Blind Horse Competes and Wins in Barrel Racing
 By Southern Devil   •   27th May 2012   •   6,884 views   •   22 comments
A Tribute to MistyAs many of you know, I began seriously running barrels on my brother’s Paint horse. Two Eyed Roper, or known to everyone as Bailey. To us, he has about as much heart as Secretariat. Anyways, Bailey is known around here as the champ. Everyone in my county knows who I am mainly because of him. (And a few other horses who helped me work my way up to him) Bailey was my first real barrel horse. He defeated the best of the best. Even though I show only local, there are many NBHA champions who compete here. I remember people putting offers on that horse asking us if he was for sale. Of course me or my mother would smile sweetly and reply, “No, he will never be for sale.”

A few years ago before I started showing horses, Lizz’s (My sister by everything but blood) father clocked Bailey as him and my brother raced down the road. He clocked him going 39 mph. Cole was holding him back. He knew if he let him out, they might never stop or Bailey would run until his heart burst. Now, I don’t want to hear nothing about how that horse couldn’t run that fast. Anything is possible. Bailey is living proof of it. Bailey has more heart than most horses put together. As did Secretariat.

Bailey and myself got along well, but we didn’t “click” as well as I wished we would. My mother didn’t “click” very well with him either. Don’t get me wrong, Bailey rode wonderful for both of us, but we weren’t his favorite. Bailey’s favorite was none other than my brother Cole. Him and Cole were best friends. Cole could put his arms around his head and Bailey would lift him a few feet off the ground.

Unfortunately, Cole no longer rides Bailey. Leaving that responsibility to me and my wonderful mother, but I will tell you one thing.

Bailey loves to run. He loves it!

We have never let him out. Every time we asked for more speed he gave it. He always had another gear. Cole was the one that taught that horse he could run his heart out. Bailey loved it when Cole rode him. He actually got a little too excited. Within five minutes of Cole getting on, Bailey would have foam streaming down his chest and legs. He still loves to run, he has slowed down a little, but not much. Well, I’ve told you all you need to know about Bailey, let’s go on to what ended his career that he enjoyed so much.

August 22 2011
I believe this was the exact date. Anyways, what I didn’t know was that my life would be changed forever. It was a typical Monday. I got up, got ready for school. Around 11am, I got a little worried. My mother had been up at the barn for a few hours. I figured she was just cleaning the pasture and it was taking a little longer. I heard the back door slam shut. I ran to the kitchen and my mother stormed through. Her face was white and she looked like she was about to cry. I said slowly and cautiously, “What happened Mama? Is something wrong?” She turned and looked at me and said in a small shaky voice. “Bailey’s blind.” I felt the blood drain from my face. I knew this ws serious and she wasn’t joking. My mother isn’t the type to get upset. I’ve seen her cry once or twice. And that was when she was furious. Anyways, she had me go up there with an ice pack and ice his head. I didn’t think it was that bad. I walked up there praying to God that it wasn’t that bad, but it was worse than I could have ever imagined.

There was a large knot on the side of his head the size of a grapefruit. I iced it for about forty-five minutes. I started crying. I lost it. I’m like my mother, I don’t cry except for extreme occasions. I walked away, dropped to my knees and prayed to God to let me wake up from this terrible nightmare. I never woke up. My mother had the vet come out immediately. He looked at it carefully and declared that Bailey was blind in his left eye. We assumed that since Bailey was being pastured with Twinkles, (My old Morab mare) he got kicked by her. The vet looked at us solemnly. “No,” he replied, “even if he had held his head down and told that mare to kick him, there’s no way she could have gotten him at that angle to inflict that type of damage.” My mother and I looked at each other, both shocked. We asked him nervously. “Will he ever regain his sight in that left eye?” The vet replied, “Whatever vision he has in two weeks, that’s what he will have for the rest of his life.” We were heartbroken.

