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

Bev Playfair is running for mayor

Playfair wants to focus on health care, education and supporting local industry and businesses

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

District counicllor Brenda Gouglas is running for mayor

Gouglas has served 10 years as a councillor, and wants continuity for the incoming council

Russel Gingrich is running for mayor

Gingrich has served nine years on council previously, four of them as mayor

Jennifer Howell is running for district council

Howell wants to give Fort St. James residents a voice on district council

VIDEO: How to roll a joint

The cannabis connoisseur shares his secrets to rolling the perfect joint

Boeser tallies in OT as Canucks beat Penguins 3-2

Vancouver wins without star rookie Pettersson

Mayor of Kamloops says ‘history has been made’ with vote on B.C.’s lone pot shop

The store to be run by the province in B.C.’s Interior is opening Wednesday as pot sales become legal across Canada

New bus route to ‘replace’ Greyhound along Trans-Canada Highway

Rider Express Transportation says they will soon begin a bus service from Winnipeg to Vancouver

U.S. pot firm urges Trump to deny Canadian producers ‘competitive advantage’

The challenge for U.S. firms lies in the fact that while recreational cannabis is legal in nine states and medicinal pot in 22 others, it remains illegal under federal law

Government says imprisoned Canadian terror suspects must face consequences

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale showed little sympathy Tuesday for such individuals who now want to return to Canada

How rules for inmate segregation in Canada will change under Bill C-83

Federal government proposing changes to rules around inmates in federal correctional institutions

Canada Post union issues strike notice; rotating strikes could begin Monday

Union says rotating strikes will begin if agreements aren’t reached with bargaining units

Carole James avoids questions on B.C.’s payroll tax (with video)

Green MLA Adam Olsen cites huge tax increase for local business

Most Read