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Horse with Artificial Limb

By Dr. Andrew Jones

Midnite takes a few tentative steps and then breaks into a joyous gallop, weaving among the other once-neglected creatures at Ranch Hand Rescue, a nonprofit sanctuary started by Williams for special-needs animals.

ProsthetiCare of Fort Worth, Texas, designed and donated the $14,000 artificial limb.

Midnite’s first stop on his road to recovery was at the Humane Society of North Texas after a Johnson County sheriff’s deputy seized the horse from a family who said they could not afford to care for him, said Sandy Grambort, the agency’s equine and livestock coordinator. The owners said the horse had injured his leg, but veterinarians think he was probably born with a deformity, she said. “He was miserable and extremely depressed. He was standing all the time because he had such a hard time getting up when he laid down,” said Grambort, so she called Williams.

Soft-Ride Equine Comfort Boots, a small San Antonio company, helped by donating one of its padded horse orthotics normally used when hauling an animal, Grambort said.

Williams said he took the idea to the next step after he saw a TV show about fitting a baby with an artificial limb.

He called ProsthetiCare. Lane Farr initially thought it was a crank call.

But then he became intrigued.

“It was a huge challenge. A human patient can give you feedback, but with a horse, you’ve got to get it right. I think God had a little hand in it,” said Farr, director of operations for the company, which was founded in 1992 by owner Tim Goldberg, who lost a leg in a rock-climbing accident.

Farr, a former University of Oklahoma football player whose father was an amputee, studied videos on horse mechanics and came up with a two-piece clamshell device with gel cushioning that fastens together with Velcro straps. It has a rolled rubber “hoof” so Midnite can keep his gait, Farr said.

At the second fitting of the prosthesis March 22, Midnite accepted it like a horse that was born to run.

“We just planned on him being able to walk, and he took off as soon as he realized it was there. It was almost like he was thanking us,” he said.

“I had no idea it would blow up the way it did. I had a friend in Manchester, England, and he saw it on the BBC. We were just donating to a great cause. We didn’t do it for publicity.”

But the horse world has taken notice.

“I’ve gotten five calls from horse lovers with injured animals. Usually when a horse goes lame, they have to put it down, and this might help save some of them,” Farr said

Ranch Hand Rescue specializes in abused, abandoned and neglected animals, and the sanctuary houses about 70 animals that include four other miniature horses, potbellied pigs, chickens, ducks, turtles, sheep and goats.

Most were seized by law enforcement agencies from neglectful owners.

Midnite’s “miracle” will surely help the cause, Schroetke said.

“It’s like he knows he has a mission,” she said.

“He’s going to be a great ambassador.”


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Topics: Pet health | 9 Comments »

9 Responses to “Horse with Artificial Limb”

  1. Avatar Leslie Says:
    April 8th, 2011 at 5:25 am

    Wonderful! It is so inspiring to know that there are people who will go to great lengths to help animals. Thank you for posting it.

  2. Avatar Diane Says:
    April 8th, 2011 at 7:24 am

    How wonderful to see him be able to run and play and have a good life now! And I agree, it is such a blessing to know that people can put their ingenuity and skills to use to help people and animals this way. Definitely a day brightener!

  3. Avatar Maria Says:
    April 8th, 2011 at 9:06 am

    I was happy to watch the video and see how the people help those poor animals, it’s a great success. I want to thank them and wish them best in their work!

  4. Avatar Maria Tereza Murray Says:
    April 8th, 2011 at 9:18 am

    This is a wonderful story.
    It tells about the love some people dedicate to animals that strongly deserve the best.
    I can´t think that there are persons who don´t like them and even mistreat them.
    They are the best buddies we can have.

  5. Avatar AJ Says:
    April 8th, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    Thank you for posting this wonderful feel good story. I only wish they would really punish those who mistreat animals and enforce the laws we do have to the full extent. Why is mistreating an animal any different than mistreating a person? It should never be tolerated and when some laws are enforced or pass laws that have teeth in them maybe it would help decrease awfull abuse so many endure.Animals are sentient beings like all of us just a different container!They deserve equal rights and protections.

  6. Avatar Billie - Mary M Boyce Says:
    April 8th, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    What a fantastic story, and it just goes to show that animals just like we humans can do and master anything obsticals in life, further more the love of the owner was something along with the horse’s magnificent recovery that touched my heart, this owner goes straight to my heart too for the love and faith in showed and believed in with his animal. God Bless him.,

  7. Avatar Billie - Mary M Boyce Says:
    April 8th, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Billie again – sorry got carried away typing the above with the grammer, so excuse misused words, but again well done Horse and Man.

  8. Avatar danielle Says:
    April 9th, 2011 at 2:27 am

    that is sssooo cool now they can helpn horse’s that need it but i am sure it is not chep

  9. Avatar Michael Reiland Says:
    May 1st, 2011 at 10:39 am

    I admire people that can take a can’t and turn it into can. with all my mini horses(27) I always fear leg injuries worse of all. so glad to see this approach has worked. Good Job.


Dr. Andrew Jones, DVM