Commentary: Horse People

by John R. Killacky as published in the vtdigger.org

“This delightful bit of insight is centered around the world of a boarding barn, where different equines and humans mix in an tight and intimate group.  Another dimension of equine interaction goes to those who live with their horses, on their own land;  communication and exchange is continual with support coming from other like families within the expanded equine community.  Be it global or centered in a simple stall, the bond between human and horse is unlike any other.  Enjoy.” ~ R.T.


Equine photographer Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation with several members of the rescued Fitch herd ~ photo by R.T. Fitch

Equine photographer Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation with several members of the rescued Fitch herd ~ photo by R.T. Fitch

In yoga I’ve learned the term kula, a Sanskrit word for an intentional community. As I journey through my day, I realize I have many kulas, all with different shared values and norms. Family, workplace, friends and neighbors – these are some of the communities I inhabit.

There’s another at the barn where I board my Shetland pony. Here status is irrelevant. The virtues of simplicity are revealed through mundane chores. It’s really hard to be grand mucking out stalls or pounding through ice in frozen buckets.

People’s identities are determined through their relationships with their equines. Morgans, thoroughbreds, quarter horses, my Shetland and others are boarded together — each breed has certain characteristics. And every animal also has a distinctive personality: bombproof, flighty, cranky, laid back or hyper. Like people, they change with age, and human gravitas is earned as we adapt to their behavior.

I’ve now been part of the barn long enough to see little kids on lesson horses grow up to be like the teens they once admired. They amaze me as they pick themselves up after being thrown and jump right back into the saddle. They teach me that fear is to be overcome, or at least managed.

But I really feel part of the late night adult crew. Lawyers, researches, teachers and administrators – we don’t spend a lot of time talking about day jobs, more on what our animals have been up to. Feeding, care, and training tips are topics of conversation. The norm here is to offer advice only when asked. Conversely, request help and everyone is willing.

Success is hard won in the training arena. Mastery is elusive, failure and setbacks are routine. Everyone struggles to improve their dressage and jumping, or for me, learning the fine points of driving my pony from a cart. Trainers and off-site clinics help, but just as important, barn mates are crucial to any improvement I make.

But when my Shetland whinnies, all else are left behind. We’re not two separate beings, but one, as I lose myself in the intense focus of grooming and working with her; other times we play with no agenda.

As she grazes, I stand beside her, trying to be mindful as we observe each other. She is fundamentally joyful, inquisitive, and spontaneous – all traits I want more of. In knowing her, I learn more about myself and carry this back into my other worlds.

Bad Ranchers, Bad Cows

by Vickery Eckhoff as published in The Daily Pitchfork

A newly published study offers photographic proof of what ranchers have long denied: the extent to which livestock grazing damages public lands. (Part III of a series on ranchers in the media)

Private Cattle being moved on Antelope Complex while the BLM was removing wild horses ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Private Cattle being moved on Antelope Complex while the BLM was removing wild horses ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Livestock have been severely depleting public rangelands for decades. They do so by trampling vegetation, damaging soil, spreading invasive weeds, polluting water, increasing the likelihood of destructive fires, depriving native wildlife of forage and shelter and even contributing to global warming—all of which has been noted in study after study. Global studies. Peer-reviewed studies. Government studies. Lots of studies going back many years.

So why do people get up in arms about drilling for oil in the Arctic national wildlife refuge, demolished forests and polluted streams, but accept cattle trampling wildlife refuges and national parks, forests and grasslands as if that’s a productive use of our nation’s shared landscape?

Why does that damage—amounting to as much as a one billion dollar subsidy to a very small slice of the livestock industry every year—go unmentioned by a media that so eagerly condemns climate change deniers and proponents of fracking?…(CONTINUED)

Click (HERE) to read the rest of the story

Click (HERE) to read Part II of this series

Checkerboard roundup wild horses now available at Rock Springs

By Carol Walker, Director of Field Documentation, Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Carol Walker’s blog is wildhoofbeats.com

Carol’s website is www.livingimagescjw.com

The Beautiful Mares

Rock Springs Short Term Holding Facility Reopens with Adoption Event February 27, 28 2015

The wild horses that were rounded up and removed from their homes in Great Divide Basin, Adobe Town and Salt Wells Creek that were sent to the Rock Springs Short Term Holding facility in Rock Springs, Wyoming are now available for adoption and sale. The horses 10 and under must be adopted, the horses older that 10 must be purchased and approved using a Sale Authority Application.