Those were the longest two weeks of my life. I prayed every night, several times a day that he would regain full vision. At the end of the two weeks, he was still blind. We knew that his career as a barrel horse was over. You may be thinking, “Well, I see blind horses barrel race all the time. Why couldn’t Bailey race?” You have to understand, this wasn’t just blindness, that was a severe blow to his head. It messed his brain up. It was a severe head injury that messed with his train of thought. I knew that if I worked with him, he could run again. Mother forbid I rode or even fooled around in the pasture with him. So Bailey sat in the pasture for a month without being touched. Then my mother finally took him on a trail ride with me. He did wonderful. We borrowed a horse (Sheila) from a local church camp that ran NBHA in her prime. She turned out to have some sort of old injury that prevented her from running well. She could have probably ran some nice times if we shot her up with some Bute. But why do that to a horse?

That month I ran Blackie, my old barrel pony. She kept up with the NBHA runners well but didn’t win. She placed second about every run, but I needed to win in order to keep my points. There was only one solution to this problem. Run a blind and possibly psycho horse and risk my life to win.

But how could I convince my mother into letting me run Bailey? I hinted about it over the weeks as they flew by, but she said nothing. On the way to drop Sheila off, she asked me. “Do you think you can run a blind horse?” I replied, “Mama, I’ve always been up for a challenge no matter how big. Of course I think I can.” She said, “Alright, well you might want to start working him a little bit and get used to him again.” Finally! I can run that champion once again. I barely rode him during those two weeks due to the fact that mother was the one who had to exercise him. But the few times I did ride him, it was like old times. On the way home his red mane was whipping against my face as he flew back to the timer. After each run, we would look at my mother for her approval. She would smile back and say “You were right. He was ready all along. He’s ready to run.”

When I woke up the morning of the show around, oh I don’t know, 4 am, I had only gotten two and a half hours of sleep that night. But I was wide awake. It was time everyone knew that Bailey’s career wasn't over. So I went and fed. Then spent a little time with Bailey. I sat on the rail of the round pen and talked to him as the sun rose over the horizon. He didn’t pay me any mind. I jumped down, held his head in my hands and brought it down so we could look eye to eye. I looked that big red horse in the eye and told him “Now you listen here. We’re going up to the show in a few hours, so what I want you to do is give me your heart. Put everything you've got into this one. This may be your last, so make it count.” He stayed eye level with me for a few more seconds, then snorted and went back to eating his hay. I knew he understood me this time. So when I got back down to the house, Mama was up and we hooked the trailer up and loaded the horses and headed off to what could have been my last show.

When we got there, pleasure was first. I did well, I won almost every class thanks to my team, Charlie and Twinkles. But you guys don’t want to hear about that stuff. Well when we could warm our running horses up, Bailey was hyped up and hot. This was one of the few shows I wore a helmet. (No lectures please!) He began rearing, crow hopping, and trying to get out from under me. I was getting flustered and embarrassed. Mother finally got on him but he wasn’t much better with her. She told me to ask Kasey, (A friend of mine who runs at the same places as me) if I could borrow a horse. I told her, “No. He came here to run. I’m not giving up that easy. Just let me run him on cones and see how he does.” She refused for a few minutes then gave in. His pattern was a little messy, but he ran with one ear up and one cocked back on me. He was ready, he just wanted to show off a little. So when I came out, I walked over to my mom and said. “I told you so!” She started laughing softly and said, “Yes, you did.” I ran him for the rest of the night and we came home with mainly firsts and as usual, he brought me home with a big paycheck in hand.

A Place For Us

Many of you are probably wondering why I said so many times that I risked my life on him. Mainly because I had to see for him and judge the distance for him. I risk my life every time I climb on that horse and any other horse. Yes, it wasn’t the smartest thing to do. But hey, I gotta die somehow. I’m gonna live life and take chances, that’s what life is all about. I ran Bailey at a show one month later in November. He came home winning four of five events. Then at the awards banquet I won two of the five events, second in two and third in one. All because of Bailey. The horse that refused to give up, that wouldn’t let go of first place without a fight, the horse that made me who I am. He was a champion in the making. Unfortunately his career had to end.

