Bella Boren
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Bella Boren & OHS Flash Me Splashy prove trust conquers all

Riding a horse is one of the most apparent displays of teamwork there is, relying wholly on trust, respect and effective communication between horse and rider—a partnership that becomes even more essential when the horse you’re riding is partially blind.

Bella Boren of Venus, Texas, and OHS Flash Me Splashy have been partners for just over three years. However, when Splashy, a 2001 sorrel overo mare, went blind in her right eye, many wondered if the relationship between the 12-year-old cowgirl and already-quirky mare could safely continue.

“When Amy asked me about her riding [“Splashy”], I said no,” said Brandy Boren, Bella’s mother. “Those first two weeks we were all wondering, ‘How is this going to work?’ because on the ground Splashy was already very jumpy and skittish.”

But the young cowgirl was unwilling to give up on Splashy. Through hard work and perseverance, the pair adapted to the mare’s vision loss. They came back stronger than ever to compete in Youth speed events at the 2023 APHA World Show.

“She trusts Bella to guide her, and they work together as a team,” said Brandy. “They completely trust each other, and that’s the only way this worked out.”

Together, Bella and Splashy were world champions in the Youth Stake Race, reserve world champions in Youth Pole Bending 18 & Under and bronze world champions in Youth Barrel Racing 13 & Under.

“She’s done everything for me,” said Bella tearfully. “She’s just done so much for me, and I don’t think I’d ever be here without her.”

—Julie Papaj


[Reprinting all or part of this news release is permitted, so long as credit is given to the Paint Horse Journal and a link provided back to]


About APHA

The American Paint Horse Association is the world’s second-largest international equine breed association, registering more than a million horses in 59 nations and territories since it was founded in 1962. APHA promotes, preserves and provides meaningful experiences with Paint Horses.