entered in a local Dressage show. We placed last, but in
my heart we won first place. One year ago, almost to the day, she tore
all the skin off my fingers coming out of the trailer at our first show
(By the way, never try to hold onto a horse's lead rope when they are
barreling out of a trailer, you can loose all the skin on your hands or
worse, like my friends husband, your finger) and this year she acted like
she had been doing this all her life.
We have come a long way and I believe it is in part due to your mask and
in part due to a lot of patience. Thank you so much! My friend has
bought your fly masks too. Now five out of ten horses at the barn wear
your mask. It looks so funny to see these big eyed horses in the field,
but the masks fit so much better than others we have tried.
I've included two pictures from our show this weekend. She is still real
tense, but nothing like what she used to be like.
Shiela Haviland -
Thank you Shiela for sharing your
wonderful story, we are pleased that your mare is back in action!
You have a very kind heart to
have a special horse like this with needs that were obviously not seen by
others, you've virtually turned this horses life around and your story is
There is hope after all for these
types of horses.
We do everything with the mask on. We
get people asking us all the time “What is that for?” and I always take
the time to explain it and to educate people that there is a life after
Uveitis. I know a handful of people in our area that have already
bought your mask. All of my horses have one and they all wear it in the
summer and in the trailer.
My mare was 12 when I first started
riding her, now she is 15 and we are learning how to jump together. We
have been fox hunting and on numerous Pony Club activities as chaperon.
I truly believe that because of your mask, my mare is no longer in pain
and could/can therefore begin to trust me.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
La Plata, Maryland
Once again it is wonderful to hear
from you Shiela thank you so much for the update on the positive progress
with your mare.
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