Blue Star Equiculture Inc. (BSEI) received a phone call in September of 2014 about a blind horse named Willow. Willow, along with another horse, had belonged to an elderly man who could no longer care for her. His family had found a home for Willow’s companion, but because of her blindness Willow was going to be sent to slaughter. Acting immediately to save Willow, BSEI committed to her care and rescued her.
Once in their care, BSEI took Willow to a specialist who confirmed she was completely blind due to the neglect of an infection called equine recurrent uveitis (ERU). Her eyes had four times the pressure of a normal horse causing her pain and ulcers. Because Willows condition could not be reversed, it was recommended to surgically remove both eyes. BSEI wrote to ISF, “Willow is the most gentle, kind, brave horse. She gets around very well on her own and is independent. She is so worth saving, as she has many lessons to teach our children on the farm. The young barn girls that volunteer love Willow and have taken her under their wing, as have all the volunteers. She has fallen in love with Jasper, a 27 yr. old who came in a few days after her. He helps her get around. The vet said after her surgery to remove both eyes, she will be pain free. We want that for her.” ISF wanted this for Willow as well and decided to help BSEI achieve their goal with a Medical Emergency Grant.
Willow had surgery to remove both of her eyes. Without the pain she had endured for years, Willow calmed and began to truly enjoy life. Shelly, the volunteer with BSEI who had applied for the ISF Medical Emergency Grant for Willow, wrote ISF to say “Willow has found a forever home and that is with me! I have been with her every step of the way and have fallen in love with her so she will be coming home with me.” At the end of November 2014 Willow went to live with Shelly and her miniature horse. She has continued to heal and has made a mental map of her area so she is able to get around nicely. Shelly has installed a live video stream so she can monitor Willow at any time, even when she is working. She wrote to ISF to say “Willow is doing awesome! I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the grant. I love her to death!”
January 2015: Willow's family sent us these updated photos:
Written by Veronica Hampton