The facility has been closed to the public until this week, and approximately 600 of the 1263 wild horses removed from the three areas in September and October of 2014 are at the Rock Springs BLM facility. About 500 were sent to the Canon City, Colorado facility, and they still have quite a few of these horses available.

The Geldings - former Stallions

I have separated the photographs I have taken this week by gender and age. There are three links:

Geldings, mares and weanlings. The weanlings were difficult to photograph because they kept mobbing me – especially the fillies! There are many more weanlings available than I have photographs for.

Mares have a red string with their number tag, geldings have a black string with their number tag.

If the tag number is not visible, I do not have it – you need to contact Kathi Fine.

Please feel free to use my images as a reference for identification and adoption, but they are copyrighted and I do not allow any other use without prior permission.

http://www.livingimagescjw.com/15RockSpringsGeldings/

http://www.livingimagescjw.com/15RockSpringsMares/

http://www.livingimagescjw.com/15RockSpringsWeanlings/

Many Adorable Weanlings are Available

The horses laying down are simply enjoying a rare sunny day and taking a nap.

Many of the mares are pregnant, and foaling season has begun – there have been 5 foals born in the last 2 weeks at the facility.

Mares

This Friday February 27 and Saturday February 28 the public is welcome to come view the horses at the facility from 8-3 on Friday and Saturday from 8-12 and the horses are available to be adopted. Don’t worry – if you cannot make the adoption this weekend, the horses are available year round, simply contact Kathi Fine to schedule a time to visit the facility.

Read the rest of this story (HERE).

 

Utah lawmakers back off horse-tripping ban

Apparently, a horse-tripping ban made Utah Farm Bureau V.P. of Public Policy, Sterling Brown, feel “jumpy.”  Below is a video of horse-tripping in Oregon.

SOURCE:  ksl.com

Lawmakers back off horse-tripping ban

By Amy Joi O’Donoghue

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill requiring equestrian venues to register an official “horse-tripping” event within 30 days of when it is scheduled passed a legislative committee on Monday afternoon.

The substitute version of HB261 by Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, also requires the owners of the arenas to report the consequences of such an event, including how many horses were involved, if there were injuries and the contact information of the attending veterinarian if called.

Horse tripping, or horse roping, has already been banned in 13 other states. It is the competitive non-rodeo sanctioned event of lassoing a horse’s legs and neck and bringing it to the arena floor, often at a full gallop.

Ivory, a horseman, sought to prohibit the measure outright under state law and make it a misdemeanor, but he pulled back Monday before a hearing with the House Natural Resources Agricultural and Environmental Quality Committee.

Sterling Brown, with the Utah Farm Bureau, said the organization is strongly opposed to horse tripping, but conceded the original version of the bill made him extremely “jumpy.”

Critics of outlawing the practice say it is a foot in the door to ban rodeo.

Proponents say states with strong rodeo traditions such as Texas and Oklahoma have outlawed horse tripping with no fallout.

A number of people testified in favor of the Utah Legislature taking some action on the issue.

One child told the committee, “If I was horse, I would not like this done to me.”

The measure also requires the state agricultural department to embark on an educational campaign on horse tripping and make reports during the state Legislature’s interim.

BLM roundup of horses “near” Sulphur HMA in Utah starts today

The BLM claims there are 830 wild horses on the Sulphur HMA.  However, when the BLM rounded up wild horses off the Sulphur HMA in 2010, at that time they claimed there were 276.  The “gather” report from that roundup states the BLM removed 90, then returned 60 (some of these may have been given fertility control).   So, that would leave 246 wild horses at the end of 2010.  If we use BLM’s 20% population increase estimate per year, that would add up to about 296 in 2011, then 356 for 2012, then 428 for 2013, then 514 for 2014.  We are only 2 months into 2015, but just to be fair, we’ll add another 9 horses.  That adds up to a total of 523 wild horses, if none died, and all mares given fertility control gave birth.  So, how did the population on the Sulphur HMA suddenly jump to 830?  – Debbie

SOURCE:  thehorse.com

wild-horse-in-utah

The BLM says the Sulphur HMA has an appropriate management level of 250 horses, but the current HMA horse population is approximately 830 animals

BLM to gather horses in southern Utah

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Utah Cedar City Field Office says it will be gathering and removing wild horses causing public health and safety concerns along Highway 21 near the Sulphur herd management area (HMA). Efforts to remove approximately 100 horses are scheduled to begin on Feb. 26.

