- Pets and Animals
A Miracle for Midnite: the little horse with a prosthetic leg
Midnite the miniature horse gets a second chance at life with an artificial leg.
When Bob WIlliams first saw the little black horse, he couldn't imagine a sadder situation. "And we get the worst of the worst," said Williams, who runs Ranch Hand Rescue, a farm animal rescue and rehabilitation center in Argyle, Texas.
The little horse was malnourished and miserable. Midnite had been neglected by his owners. To make matters worse, Midnite was born with a deformity in one of his back legs. The deformed leg is much shorter than the other three and does not have a hoof or a coffin bone.
Midnite could scarcely walk at all. Lying down was a problem also, because a horse needs four good legs in order to stand back up from a prone position. Midnite spent most of his days standing in one place, shifting his weight from one of his three good legs to another, and trying to avoid walking or moving.
Midnite's deformity, combined with his malnourishment and neglect, left him confined to one spot, depressed and with a broken spirit. Williams, an animal lover to the core, feared he'd have to put Midnite down.
ProsthetiCare steps in to make a miracle happen for Midnite
Little did Williams or Midnite know, some kind-hearted strangers were about to step in with a miracle for Midnite. Lane Farr, a prosthesis technician at ProsthetiCare in nearby Fort Worth, Texas, had heard of Midnite's plight. Although ProsthetiCare is a business dedicated to designing, manufacturing and fitting prosthetic limbs on humans, Farr had a hunch he could help the little horse. He approached Tim and Sharon Goldberg, the husband-wife team who owns ProsthetiCare, about taking Midnite on as a charity case.
ProsthetiCare is a small, family-owned business with only eight employees. Devout Christians, the Goldbergs make a point of taking on charity cases and are happy to do so. However, they must pick and choose their pro bono work carefully in order to keep their bottom line in the black. "We had to make sure that we could afford it," said Sharon Goldberg. "There was also the fact that we had never made a prosthesis for a horse before," added Tim Goldberg. Fitting animals with artificial limbs is an extremely new field. It has been attempted only a few times and has not always met with success.
The Goldbergs decided to take a chance on Midnite and Farr. Farr delved into a comprehensive study of equine anatomy and began designing an artificial leg for the horse, while Williams and Ranch Hand Rescue fed and cared for Midnite, giving him plenty of nutritious food, love and attention, bringing him up to his proper strength and weight.
As expected, Farr found that designing an artificial leg for a horse was a process of trial and error. He designed a prototype, fit it to Midnight, then tweaked it to fit more accurately. When he brought the prosthesis to Ranch Hand Rescue for only the second fitting, he and Williams decided to allow Midnite to attempt to walk with it, which was something they had not attempted at the first fitting. They were simply hoping Midnite would hobble around a bit to show them what improvements and adjustments still needed to be made to the horse's prosthesis.
Midnite's Happy Ending
What happened next far exceeded Williams' and Farr's expectations. They had hoped that at best Midnight would take a few steps, but instead he took to the new leg immediately and began joyfully running about. It was captured on video (see videos below) and is guaranteed to bring a tear to even the coldest person's eyes. As the little horse that was once considered a lost cause began frolicking about, you can hear the emotion in Bob Williams' voice as he says "Look at him! Oh Midnite, look at him go!" and "Look at him go! Oh God, it's just amazing!"
You could say that Midnite got his happy ending. However, his story is far from over. Midnite is now an international celebrity who has been featured in news reports and TV shows around the world. He is a permanent resident of the Ranch Hand Rescue facility, where he is doted on and treated as the special little pet that he is. Visitors come from far and wide to tour the facility and meet Midnite. Midnite also makes special trips to call on disabled children in the area. For example, this summer he was an honored guest at the Scottish Rite Children's Hospital summer camp, a camp for children with physical disabilities and other medical needs. Midnite has become the special friend of many physically disabled children, disabled veterans and amputees, who he inspires with his charm and spirit.
MORE PHOTOS AFTER THE VIDEOS, BELOW.
Help Out, Donate or Learn More
Ranch Hand Rescue provides housing, food and medical care to farm and ranch animals suffering from neglect and starvation. At any given time they care for around 100 animals, including horses, cows, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, turkey and ducks. They are in need of monetary donations, in-kind donations, volunteers, foster families and adoptive families. Ranch Hand Rescue is a registered 501C3 public charity. Donations are tax deductible. To see some heartwarming before and after photos of rescued animals, learn more about Ranch Hand Rescue, donate to these kind-hearted folks or schedule a tour of the facility, visit www.ranchhandrescue.org.