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

Six Fort St. James students awarded scholarships for post-secondary education

Indigenous students awarded to further their studies

Coastal GasLink gets interim injunction against Unist’ot’en

The LNG pipeline company can start work Monday with enforcement approved by court.

Editorial: Go out and play

How much is too much screen time?

Fort St. James businesses get into the Christmas spirit with decorating contest

Northland Automotive Ltd. won first place in Fort St. James Chamber of… Continue reading

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Microscopic parasite found in Prince Rupert water affecting thousands

More than 12,000 residents affected by the boil water advisory issued Dec. 14

Trudeau lashes out at Conservatives over migration “misinformation”

Warning against the “dangers of populism,” Trudeau says using immigration as a wedge political issue puts Canada’s future at risk.

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

Todd Hickling gathered donations and used gear to remove the cost barrier for kids to play hockey.

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035

B.C. VIEWS: Andrew Wilkinson on taxes, ICBC and union changes

Opposition leader sees unpredictable year ahead in 2019

5 tips for self-care, mental wellness this holiday season

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions urging British Columbians to prioritize self care through festive season

Rescued B.C. cat with misshapen legs in need of forever home – with carpet

Mirielle was born with misshapen back legs and after a tough life on the streets, is looking for a forever home.

Most Read