Members of the public are welcome to view the daily gather operations once they begin, provided the safety of the animals, staff, and observers are not jeopardized and operations are not disrupted, the bureau says.

The BLM says the Sulphur HMA has an appropriate management level of 250 horses, but the current HMA horse population is approximately 830 animals. This situation has created public health and safety issues for the horses and motorists along Highway 21 near the HMA. Some horses have migrated to the outer most parts of the HMA due to over population and forage limitations and are encroaching on Highway 21.

Beginning Feb. 26, escorted tours for interested public will be provided each day of the gather operations. Participants should meet at the Border Inn Gas Station located on Highway 6 and 50 on the Utah-Nevada Border, 88.6 miles west of Delta, Utah, and be ready to leave promptly at 7:00 a.m. MST. The dates and departure times for public tours are subject to change depending upon weather and gather operations. Please check the gather hotline at 435/865-3030 for changes or updates.

Participants must provide their own transportation, water, and lunches. The BLM recommends wearing footwear and clothing suitable for harsh field conditions. Binoculars and four-wheel drive, high clearance vehicles are also very strongly recommended.

Public lands will remain open unless closures are deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Outdoor recreationists and visitors to the gather area should be aware that there will be low flying aircraft in the area. The BLM requests that pilots avoid flight patterns along Highway 21 and within the Mountain Home area because air-traffic could pose safety risk to helicopters assisting gather operations. These helicopters often change course and altitude quickly. Brief road closures could also be needed to allow movement of horses during gather operations.

Animals removed from near Highway 21 will be made available for adoption through the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program. Those that are not adopted will be cared for in long-term pastures, where they retain their “wild” status and protection under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. The BLM removed 30 wild horses from the same area on Aug. 1, 2014; 24 of these horses have found new homes with families and trainers and only six remain in the BLM Adoption Program.

Gather updates and information will be posted as they become available at http://blm.gov/h6ld or follow us on Twitter @BLMUtah using #SulphurGather2015.

For additional information on participating in public observation days, please contact public affairs specialist Lisa Reid at 435/743-3128 or lreid@blm.gov. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf can call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800/877-8339 to leave a message or question for the above individual. The FIRS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Replies are provided during normal business hours.

– See more at: http://www.thehorse.com/articles/35358/blm-to-gather-horses-in-southern-utah#sthash.AXpaNqWP.dpuf

Janine Blaeloch, Director of Western Lands Project, on BLM & Forest Service Land Swaps & Industrial Solar, on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Wed., 2/25)

painy

Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us on Wild Horse Wednesday (*SM) , February 25, 2015

5:00 pm PST … 6:00 pm MST … 7:00 pm CST … 8:00 pm EST

Listen to this ARCHIVED show Here!

This is a 1 hour show.  Call in with questions during the 2nd half hour.  

Call in # (917) 388-4520

_____________________________________________

janinehead

Janine Blaeloch, Founder & Director of Western Lands Project

Our guest will be Janine Blaeloch, Founder & Director of Western Lands Project, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that fights public land privatization in order to protect the environment and the public interest.  Their mission is to scrutinize public land trades, sales, giveaways, and any project that would cede public land.  Their goal is to keep public land public.

Janine will talk about the destructive utility-scale solar plants planned on 19 million acres of public lands open to industrial solar applications, instead of alternatives that would focus solar development on degraded lands and in the already-built environment.

Each year, approximately 200 land deals are proposed by the Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service, in addition to those introduced by legislation.  The BLM & the Forest Service do exchanges of land with private parties, including timber companies, mining corporations, ranchers, and developers

While the two sides must get lands of equal market value, and the exchange must create a net benefit for the public, the appraisal process can be corrupted and the public interest is often ignored.  For years, the Forest Service was trading lushly forested lands to timber companies in exchange for the cut-over, damaged land the companies had already exploited.

And in the U.S. Congress, members wheel, deal, carve up, and give away public lands with no regulations to hinder them.  Frequently, the bottom line is the direct, pragmatic opportunity to reward friends or curry political favor through the gift of public land.

Read Western Lands Project newsletters HERE.

