The ability to overcome obstacles has always been at the heart of The People’s Horse project. When we started more than two years ago, traveling around on pick up trucks with our plastic horse to gather support for a collective foal, we knew that only an unshakeable belief in our long shot dream would push us forward. And now, with hundreds of members and a foal in the barn, that belief has evolved into reality. Together, we’ve proven that with grit, perseverance and a strong community, the impossible can be achieved.
The journey of The People's Horse has never been linear, and those forks in the road have become chapters in this ever evolving story. This week, our growing community faces another test, and perhaps the most challenging of all. We are saddened to report that sometime during the early morning hours of Monday May 14th, a most unfortunate accident transpired. We do not yet know the cause of this accident - and perhaps might never know - though we can report here and with a heavy heart that grazing in the pasture with her mother, The People’s Horse suffered a laceration to her right eye, and a cut so severe her eye had to be removed.
We spoke to Dr. Claire Latimer, the veterinary ophthalmologist that performed the emergency surgery on our foal late yesterday, and wanted to share an audio recording of our conversation with her to bring you up to speed on this unfortunate incident.
In the pastures, the strangest things can happen. Horses often step on each other. Rocks are kicked up. No matter. When the grooms went to fetch The People’s Horse and bring her back to her stall, they noticed her eye had been swollen shut. Within hours, the The People’s Horse was taken to Rood & Riddle, the equine hospital.
The foal was placed under sedatives. Dr. Latimer then inspected the laceration to determine its cause. A horse’s eye is a complicated and sensitive bundle, including the orbit of the eye, retina, a third eyelid, and other components that give horses their incredible sense of vision.
The laceration was extensive, Dr. Latimer concluded, and the possibility for our foal to recover any sense of vision or implementation of a prosthetic was unlikely. In the late afternoon, an emergency procedure was successfully conducted, and The People's Horse's right eye was removed.
The recovery process has now begun. As this update goes out, our foal is comfortably spending the night along side her mother Colerful Bride and under observation at Rood & Riddle. She is expected to return to Taylor Made Farm tomorrow and will soon enter and brave the pastures with a different view from when she left. Horses much like people who are faced with adversity or physical limitations have shown an amazing ability to adapt and ultimately thrive.
The loss of an eye, at the tender age of only 23 days, is not considered catastrophic for a racehorse. In the history of racing, many horses like Patch or Pollard’s Vision have gone on to win major races, and countless horses use blinkers that artificially limit a horse’s vision in races.
Still, it is undeniable this accident may make our quest to the racetrack more of a challenge, and one that we fully embrace. At this time, it’s critical that we harness the power of this incredible community that we’ve all built. Fueled by that unshakeable belief in the impossible dream that started us off, we must now rally behind our foal. As the old maxim in racing goes, “Never give up on your horse-because you’re horse will never give up on you.”
Our historic project continues, only with more determination and a greater mission. Our Summit will go on as scheduled, with deeper meaning and importance. We have a very special filly to be proud of. We all now have the chance to witness her overcome the challenges ahead and inspire us all. We thank you for your love, prayers, and belief in the dream of The People's Horse. We move forward together, stronger, determined.