Metro, the famous painting horse, goes blind

Dr. Kimberly Brokaw, DVM, exams Metro's eye. The famous painting OTTB has been diagnosed with equine uveitis.

Dr. Kimberly Brokaw, DVM, exams Metro’s eye. The famous painting OTTB has been diagnosed with equine uveitis.

Metro Meteor, the famous painting ex-racehorse, was stricken over the weekend by sudden blindness in both eyes.

The 13-year-old bay Thoroughbred, who became a media sensation after owner and portrait artist Ron Krajewski taught him to grip a paintbrush in his teeth and create abstract acrylics on canvas, was initially diagnosed with equine uveitis in his left eye. Then suddenly, over the weekend, the blindness had spread to both, Krajewski says.

He is under the care of his veterinarian Dr. Kimberly Brokaw, DVM, of Maryland, but was expected to travel to the New Bolton Hospital sometime today to see a specialist, Krajewski says.

Race name: Metro Meteor
Sire: City Zip
Dam: Here Comes Nikki
Foal date: March 13, 2003
Earnings: $299,420
Though Metro became panicked and required sedation as his condition worsened, Krajewski was holding out hope that the blindness could be reversed with medical intervention.

“Today (Saturday) he’s blind. He can’t see a thing. But, I’m confident that his eyesight will come back,” he says, noting that he plans to take aggressive action to save Metro’s vision. By Sunday afternoon, Krajewski reported on the Painted by Metro Facebook page that Metro appeared to be slightly improved during a brief hand walk outside the barn. Though Metro appeared very cautious in a video posted to the page, his footsteps clearly uncertain, he willingly followed his handler.

Krajewski broke the news of Metro’s deteriorating eye condition over the weekend, after a week spent attending to the OTTB’s sudden development of a “squinty” left eye.

As the world grew dimmer for Metro, the horse began to panic; at one point requiring sedation and confinement to his stall.

“He can’t see and he doesn’t understand what’s happening to him,” Krajewski says.

But even in those darkest moments, there was a glimmer of hope. Shortly after posting an update on Facebook, a representative reached out from the famous New Bolton Center, which treated Barbaro.

The blindness spread to Metro's right eye over the weekend.

The blindness spread to Metro’s right eye over the weekend.

An appointment was scheduled with an ophthalmologist for 11 a.m. today.

“Having a celebrity horse helped,” says Krajewski, who notes it was a real relief to get the call. “I don’t think we’ll get the police escort that Barbaro got, but I know he’ll get great care.”

The plan now is to get a specialist’s opinion on Metro’s sudden vision loss, and to chart a course of action. Krajewski notes he has spent his limited free time reading up on surgical procedures that can possibly restore vision, and he has been holding out hope that his painting horse will be okay.

Krajewski, a pet portrait artist, taught his Thoroughbred to “paint” years ago. In a specially equipped stall/studio, Metro holds paint-dipped brushes in his teeth and swipes them across a canvas. The acrylic works have generated revenue to support Metro’s ongoing health needs, and the charity New Vocations Racehorse Adoption. And in the process, Metro has become a celebrity horse, who has been featured on national television shows and in major publications.

With over 55,000 followers on Facebook, Metro is a real life example of the worthiness of off-track Thoroughbreds. Krajewski says he just hopes Metro is able to conquer this sudden medical crisis.

“I feel so bad for him,” he says. “He’s a racehorse who couldn’t run anymore, and now he’s an artist who can’t see.”

26 responses to “Metro, the famous painting horse, goes blind”

  1. Denise Carnes

    prayers for Metro

  2. sally

    Get well soon Metro , Thinking of you and your family

  3. Catherine Uher

    I am I. Tears at this news….but have sent up prayers for God’s complete healing over Metro and that he is definitely in the right hospital at New Bolton!!! You hang in there sweet boy and know that all of your fans are praying for you and love you!!! ????????????????????????????????????????

  4. Helene millar

    So sad for this lovely brave, boy! Praying that his sight is fully restored xxx

  5. Daniel Cordero

    So sorry to hear about Metro losing his vision. Will keep him in my thoughts hoping he gets well soon.

  6. Helene millar

    Praying for Metro’s sight to be fully restored. Such a brave boy xxx

  7. Barb Scott

    “May the force be with you” Metro. You deserve only good things. There are alot of prayers and good vibes coming your way, for a full recovery. Mine included. Get well sweet boy! barb

  8. Always Nell

    What a shame! All my friends and I have his wonderful little paintings. I will treasure them – and him! – always. Be well, big boy.

  9. Fiona Brennan

    I hope that Metros sight comes back! x

  10. ld

    He can still paint whether he can see what he’s doing or not. Don’t take his job away from him because just going through the motions with be sufficient.

  11. Judith A Marshall

    Hope he will be ok he must be afraid not to see he is a beautiful horse

  12. Linda

    My heart is breaking, too, for Metro Meteor. Praying for a miracle for you Metro!!!!????

  13. Sharon umphrey

    Prayers for metro

  14. Sharon b

    I’m so sorry Metro Meteor. Hoping your sight will return

  15. Sónia graça

    Metro I love you so much! Please get well soon!

  16. Cheri

    Oh, my goodness. House of Vaughan offers sincere, heartfelt wishes for a full recovery, a speedy one, too. He has many moneighs left to paint! Awesome equine artist!

  17. Sandra Charbonneau

    Healing prayers to Metro.

  18. Leslie M. Bliman-Kuretzky

    My Heart breaks for this sweet boy <3

  19. Laurel Jacobus

    If his condition does not reverse check out Blindsight. My dog has one and they are made for horses too. http://Www.JordyCanid.Com

  20. Marilyn Lee-Hannah and Prodigioso, The Everglades Horse

    Oh my….prayers for Metro…may he, like his artwork live on…

  21. Laura Canavan

    Prayers and thoughts for Metro and his people.

  22. lifewithlucylou

    Heartbreaking. Hopefully the appointment at New Bolton goes well and Metro will be a good candidate for corrective surgery. Prayers for him and Mr. Krajewski.

  23. MicheleandMarty Zimmerman

    Praying for Metro with the hopes that he can at least get some of his sight restored! Will be keeping him in my thoughts and prayers!!

  24. Mary Adkins-Matthews

    Our horse named I’m Charismatic (son of Charismatic) had the same thing happen to him and now he lives at Old Friends in Kentucky and is completely blind. He has learned to get along and has another horse that helps him. I would love to know if there is a treatment found but so far other than surgery, there is none that has been found for I’m Charismatic.

  25. Mary McLeod

    I am truly stunned. I wore my Metro tshirt yesterday to “The Force Awakens.” Metro, his owners, and his doctors will certainly be in my prayers. Metro has touched so many of us with his talent and personality. xoxo to ALL, Mary in Boone

  26. Maureta Ott

    I’m heartbroken that Metro has to go through this, but he and his family are in my thoughts and prayers. Metro, you are loved!

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