Read these detailed publications:

Carving Up the Commons: Congress and Our Public Lands

Commons or Commodity? The Dilemma of Federal Land Exchanges

The Citizens Guide to Federal Land Exchanges: A Manual for Public Lands Advocates

Tonight’s radio show will be hosted by Debbie Coffey, V.P. & Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs, Wild Horse Freedom Federation Continue reading

Rancher Kevin Borba & Eureka County Commissioners try to pull the wool over public’s eyes

CORRECTION:  When this article originally posted, the incorrect information that Kevin Borba owned 330,000 acres was quoted from the Elko Daily Free Press (Thomas Mitchell).  However, according to newly obtained information from the Eureka County Assessor, Kevin Borba owns 1,339.55 acres.  This article has been updated to include this correction. 

by Debbie Coffey, V.P. & Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs, Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Fish Creek HMA roundup (photo:  Bureau of Land Management)

Fish Creek HMA roundup (photo: Bureau of Land Management)

Rancher Kevin Borba and Eureka County Commissioners filed the appeal with the Interior Board of Land Appeals on Friday, opposing the return of any of the 424 wild horses recently rounded up to the Fish Creek Herd Management Area (HMA) near Eureka, Nevada.

The BLM planned to return 104 mares treated with fertility control (PZP) and 82 studs to the Fish Creek Herd Management Area (HMA) near Eureka on Friday.

New welfare rancher Kevin Borba, is being likened to Cliven Bundy and portrayed as trying to “eke out a living on dry, inhospitable rangeland.”  However, Borba is a 48-year-old cattleman from California, who bought a $1.5 million ranch in Eureka County in 2012.  Borba named his new 1,339.55-acre ranch the Borba Land and Cattle Co.  

A couple of years later, the BLM reduced the number of cattle on his grazing allotments.  The “news” reports that Borba originally grazed 415 head of cattle, but his grazing allotment was reduced to 140 cattle.

Hold your horses.  According to the BLM’s Rangeland Administration System, Borba has 2 grazing allotments in the BLM Ely District on the Little Smoky Valley pasture of the Duckwater Allotment (BLM authorization #2703864).  For one thing, the “reduced” number of 140 cows is a cow-calf pair, which means Borba can graze 280 cattle for 5 months each year (Oct. 15 – March 15) on 100% public lands.

Borba also has an active authorization to graze 1,000 sheep for 5 months of each year (Oct. 30 – March 31) on 100% public lands. But Borba decided that he didn’t want to raise and sell sheep, and also declined to sell his sheep allotment to sheep ranchers when they offered to buy it.

Borba also has 2 grazing allotments (BLM authorization #2703895) on the Antelope Valley pasture of the Fish Creek Ranch Allotment in the BLM Battle Mountain District, where he grazes 506 cattle (in reality, this could be 1,012 cattle if we count cow-calf pairs) for 5 months each year (Nov. 1 – March 31) on 100% public lands.

The 2015 Fish Creek Herd Management Area Wild Horse Gather Plan noted “In 2014, unauthorized livestock were documented grazing consistently for six months outside the permitted use within the Antelope Valley Use Area of the Fish Creek Ranch Allotment.”

Borba’s sense of entitlement was also evident when he told the Associated Press “We (ranchers) have a right to be here and we don’t want them to turn out the horses.

It’s important to focus on the fact that Borba’s authorized grazing allotments are on 100% PUBLIC LAND, not on the 1,339.55 acres he bought.

Why should taxpayers subsidize Borba’s poor business planning with his dependence on grazing his cattle on PUBLIC LANDS instead of his privately owned 1,339.55 acres?  Livestock grazing is a privilege, not a right.

Something else is fishy.  On the BLM’s website page for the Fish Creek HMA, today it states this about the wild horses: “The current population estimate for the HMA is 79 wild horses. Wild horses are known to move between the Fish Creek HMA and Seven Mile HMA, located south of the Fish Creek HMA.”

BUT, “news” reports just claimed the current population of wild horses in the Fish Creek HMA was estimated at 549 wild horses.

The BLM website currently states this about the Seven Mile HMA: “The current population is estimated to be 92 horses. An AML range of 60-100 wild horses has been established for both the USFS Butler Basin Wild Horse Territory and the Seven Mile HMA.”

And yet, in 2014, another source estimated that the 97,479 acre  Seven Mile HMA had an AML of 30-50 wild horses and it was estimated there were 154 wild horses.

This is confusing, isn’t it?  Just like numbers are being pulled out of a hat.

