Why I Cheered for Patch, the Horse With One Eye, at the Kentucky Derby


While the song may state “The sun shine’s bright in my Old Kentucky home,” the weather man predicted cloudy skies and the possibility of rain on Saturday, May 6, as the 143rd Kentucky Derby was run at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. I must admit, I’ve never been to the Derby or paid much attention to it. The news describes the “Run for the Roses” as the greatest two minutes in sports history. While other people are focused on betting and buying the perfect hat to wear, the Derby caught my attention this year for a different reason.

While scrolling through the news, I saw an article about Patch, a horse with one eye. Patch is the fourth horse with one eye to run in the Derby. He was described as being the underdog, but quickly became a fan favorite.

While some might see a horse with one eye running in a race such as the Derby as “unimportant” or “useless,” for me it’s worth cheering for. Living with chronic illnesses, there have been times in life that I’ve been viewed as “the underdog.” Since being diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome in my right leg, several people have made comments to the effect that I should be thankful I’m not a horse because horses with bad legs are put down. I’ve never liked that comment. I may have a weak and painful leg and there are things in life that I can’t do because of it, but there are other things I can do.

Just because Patch had inflammation and had to have an eye removed, it didn’t stop the horse from running. Patch may be considered disabled because he is lacking one eye and can’t see the way other horses do, but just as the news pointed out, that disability hasn’t sidelined the horse. Just because Patch lost an eye, trainers didn’t give up on the horse. In the same way, I’m thankful that I’ve not let pain, inflammation, and weakness cause me to give up my dreams of walking again someday and I’m thankful that my doctors and physical therapist haven’t given up on me either.

We live in a world where the underdog is often overlooked. I cheered for Patch because as a chronic illness warrior, I’m inspired by a horse with one eye running in the Kentucky Derby. I’m sure Patch, the trainer, and the rider had to make changes as they adapted to Patch only having one eye, but they haven’t given up. In my eyes, it would be wonderful if a horse with one eye won the derby, but even though Patch didn’t win the race on Saturday, Patch is a winner in my eyes. Go Patch! Go chronic illness warriors!

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Photo courtesy of Patch-horse Facebook page

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Woman lying in bed with opened eyes

A Day in My Life With Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

As we are frequently told “it’s all in your head” — OK, walk a day in my shoes. If someone broke their leg and it was in a cast, would you tell them that’s all in their head? Pain is invisible. You wake up in the morning and it hits you, the pain and the [...]
Couple on bench, woman resting head on man's shoulder, rear view

To the Caregivers Who Stayed

I didn’t want to wake up this morning. The truth is, I don’t want to wake up most mornings. We can even take it a step further and say that I loathe going to sleep at night because I know what the morning holds when I open my eyes. Sometimes it’s worth it not to [...]
woman waiting for elevator

The Truth About the Healthy-Looking Woman Taking the Elevator to the First Floor

I’m not your typical 24-year-old, but you wouldn’t know that just by looking at me. I work out at the gym like any other girl my age, but it’s not your typical gym and it’s not a typical workout. It’s a fitness center attached to a rehabilitation hospital. Let me give you a brief tour [...]
Girl being bullied by peers.

To Students With Disabilities Who Are Being Bullied

With complex regional pain syndrome I learned very early on that people, whether intentionally or not, can be cruel. In middle school, shortly after the onset of my CRPS, my classmates were mean. I could tell none of them meant any harm. They just truly didn’t understand the life I was living. I was still [...]