Helping Horses Heal

Donations needed to help horses badly burned in Cottonwood fire

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - It has been one month now since fire erupted on Cottonwood road in south Bakersfield.

More than 200 were acres blackened by that fast moving fire, which also killed nearly 30 horses and countless other animals. 

Healing continues for two horses badly burned and now in the care of kind people who want nothing more than to help. 

"I started off just wanting to make sure that everybody was ok.  I mean all of their food was burned, how are you going to feed your horses," said Taylor Bartley. 

However, 23-year-old Taylor Bartley soon realized...

"Nobody was really helping them," Bartley said. 

Including the owner of a young stallion burned badly in the fire. 

"I had never seen anything like this," Bartley said. 

With more than 75% of his body burned and a rough, long and expensive road to recovery ahead, Bartley took the horse in.

"He was certainly not in the greatest of condition.  He wanted to eat, he wanted to drink, he kind of wanted to survive this.  When you come across something that is fighting you know you're almost inspired to help and help their fight," Bartley said. 

His will to live through the pain and allow Bartley to tend to his burns also inspired his name. 

"He was kind of the boss around here.  It was his rules and his world and we were just kind of walking in it," Bartley said. 

The Boss isn't the only horse Bartley helped.

The restaurant waitress helped provide feed for 30 other horses, coordinating care, new homes and fundraising for them. 

Horse like Rias, a pregnant mare also burned in the fire. 

"She definitely wants to get better.  She loves her food.  She's a very kind and gentle horse and I just feel like she really has a desire to live and especially because she's pregnant," said Eileen Munoz. 

Eileen Munoz took Rias in after the fire. 

Although she is not as badly burned as The Boss, it is still an expensive endeavor to care for her.

Not only is she eating for two, but she's eating to heal. 

"The vet told is when horses are recovering from burns they have to have a lot of nutrition because it burns so many calories," Munoz said.

Although the two horses are eating their kind caregivers out of house and home, it's not stopping the women. 

"As you work with a horse everyday you kind of get emotionally invested in them and you want the best for them," Munoz said. 

Bartley and Munoz now own the horses. 

The previous owners signed them over to the women because they could not afford or provide proper care. 

There is a fundraising effort through Pet Matchmaker to help pay for feed and medicine as The Boss and Rias heal. 

Donations can be made here:

If you'd like to donate alfalfa or super fine shavings, send Tabatha Mills and email at 

Bakersfield Large Animal Veterinary Hospital is also accepting payments toward vet bills for the horses, just ask to make a payment for the horses injured in the Cottonwood fire. 

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