Could some of the 154 (or, 92) wild horses that are part of the Seven Mile HMA have wandered over and been counted as part of the 549 wild horses supposedly on Fish Creek HMA?
Out of the estimated 549 on the Fish Creek HMA, the BLM rounded up 424 (leaving 125), and was going to return about 186 (this is the 104 PZP treated mares and about 82 studs).
Until Kevin Borba and the Eureka County Commissioners threw a big hizzy fit.

But, since 125+186=311, does this mean there are now only about 311 wild horses (with 104 of the mares treated with the fertility control pesticide/”vaccine” PZP) on 2 HMAs, on over 350,292 acres?

While some wild horse advocates claim that 104 mares treated with PZP is “sane” or “fair” management of this wild horse herd, or that the BLM is doing the “right” thing, it seems they should do more research before giving quotes to the media, and before selling out the wild horses.  These groups do NOT speak for all of us.

The BLM continues to manage wild horses to extinction.  Period.

Utah lawmakers consider ban on horse tripping

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah lawmakers this year are considering banning horse tripping practices that involve the use of ropes to lasso the animals and bring them to the ground.

A bill from West Jordan Republican Rep. Ken Ivory would ban the practice for sport or entertainment.

Ivory says horses are companions and service animals and they should not be brutalized.

Horse tripping has been banned in 13 states and several other states are considering restricting the practice.

Horse roping and horse tripping are not sanctioned by Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association or the National Professional Rodeo Association.

The Deseret News reports critics of horse tripping bans say they open the door for criticism from animal-rights activists of rodeo events.

Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo shocking horses

With so much going on, it’s hard to cover everything, so we’re playing a bit of “catch-up” today with this issue.

Promoters of the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo claimed they stopped shocking horses years ago, but SHARK caught them doing it again this past summer.   One newspaper – the Wyoming Tribune Eagle – called out the rodeo.  You can read that article below.

SOURCE:  Wyomingnews.com

Some cowboys don’t abide by the Code

by D. Reed Eckhardt

Live each day with courage.

Do what has to be done.

Ride for the brand.

Remember that some things aren’t for sale.

Know where to draw the line.

– Excerpts from the “Code of the West”

It gets tiring after a while.

You would think after 41 years in the news business that I would have gotten used to being misled by the subjects of news stories and their public relations flaks.

Still, I wish that just one time they would say, “Hey, we messed up.  We’re fixing things.  It won’t happen again.”

But no, all one gets is the dissembling, and half-truths, and deflections.  Usually, some little guy takes the tumble for the actions of the big boys.

That is how it was this past week at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo.

CFD officials promised in 2008 that they would no longer shock horses to get them to perform.  The WTE caught them red-handed using Hot-Shots on roughstock and did an article that embarrassed the organization nationally.  Policies were passed.  Rules put in place.

Afterward, rodeo officials begged this newspaper to do stories about how well they tended their animals.  They swore they were as much about the horses, calves, steers and bulls as they were about the money and the cowboys.

We ran those articles, catching holy heck from the animal rights crowd in the process.  But it seemed like the fair thing to do.

Well, bull-oney.

Someone representing CFD got caught again on July 18 shocking saddle broncs and barebacks on their faces during the CINCH Rodeo Shootout.  Videos from SHARK (Showing Animals Respect and Kindness) clearly show it; there was no way to pass the charge off as the rantings of some out-of-control animal rights group.

(To see the videos, go to http://tiny

url.com/horseshock.)

How much better it would have been if CFD had just fessed up.  Instead, it went into cover-your-butt mode.

The PR machine could be heard revving up all the way in downtown Cheyenne.  Limit the response to a committee chairman.  Keep the general chairman under wraps.  Spin, spin, spin.

Out came the answer: Blame it on a rogue volunteer who didn’t know the rules.  Say he has been disciplined.  Promise it never will happen again.  Quiet those yahoos in the press.

Story runs in the media; storm over.  Or so it seems.

And then it happened again the next day.

Only this time, it was even more brazen.  Heck, the prongs from the Hot-Shot stuffed in the horse’s face nearly sparkle in the sunlight before the device disappears out of sight.

A review of the videos makes it clear that all of this never was accidental.  Watch for yourselves.  That so-called “volunteer” hides the Hot-Shot behind his hand, uses it, puts it back out of sight and then passes it behind his back to someone else.

If this guy didn’t know the rules, why did he try to hide it?

If he thought it was legal, he simply would have done his thing.  Instead, he sneaks around and has someone (is that someone wearing a contestant’s number?) slip it out of sight as if nothing has happened.

Read the rest of this story HERE.

