Young horse in Dripping Springs needs life-saving surgery

Barbara the Horse (GoFundMe Page Photo)

DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas (KXAN) – A Dripping Springs family is hoping to raise enough money to get their horse a life-saving surgery.

Barbara the horse was born in January with a wry nose, a deformity that pulls her nose to the side making it difficult to breathe and even eat.

“The minute I saw her, I fell in love with her,” said Barbara’s owner Martha Talley. “I just can’t see killing something, you know?”

Some say working on a ranch teaches you more about the meaning of life than any class in school. “What lesson does it teach our children if we dispose of things because they are a little different?” asked Talley. “It’s costly to keep her alive, but it’s worth it.”

Talley’s raised many horses, but she says none have been as special as Barbara. “It’s a very rare defect, it’s not a hereditary thing, but a congenital thing,” said Talley. “She’ll have a full life, she can work cattle, she can do western pleasure, she can even have her own babies if she gets the surgery.”

Family fights to gather the funds to get Barbara the horse corrective surgery. (KXAN Photo)
Family fights to gather the funds to get Barbara the horse corrective surgery. (KXAN Photo)

The surgery will cost around $10,000 and has to be done in Tennessee. The family has started a Gofundme page to help get Barbara the help she needs. Since the story aired Friday evening, donations have more than doubled.

Until then, keeping her alive has become a 24-hour job. “She has already aspirated, and had a severe life threatening case of pneumonia,”  said Talley.

To help care for Barbara, a 12-year-old boy has stepped up to help. “I’ve always wanted to be a cowboy I guess,” said Barbara’s caretaker Shane Bookbinder.

Since day one, Bookbinder has been by Barbara’s side.

“I think she is the sweetest horse you could ever imagine,” said Bookbinder. “I feel like she is talking to me, but I don’t hear her verbally.”

Bookbinder has been helping to train the horse and mix her milk. But as much as Barbara depends on Shane, Shane depends on Barbara just as much.

“She’s a good friend, not just a good horse. There’s more things right about her than there is wrong. She’s just super nice and she’s never tried to bite or anything,” said Shane.

Perhaps those are some of the most valuable lessons for a 12-year-old boy taught by one unique horse. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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