Seeing a Career in Veterinary Medicine 

Seeing a Career in Veterinary Medicine 

Faith Snapp, who is legally blind, grew up with horses that helped her build confidence and lead as normal a life as possible.

Faith Snapp and Only Kipnic. PHOTO: Jacey Dubois

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The American Quarter Horse Journal logo


By Becky Newell

Twenty-three-year-old Faith Snapp, who has been legally blind since birth, says whenever she is riding her American Quarter Horse, Only Kipnic, she feels like she gets to be just like everyone else.

“He’s my eyes when I ride him, and ‘Kip’ provides that for me,” she says. “It’s very freeing to own him and to have him.”

Faith and her twin brother, Caleb, were born at 27 weeks of gestation in 2001. She can see a little motion with her right eye, and she has some vision in her left eye, but it’s like looking through a hole the size of a coffee straw.

Faith’s parents had a riding stable on their place in Slaton, Texas, about 17 miles southeast of Lubbock in the southern part of the Texas Panhandle.

“We had around 15 horses on our property, and we did summer camps every summer for kids in our community and taught them how to ride,” Faith says. “My mom was the head of all of that, and my siblings and I helped.”

Faith says that when she was growing up, she’s not sure that she fully realized that she was different than anybody else, because her parents always treated Caleb  and her the same as their older sister.

“Caleb and I had to learn how to navigate. I learned so many skills from working with other students, working with the horses, just kind of figuring out my way through those camps,” Faith says.

Faith also started showing horses, as well as other livestock, in 4-H. When she was 13, her horse came up lame. Faith’s trainer, Sarah Seewer, offered her gelding “Kip” as a lease. 

“He is the most chill horse ever, a literal puppy that’s in your pocket all the time,” Faith says about Kip. “I just fell in love with him. I mean, gosh, he is incredible. I remember when I started riding him and building a connection with him, it was crazy, because he’s the first horse I’ve ever ridden that I think actually understands that I am visually impaired. He takes care of me. When I walk the patterns, I swear he memorizes them, which is so strange, but he just knows. He’s so smart.”

Within a couple of years, Faith and Kip won the district horse show and were the champions in western riding at the state 4-H horse show.

“He was so much fun,” Faith says. “Throughout that time, I just kept getting more bonded with him, spending all my time with him. I got him when I was in eighth grade and leased him all four years of high school.”

After Faith graduated from high school, the plan was for Kip to go back to Sarah’s and become Sarah’s daughter’s first horse.

“I was preparing myself to say goodbye,” Faith says. “Then, one day, Sarah called and said, ‘You graduate this year.’ And I said, ‘Yes,’ not knowing where Sarah was going with the conversation. And she said, ‘Well, I have a little graduation gift for you.’ And she offered to sell us Kip.”

Then, right before graduation, Sarah had a change of heart.

“She had a bad day, because she’d lost a horse,” Faith says. “She called me and said, ‘I’m transferring Kip into your name. You guys don’t owe me anything.’”

Faith couldn’t believe that Kip was finally hers.

Then Kip went to college with Faith 110 miles up the road at West Texas A&M University in Canyon. He was her moral support while she worked on an animal science degree and applied to vet school.

“When I got to college, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, honestly,” she says. “I knew it was something in animal science. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a vet or not. But between having Kip and meeting all these wonderful people, and even having my guide dog, Prim, I was like, ‘Man, I would love to work with animals and people, and this is the job I can do that with.’ Kip helps me when I’m stressed or just need to get away from school.”

In late February, Faith’s hard work paid off when she received an acceptance letter to attend vet school at the Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo.

“I was just blown away,” she told Lubbock television station KCBD. “I am just very blessed.”

Faith, her guide dog, Prim, and Kip will start vet school in August.