A Boy and His Horse: A&M Large Animal Hospital Helps Restore a Special Bond

Story by Megan Palsa as published on Texas A & M Veterinary Medicine website

“This ‘Feel Good Sunday’ we would like to share with you a story of a group of people who are very near and dear to the hearts of all equestrians in our part of Texas; they are the staff and students at Texas A & M University’s Large Animal Hospital.  In our parts, when a vet conducts an emergency field visit to a sick or injured horse and quickly accesses that the situation is more than he can handle the equine patient is immediately transported to Texas A & M University in College Station, Texas…a mere 40 minute trip for us.  A & M has saved one of our horses from the jaws of death and also eased another gently across the bridge.  I will never forget the sympathy card signed by all who attempted to save the life of a very dear equine friend of mine.  Their sincere care, concern and compassion are forever emblazoned upon my heart; so today we tip our hats to those who endeavor to dedicate their lives to better the bond between both horse and human.  Simply put; Thank You!” ~ R.T.


It is often said that dogs are man’s best friends, but sometimes a horse can be a boy’s best friend. Throughout history, humans and their horses have shared a unique bond. Drawn to their overwhelming power and mystique, they continue to be an integral part of our lives. Ten-year-old Kaden Ramirez and his horse, George, share a bond that is deeper than most.

Growing up immersed in the rodeo culture, Kaden’s love for horses was almost predestined. However, it wasn’t until he was diagnosed with autism at the age of six that rodeoing became more than a hobby; it became his therapy.

“It took almost two years for George to fully learn Kaden, which is a feat considering that the process of buying and training a horse for him is very intensive,” said Kimberly Ramirez, Kaden’s mother. “People would stop me and say, ‘Wow, it looks like Kaden finally learned that horse,’ and I would say, ‘No, George finally learned him.’”

The dynamic duo has been rodeoing together for a little over two years now and began excelling in barrel racing all over the region this past year, recently claiming the all-around title in La Grange. Not only has rodeoing with George brought Kaden extraordinary pleasure, doctors have confirmed that participation in rodeos has helped his symptoms.

On the night of September 20, 2014, George had an accident and poked his eye with an unknown item in the pasture, resulting in an emergency trip to the veterinarian. After being treated by their referring veterinarian, the eye was not progressing as they had hoped, so George was sent to Dr. Leslie Easterwood at the Texas A&M Large Animal Hospital.

“George came to the Large Animal Hospital with a five day history of a puncture to the left eye after showing little progression. Dr. Sam Williams, a Texas A&M graduate who had been treating George in Victoria, Texas, sent him for an injection into his eye that is not commonly done out in private practice,” said Easterwood. “He had some fibrin (inflammatory material) inside the anterior chamber of the eye that was preventing his pupil from opening. If the fibrin remained in the eye, the pupil would remain closed, and he would not be able to see once the puncture was healed.”

Although a horse can typically function and perform various activities with the loss of sight in one eye, it would be dangerous for the duo to continue barrel racing unless George regained enough sight in the eye. The extensive veterinary procedures have led to costly medical bills. Easterwood and her team decided, however, that they would do all in their power to keep this duo together.

“After hearing the story about the bond between George and Kaden, we were moved, and agreed to keep George in the hospital to help provide him with the best chance at sight. George would be a very good teaching case and could offer our students the opportunity to follow the case the whole way through and see the effects of our treatments,” Easterwood said. “Although the Ramirez family had not asked for any help, we were more than happy to provide it. The family’s friends also started a GoFundMe account to help with expenses from both our hospital and the charges from Dr. Williams.”

Easterwood and her team kept George over the weekend, performing ultrasounds on the eye to monitor progress with the fibrin, and over time, the pupil opened and George became responsive to light. “These are both good signs that we will hopefully have a sighted eye once the corneal healing is over,” said Easterwood.

An entire community waits anxiously for an update on George’s condition, but none more so than 10-year-old Kaden. Regardless of the outcome, this dynamic duo will stay strong.

“The Texas A&M Large Animal Hospital is a wonderful and caring place,” said Ramirez. “Dr. Easterwood, her team of students, and all of the staff were very dedicated to not only George and Kaden but also us as a family. I feel they all went above and beyond the call of duty, and we will always have a special place in our hearts for this animal clinic. They have made Kaden a big Texas A&M fan, and he now keeps up with all of the football games and wants to get everything in maroon; A&M has made a friend for life.”.