Kayla Bendickson and her horse, Curly, share a special bond. Curly, who was Bendickson’s high school rodeo horse, went blind in 2016, however, Kayla and her mom, Twyla Bendickson, have remarkably barrel raced the horse following its affliction. Bella Johnson photo

Sightless barrel racing horse Curly amazes owners

Curly has a special place in the hearts of her owners

Curly has a special place in the hearts of her owners.

A 27-year-old Bashkir Curly, Appaloosa horse, Kayla Bendickson purchased him in 2015 to use as her high school rodeo horse. She said he was great at roping, goat tying, pole bending and barrel racing.

“I won a lot of events on him, and won my first buckle with him,” said Kayla, a Grade 12 student at Lake City Secondary School in Williams Lake.

“But I started noticing down at a barrel race in 100 Mile House he ran me into a barrel the first day, then the second day he ran me into two barrels — both on his right side.”

Kayla and her mom, Twyla, took Curly to see a veterinarian in 2016 where it was confirmed their suspicion that Curly was, in fact, going blind.

Despite advice to retire Curly, Kayla continued to barrel race with him.

“He’d been doing it his whole life, and he knew what he was supposed to do,” Kayla said.

After taking a spill on a different horse, and being knocked unconscious, receiving a concussion and subsequent seizure, Kayla said it was Curly who helped nurse her back to health and give her the confidence to compete again.

“He did so much for me,” she said. “He really boosted my confidence back up. I’d been out for six weeks but he helped me out a lot. I just got on him and started riding a lot again, and then I was able to ride a faster horse from there. I’m just really grateful for having him.”

Twyla said it was amazing to watch the bond shared between the two while Kayla was recovering from her concussion.

“If she was off balance he would scoop her up, things like that. They just both love each other.”

READ MORE: Stampede Warm Up action hits lakecity

Later, in 2017, when Twyla was competing at the Stampede Warm Up Barrel Racing event in Williams Lake, her horse came up lame.

“I needed a horse,” she said.

“Kayla said: ‘Why not take Curly?’”

That was in June 0f 2017.

“I just thought he’s done it his whole life, he’s 27, why not?” Twyla said.

Twyla went on to successfully barrel race Curly that weekend.

“It was just a really cool feeling to know he could do it,” she said.

“To see he could do it, and to know that he trusts you that much to race was amazing. A lot of people, before this, were telling us to put him down, but we couldn’t do that. He’s healthy, and he took care of Kayla when she had her concussion, so he deserves a good life.”

READ MORE: Barrel racing provincials a success

Curly still lives happily at Kayla and Twyla’s home in Miocene, east of Williams Lake, alongside his best pal, Fritz — another horse the family owns — and doesn’t have much of a hard time getting around the property.

“He doesn’t really run into anything,” Kayla said.

“He uses his whiskers to feel around before he gets to a fence or around a tree. We put his hay in the same spot. We have a feeder with big hay bales around it, and he’s been in the same field since we got him, so he knows where to go.”

Twyla said Curly still gets out on regular trail rides, and is just an amazing horse to have around.

“He’s just a really cool guy,” she said.

“Just to see his willingness to adapt, and how he still runs out in the field, is pretty incredible.”



sports@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Twyla Bendickson barrel races on Curly during the 2017 Stampede Warm Up Barrel Racing event in Williams Lake. Bella Johnson photo

Just Posted

Broken axle caused New Hazelton train derailment: TSB

It could happen again without a different way to inspect trains

Cullen remains uncertain about political future

Says he’ll make decision in early March

Spring fishery closures mulled for south coast

Fewer fish are returning to rivers and more conservation needed, say feds

Terrace resident’s bill banning single-use plastics introduced in Ottawa

MP Nathan Cullen’s presented Ben Korving’s private member’s bill Wednesday

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Skier dies at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Cause of death for young man has not been released

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

More sailings coming to 10 BC Ferries’ routes

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said the sailings were originally cut in 2014

Cryptocurrency exchange CEO who suddenly died leaves Kelowna house in will

Gerald Cotten, holding the keys to money tied up in his virtual currency exchange, died in December.

Regulator’s report, coming today, unlikely to settle Trans Mountain pipeline battle

The Trans Mountain pipeline will remain a controversial topic both in the political ring and out

Most Read