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Tracy Richter

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Melissa Richter’s One-Eyed Event Horse Storm Is Going Strong

Photo by Marilyn Merrick-Merrick Studios.

My daughter Melissa got her horse, Storm, for Christmas in 2008. She was 8; he was 4. Once he found out he could get away with naughty behavior, he took advantage, and even under the direction of her trainer Kris Wallace he continued to be a nasty horse who would buck, rear, spin and bite.

For some unknown reason, when he turned 9, he decided he was done with that behavior and was happy to have a job. Melissa and Storm began competing in hunter classes, and in 2016 won the Missouri Horse Show Association championship in Beginner Hunter.

Some time during the season, his right eye began draining — and during treatment we discovered he had lost sight in that eye. For how long he was losing sight we do not know. He gave no indication of pain, spooking, nothing. He was diagnosed with recurring uveitis, so earlier this year it was determined the best thing to do was to remove the eye before it would cause him pain or possibly spread to the other eye.

Photo by Marilyn Merrick-Merrick Studios.

Storm loves cross country. Melissa schooled a little at the end of last year and her first two eventing trials ended in elimination on the cross country course. With Storm’s eye removal, we weren’t sure how he would take the jumps. They schooled a couple of times and you wouldn’t know he has one eye. He always has his ears forward and is looking for the next jump.

They went to Longview for the Mill Creek Pony Club Trial last month in Kansas City, Mo. It would be the test for them to get through the cross country course, and a test for her one-eyed horse to complete a full trial. They improved their dressage score from last year, rocked the cross country course, made stadium look easy, and came away with third in the Jr. Starter division.

This past weekend they attended Queeny Park horse trials in St. Louis, Mo. Their dressage score was consistent, they again made stadium look easy, then went clear on a very long cross country course, which earned them a first place in the Starter A division! They hope to keep competing all season.