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Deaf Horse Wins in Fort Worth

Five-year-old Kiss, an American Paint Horse from Peyton, placed eighth in novice amateur hunt seat equitation at the American Paint Horse Association World show in Fort Worth, Texas, in late June. This achievement is a feather in any horse’s mane, but owner Wendy Ducy is especially proud because her horse has been deaf from birth.The mare’s deafness was recognized when, as a yearling, she was being trained on the lunge line and was not responding to verbal commands. Ducy soon learned to work around her horse’s handicap by teaching her to respond to visual, leg and seat commands. “Her other senses are heightened,” says Ducy. “She sees a lot more than other horses.”Kiss’s deafness can only be recognized by the way she carries her ears. They tend to flop to either side, earning her the nickname “Airplane Ears.”Ducy started showing Kiss as a 2-year-old in Western pleasure. Kiss was bred to be a halter horse, and her strongest classes are Western pleasure and horsemanship. Ducy hopes to win enough points in APHA shows to place in the top-10 in the world by the end of the year.”But it’s not about winning,” says Ducy. “It’s about the bond you develop with your horse.” Kiss doesn’t have to hear his rider’s voice to be a willing partner. As Ducy says, “We have our own language.”

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