Many of you are probably wondering how he is.

He is wonderful!

We do have some problems with him though. Nothing big. He now acts like a three year old stallion. But nothing can change that except for time and patience. The head injury is what causes it and some other problems. Like him going blind at least once a month. I don't believe he is dangerous by any means. His little studdish ways are just him liking the mares more than geldings and being a bit of a bully. After putting him in with a real stud, he learned his manners. Again, he’s not a bad horse. He’s kind of like a person with a mental problem, you have to be cautious around him, that’s all. He is sound and sane. He is trail ridden and will possibly do a few shows this year and run to keep him happy. But he won’t be competing. I used to ask God why. If that hadn’t of happened then we wouldn’t have Leo, my new barrel horse. Everything happens for a reason. God always has a plan, and I’m a strong believer of that.
Horse News More PB Articles About:  Eye,
Horse News More In This Category:  Barrel Racing      Horse News More From This Author:  Southern Devil
Awesome!!! this was amazing to read!
  May 27, 2012  •  5,277 views
Wow that's amazing.
  May 27, 2012  •  5,276 views
Starlight Farm  
awwww great story!
  May 27, 2012  •  5,263 views
RoyalCrownEstates  MOD 
it was an amazing and touching story, thank you for sharing :)
  May 27, 2012  •  5,287 views
RoyalCrownEstates  MOD 
P.S.. I would also like to say, that we have to take some of the risk that come before us, and why ? we only live once, myswell make the best of it.
  May 27, 2012  •  5,287 views
Fantastic tale of you two! I really enjoyed reading it, thank you so much for sharing.
There really are some horses out there who will give it their all for what they love and for the people they love. They're the ones who go above and beyond and go down in history for it.
Again, thank you so much for sharing, it was a heart warming read :)
  May 28, 2012  •  5,281 views
Doodles Forever  
Such a great story!
  May 28, 2012  •  5,268 views
Let It Ride  
Very cool! The story was well written too)
  May 28, 2012  •  5,278 views
WOW. Congrats, that is... Just inspirational and amazing!
  May 28, 2012  •  5,289 views
Sapphire Flames  
wow, that's a great story! thanks for sharing,hun! :)
  May 28, 2012  •  5,251 views
Southern Devil  
Thanks for all your WONDERFUL comments guys! I'm so happy you all liked this so much! Since you guys seem to like my writing perhaps I'll begin regularly writing PB articles! :)
  May 28, 2012  •  5,277 views
An amazing and touching story. :)
  May 29, 2012  •  5,300 views
Gone forever BYE  
That was a very awesome story it almost made me cry i am glad that he did not give up though and he sounds like a very awesome horse
  May 29, 2012  •  5,249 views
Southern Devil  
I would like to point out also, that Bailey has regained his sight now. He has his blind days, but it's there most of the time. Sorry. Forgot to put that in. Stupid Devil *Face palm*
  May 29, 2012  •  5,277 views
Double Spur Ranch  
Sweet good job
  Jun 1, 2012  •  5,278 views
PonyBox  MOD 
Wow! That touched my heart!
  Jun 8, 2012  •  5,248 views
Inspiring... :')
  Jun 14, 2012  •  5,273 views
Summer Rain  
Great story.
  Jun 16, 2012  •  5,270 views
This was so well written, I cried. He has a lot of spirt. He is a loving soul. And wild at heart. Great job!:D
  Jun 18, 2012  •  5,282 views
Foxchase Farm  
Wow great story!
  Aug 5, 2012  •  5,320 views
Mandy Harrison  
Whit. He went blind due to cataracts after his last barrel race. He took 2nd overall. Thank you for this post. Ive been considering racing him again since I adopted him and you gave me hope in doing this!
  Jun 27, 2013  •  5,060 views
That was a awesome story, he is a beutiful horse, i am glad you gave him a chance, i always say that you need to give animals a chance just like you give humanes a chance and yes i beleive thag everything happens for a reason also.
  Jun 27, 2013  •  5,247 views
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