Prosthetic Eye Gives Horse a Shot at Show Career

A miniature horse has been given a second chance for a career as a show horse--thanks to a prosthetic eye. The 65-pound horse, named KBuck, was born June 1 at Lil Chums Miniature Horse Farm in Lawton, Okla., and lost its eye a few days after birth. Owner Kelsey Chumbley, 12, said she suspects the young horse was the victim of a swift kick from its mother.

Prosthetic eye
KBuck with prosthetic

Top: The prosthetic eye intended for KBuck. Bottom: KBuck after the prosthetic eye was fitted.

"We thought he was going to end up being a backyard pet" instead of a show horse, Kelsey said. "When we found out he had a second chance I was really excited for him."

Veterinarian Jeff Hammond of Marlow tried in June to save the young horse's eye. When it became evident the surgery didn't work, Hammond suggested the cosmetic alternative.

KBuck's prosthetic eye was handcrafted by designers at La Fuente Ocular Prosthetics in Oklahoma City.

The eye was fashioned with a mold of KBuck's hollow eye socket and constructed with hard acrylic plastic, said Brandon La Fuente. It was hand-painted to look exactly like the horse's real eye, complete with deep blue features and tiny red veins.

KBuck's eye cost about $3,000, but his worth might exceed the investment if his show career takes off. Kelsey Chumbley said there are no rules against showing a horse with a prosthetic eye, and it's unlikely judges will be able to tell it's fake.

Hammond said adjusting to a prosthetic eye shouldn't be a hardship for the horse because he was so young when he lost it.

"Having one eye hasn't affected him a bit--he's a spitfire," Hammond said.

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The Associated Press

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