Horse badly burned in Cottonwood Fire making 'miraculous' recovery

Together with friends and family, Taylor Bartley has been working diligently for about a month to bring a horse back from the brink of death. "The Boss," as he's called, has made considerable progress from burns suffered from a wind-driven grass fire in early October in south Bakersfield, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

WARNING: Portions of the attached video contain graphic images.


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) -- Taylor Bartley knew she was taking on a battle she likely wouldn't win when she agreed to take care of a horse that was badly burned in the Cottonwood Fire. Animal lovers likely would not have faulted her for euthanizing "The Boss," a 4-year-old stallion with third-degree burns.

But it wasn't her decision to make. His owner didn't want to put him down but didn't have the means to provide proper care. So, Bartley did what she could to alleviate his suffering.

Day-by-day, she and friend Ira Master administered antibiotics and applied burn cream, watching as the horse's damaged skin sloughed off and new skin and hair began to grow.

The Boss may never make a complete recovery. He will likely lose his left eye and won't be rideable, but he's making steady progress. He's gaining weight, walking and taking notice of the mares in his stable.

Because most horses with similar injuries are euthanized, Bartley and Master are entering uncharted territory. They remain hopeful and he continues to impress.

If you would like to contribute to the horses' care, you can contact the Bakersfield Veterinary Hospital's large animal services department at (661) 832-1150. You may also contribute to the nonprofit Pet MatchMaker Rescue. In either case, be sure to mention "The Boss."

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