Blind horse, 25, still a champion for Conroe owner
CONROE, TX -- When Thomas Boyd of Conroe began looking for a horse to add to his family's stable a few years ago, he thought he found the perfect one on Craig's List.
Boyd, operations manager for City Glass in Cleveland, and his wife, Amber, drove from their home in Conroe to Alvin to inspect the horse they'd seen online.
What they found was an older, neglected animal that didn't look worth the money it would take to feed him.
"Nothing like the picture," said Boyd. "You could see every bone in his body. He was starving."
The owner was asking $800 for the horse, but Boyd said he didn't think the sickly animal was worth more than $200 or $300, if that much.
"I messed with him a little out in the pasture, and we walked back up to the truck and got ready to leave," said Boyd. "He ran over there by us and started braying."
The owner was amazed. She told Boyd it was the most action she'd seen out of the horse in a long time.
Still hesitant, Boyd gave $300 for the animal, took him home and named him Scooby Doo.
"It was probably a year I spent with him, every day, brushing him down, giving him baths, feeding him," said Boyd. "But I got him back to health."
The lady who sold the horse said he hadn't had much riding time, but Boyd said when he rode Scooby for the first time, it was magic.
"It was like riding a dream," he said.
Boyd began roping with Scooby a short while later and discovered the old horse loved it.
Even after Scooby lost his sight, the two were able to work together through spur and touch signals.
After participating in a "playday" (a family-oriented horse riding competition) three years ago as a practice horse for their daughter, Boyd said Scooby picked up barrel and pole racing like a natural, in spite of his blindness.
"Low and behold -- I brought him out here, he wants to run," said Boyd.
Completely blind and 25 years old, Scooby still loves to compete. He and Boyd are currently tied for first place in the Tarkington Prairie Playday Spring Buckle Series.
Held over a period of four weeks, the series includes pole, barrel and straight barrel races, as well as a "mystery" event.
TPPS coordinator Patty Vandver, who began TPPS with her husband, Bubba, said Scooby and Boyd are an inspiration to everyone.
"They are really something special," she said with a smile.
Boyd said he's tried to retire the horse, but every time the family gets ready to leave for a competition, Scooby runs to the fence,
"He's a warrior," Boyd chuckled. "He just doesn't want to stop."
Boyd said, if nothing else, he wants people to learn from his experience with Scooby.
"A lot of people give up on horses, just because of an injury or old age or no matter what it might be," he explained. "But an animal's not done `til they're done. You might not win all the races, but you need to let an animal do what they've got to do."
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