Horse News

Dying Vietnam Vet Asks for Final Meeting with Beloved Horses Outside Hospital

“When the horse came up to him he actually opened his eyes…”

Photo: (Lupe Hernandez, South Texas Veterans Health Care System)

Photo: (Lupe Hernandez, South Texas Veterans Health Care System)

Vietnam veteran Roberto Gonzalez’s final wish was granted Saturday when he was reunited with his beloved horses — Ringo and Sugar — outside of a Texas VA hospital.

Gonzalez, of Premont, Texas, who was shot and paralyzed during the war, was wheeled outside the front doors of Audie Murphy Veterans Hospital in San Antonio where he was greeted by the horses he had raised for decades, reported.

Gonzalez, who was one of the hospital’s first patients when it opened in 1974, had asked his family to see his horses one last time. The family passed along the request to hospital staff who gladly obliged. Ringo and Sugar then made the 150-mile trip to the hospital to see him.

“Horses are his life,” his wife, Rosario Gonzalez, told KABB. “We’ve been training and raising horses for 30, 40 years.”

The South Texas Veterans Health Care System posted a photo of the meeting on its Facebook page on Sunday, calling Gonzalez a great American and identifying him as one of the first patients at the hospital.

“A heartfelt Thank you, to all at Audie L. Murphy V A Hospital,” Rosario Gonzalez posted in response. “A special thank you to the spinal cord staff, all of you became a part of our family.

“The care you have been giving my husband and to me goes above and beyond,” she wrote. “You are our angels God Bless you all.”

Gonzalez reportedly learned that his kidneys and liver were failing when he recently visited the hospital for a back wound.

“He never let his injuries slow him down. He loved horses, he loved cattle, he loved ranching and farming. He was proud to serve his country,” Rosario Gonzalez told ABC affiliate KSAT.

Gonzalez’s May 21 visit with the horses came 46 years to the day after he was wounded in Vietnam. His wife told local media stations that her husband was one of the only licensed, handicapped horse trainers in Texas.

“When the horse came up to him he actually opened his eyes. They came up to him and I think they were actually kissing him,” Gonzalez told

6 replies »

  1. Horses have a special energy. They can save you on your worst days. Have a bad day..give it up and go to the barn. Saddle up and take a ride. The love and energy is immense. Documentation has shown over and over the healing power if horses. Riders and the handicapped. Inmates with no self worth and the list goes on. The Health care system is just now finding out how valuable animals are especially horses. Seeing my horse would be my final wish too. Great story!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is why people devote their lives to care for Horses, I have a connection with my Boss Horse that is beyond my rescueing him and him accepting me as his leader, he stood over me when I passed out and I was out for almost 2 hours and only came to when I heard my mother screaming my name, I looked up and I knew it was my boy guarding me. I was putting all of the in their stalls as we had a bad storm coming and had already had three in when I went to dump Lacoda’s bucket and was just outside his stall and that’s the last thing I remember until I heard mom yelling my name, I looked up and knew it was my boy, he was keeping me safe, there were only my two Mares left to be stalled but he wouldn’t let them near me, I touched under his belly and he gently stepped over me, I pulled myself up using his front forleg and pulling on his Mane, I leaned on him as he helped me to the barn and I told my mom to go inside I still had to put up my Mares and Lacoda and she’s screaming your crazy, well that maybe but still stalled the two mares and when I went to stall Lacoda he didn’t want to leave me, but I talked to him and told him I was O.K. now and I gave him a hug and thanked him for what he had done, this is not the first time he’s looked after me and it won’t be the last. These actions by horses with those who love them is common and only proves they are not just livestock, they feel love and give it back and when my husband gets onto me for doing more than what the Doctors want me to do, I just say if I go, here with my Horses I’ll be dancing when I reach the Pearly Gates as I see it, there’s no better way to leave this Earth than to be surrounded by those you love and love you back. I just wish others understood the gift of sharing your life with Horses, it’s beyond words to tell those who have never experienced this bond and I feel sad that so many don’t know the Majic they posess and I would want the same thing if it was my time, wheel me out to the Barn and let me leave this world surrounded by some of God’s best creations, I would go with a filled heart and a free Soul.

    God bless those who gave him this gift, you will never know how special these bonds are until you’ve shared your life with Horses, I can’t imagine not having them in my life.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have loved horses since seeing them in pastures in Iowa as a young girl. I hounded my parents continually and after seeing a beautiful grey Arabian (I don’t even know how I found out who the owners of that horse were and what kind of horse he was), I kept after my parents for an Arabian. My mother got Arthiritus so bad that she couldn’t use her hands or walk normally. I never got a horse until we moved to Florida and he was an ex cow pony. He taught me to ride and I never fully forgave my dad when he said we’re moving to Arizona to give mother better weather, which didn’t help, and then a move to California, which again didn’t help and I never got a horse again. After having a breast tumor removed in 2005, I wanted to give back and saw this gorgeous, grey Arabian on the internet. Now knowing where he was I found out the sanctuary was 140 plus miles away from my home. I called and asked if I could visit. There was a beautiful former breed and show horse with a hock injury. Every Friday off I’d go out, come home at night, and drive back out again on Saturday, and every other day I could, even being there after all employees had left and the owner gone. I wanted to adopt him and his companion if I could find a place where I could have them after retirement. Believe it or not, he believed and understood everything I said to him. I have a witness to an occasion of him understanding an replying to what I had asked. One month later I received word that after I had visited him that weekend he had a heart attack, and that night I woke up with a start never knowing why. That was in 2010 and I will never forget him, he is on my cell phone, my computer screen and still in my heart. I’m still working at 75 year old full time to support five horses I have rescued, one donkey, and one pony mule. Still I can’t forget my first love, and one that stayed with me when filling up his barrel with water, crying because of a take over of the sanctuary by crooks wanting the land and this Arabian that would drink and walk away never did. He comforted me and I would love to know what happened to him and get him. They are extrodinary animals that we have been given and I spent an entire Christmas day prior to these criminals taking over that sanctuary when I got a feeling the owner and I needed to go to the ranch after she was going to spend to holiday with me. We found them not having been fed, 98% OF THEIR WATER BARRELS EMPTY, and the few having water, it was green or dirty. We got help from someone she knew, I bleached and refilled all barrels, and we left at 10:30 that night, finishing up by light by a flashlight. That was the best Christmas I ever had. I would love to have the horse that comforted met that day. I still hope to retire at some time and spend my days with my beautiful animals. They are our Gifts from God, and its unfortunate we have so many bad people trying to exterminate them from our ranges and taking them so killer buyers can acquire them. May these people know hell on earth and bad Karma beyond Hell. These are ext0adinary animals and anyone having them are so fortunate. May this man’s family know he was a hero and his horses knew they were so lucky to have been cared for by him and will miss him dearly and remember him always and will look forward to seeing him again.


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