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

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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

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

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

Just Posted

Two of the weapons seized in a Nov. 8 traffic stop in Black Creek. Photo supplied by RCMP
RCMP seize guns, drugs in Black Creek traffic stop

Two arrested in connection with incident

Canadian Tire Courtenay’s Owner Bert Heeringa and General Manager Keith Pistell displaying the donated sanitizer. Photo supplied.
Courtenay Canadian Tire donates 2,400 litres of hand sanitizer to local not-for-profits

Organizations can request sanitizer via the Comox Valley Community Foundation

Christmas will look a bit different in Cumberland this year, not only because of COVID restrictions but due to changes from BC Hydro about hanging decorations on the poles. Record file photo
Snowflakes a no-go for Cumberland’s power poles

Village, business association looking to promote shopping local for holidays

The Trenton Golden Hawks are changing their name and uniform for one game on Nov. 27 as they become the Trenton Snowbirds for one game to honour Capt. Jennifer Casey. Twitter photo
Hockey team honouring fallen Snowbird with Comox Valley connection

The Trenton Golden Hawks will become the Trenton Snowbirds for one game

A late-blooming Welsh poppy gave the Cox garden some unexpected colour last month. Photo by Leslie Cox
DUCHESS OF DIRT: La Nina signs not necessarily steeped in science

LESLIE COX Special to The Record I am beginning to think climate… Continue reading

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

3L Developments president Dave Dutcyvich is pictured during a 2018 meeting at the regional district boardroom. File photo
Denied developer prefers not to log Comox Valley land: Planner

At its inaugural meeting Tuesday, the Comox Valley Regional District board refused… Continue reading

(File photo)
Alberta woman charged after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at Okanagan campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. woman loses appeal to have second child by using late husband’s sperm

Assisted Human Reproduction Act prohibits the removal of human reproductive material from a donor without consent

Krista Macinnis displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
B.C. mom angry that students asked to list positive stories about residential schools

Daughter’s Grade 6 class asked to write down 5 positive stories or facts

B.C. projects targeting the restoration of sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser and Columbia Watersheds will share in $10.9 million of federal funding to protect species at risk. (Kenny Regan photo)
13 projects protecting B.C. aquatic species at risk receive $11 million in federal funding

Salmon and marine mammals expected to benefit from ecosystem-based approach

Most Read