Big Deuce keeps Vangjel company as he recovers

By Monica WoodDecember 5, 2022

Deuce hangs with Vangjel
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Big Deuce VIII, the 428th Field Artillery Brigade mascot, is hanging out with his equine cousin, Vangjel, who had to get sutures for a cut to one of his hind legs. Big Deuce provides the company of one of Vangjel’s battle buddies until he can get back to work with the Field Artillery Half Section. (Photo Credit: Monica Wood) VIEW ORIGINAL
Chief's horse out due to injury
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Vangjel, the mount for the Half Section Chief, Lara Armstrong, hurt one of his back legs after feeling his oats and kicking a gate latch. He is on forced stable rest until the post veterinarian clears him to go back to work. (Photo Credit: Monica Wood) VIEW ORIGINAL
Stablemates and battle buddies
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Big Deuce VIII, decided to move to the Old Post Corral to keep his equine cousin, Vangjel, company until he is off forced stable rest. The battle buddies have settled into being stablemates very well. (Photo Credit: Monica Wood) VIEW ORIGINAL

Vangjel, one of the horses at the Field Artillery Half Section equine team, is recovering from a cut to one of his back legs and was feeling lonely.

Big Deuce VIII, the 428th Field Artillery Brigade mascot, was brought in to keep him company. So, now the equine cousins are hanging out together.

“Vangjel got hurt last week on a cool morning when all the horses were feeling good and playing right after a feed. He was playing and kind of bucking and kicking in his pen and just happened to hit a gate latch just right,” said Lara Armstrong, Field Artillery Half Section section chief. “Although it wasn’t life threatening, it was a nasty cut, and we took him to Oklahoma State University. Because of where the cut is located, they had to sedate him and lay him down to suture it.”

When he came out of the anesthesia, he was really sad because he missed the other horses and his rider, Armstrong, who has bonded with him.

“These horses do bond with their people, and he just happens to be my horse and he’s a very peculiar horse,” said Armstrong. “He likes a very specific ride — he likes constant attention and wants to be the center of attention.”

Armstrong said the veterinarian recommended that he recover at Fort Sill. Even after bringing Vangjel back to post, Armstrong said that he was still sad because all the other horses were out working.

“This is a busy season for the Half Section and we are all busy preparing for upcoming events, including the change of responsibility today,” said Armstrong. “So, with the other horses working and training, we brought Big Deuce over to be his companion and it seems to be working great. Big Deuce has really helped to calm Vangjel and it gives him a buddy. He’s not lonely while he is recovering.

“I think Deuce hanging with Vangjel is another example of the teamwork and camaraderie our Soldiers, and even the horses, feel. They all need companionship, or a battle buddy, for their emotional well-being,” she said.

Vangjel will be out of commission for a couple of weeks while he recovers. He can go back to work once the post veterinarian clears him for duty, said Armstrong, who will be riding the horse named McKiernan until Vangjel recovers.