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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Back in the saddle

Photo by Photo by: Wesley Holmes
Julia Long

Just before barrel racer and animal science freshman Julia Long and her horse Fancy could compete in the first rodeo of the 2015 season, something spooked Fancy, causing her to hit her head on concrete by accident and tragically pass away.
After making the choice to donate Fancy’s body to the A&M vet school, Julia Long was left devastated and without a horse for the first time in quite awhile.
Julia Long has been around horses since she was 5 years old and has been involved in rodeo for six years. She worked at Sonic for three years in order to save up money to buy Fancy.
“She worked everyday of the week for that horse, she bought that horse on her own. Her parents did not fund her at all,” said Skyler Barba, a senior at Birdville High School, who has known Julia Long for five years through barrel racing.
Julia Long said she bought Fancy for a fraction of her worth and they soon became inseparable.
“Fancy knew how Julia was doing some days,” Barba said. “If Julia was having a bad day, she knew not to act up, she knew not to be bad. The relationship they had was unspeakable. I just got a new horse and I hope our relationship was like hers and Fancy’s. That horse was her whole world. She didn’t do sports, she didn’t do band, she didn’t do any other activities besides rodeo and that horse was her whole life.”
While it wasn’t the same without Fancy, Julia Long and her family decided to move on and continue competing. In an attempt to raise money for a new horse, her father Matt Long started a GoFundMe campaign. However, before reaching the goal the family received a message from Amber Addison Soval, who offered to donate her forse Foxy to Amber.
“Our GoFundMe has been shared 300-and-something times and so she somehow had visibility to that from Facebook and saw the story,” Matt Long said. “[Soval] sent me one email and asked me if Julia had a horse picked out, and I said no. Then she emailed me and said, ‘I just feel led to give my horse to her.’”
Julia Long said when she talked on the phone with Soval and heard the news, she started bawling.
“Honestly, it’s God’s work,” Julia Long said. “The lady that donated her to me told me that she just felt the Lord calling her to do this and that He is whom I should thank. I’ve definitely been blessed in my life, but never to this level.”
When she received Foxy, Julia Long said she knew training her was going to be a new challenge. After all, every horse is different.
“They all have different attitudes,” Julia Long said. “I had a horse before [Fancy] who was just a total deadbeat. He didn’t really care about anything. The thing I loved about [Fancy] so much was she just loved her job and loved to work.”
Julia Long said she hopes to be able to compete next year.
“Apparently [Foxy] has done barrels in the past, but I don’t really know anything about her so I just kind of have to figure her out,” Julia Long said. “I hope to be up and running again next season.”

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