Roberto Gonzalez nearly gave his life for his country. The Texan was drafted in 1970 and sent to Vietnam, and just a few months into his tour sustained a gunshot wound that left him paralyzed.

Gonzalez then gave his life to horses.

“Horses are his life,” his wife, Rosario Gonzalez told San Antonio’s NBC News 4. “We’ve been training and raising horses for 30-40 years. My husband was the only paralyzed licensed horse trainer in Texas.”

Sadly, Gonzalez’s health is declining, even if his love for his animals is not.

“Because he knew that the end was near and he would not be going home again, he requested through his wife that he see his horses one last time,” said South Texas VA representative Lupe Hernandez. “His family brought two horses to the Spinal Cord Injury Center at the Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital.”

So outside of the hospital they gathered on May 21, 46 years to the day he was wounded in battle. Surrounded by family, Gonzalez enjoyed one final nuzzle with his horses Sugar and Ringo.

A hero, a horseman, until the end.