The Red White Run Futurity was held at 7 Down Arena in Spearfish, SD, this weekend. It was a great futurity put on by LI Productions (Lana Ireland) and we’re excited to report that Frenchmans Isa Dash, owned by John and Lis Hollmann and ridden by Jessica Routier, placed second in the first round and fourth in the second round, and was the reserve champion in the two-run average.
Special French Bear, owned by Gary Westergren and ridden by Jessica Routier, had a little trouble the first round but made a great run the second round and was just out of the money.
Another Hollmann mare, Frenchmans Chere, also placed 4th in the average in the 2D of the futurity.
We’re looking forward to the rest of the summer and fall with these great mares!
The kids and I had a great time Saturday at the Rapid City Barrel Bash. It was a busy day, as I ran 4 horses, but we got to catch up with some good friends and family that we haven’t seen in awhile. In fact, my Mom and Dad came out from Wisconsin (they are actually staying for a couple weeks) so I didn’t see much of the kids all weekend!
Three of the horses I ran at the Barrel Bash were the mares I futuritied in Arizona this winter. This was their first big competition run since January and they really worked nice.
“Anna Belle” (Special French Bear) was the shining star. She placed in the 2D and won the Futurity sidepot. Anna Belle is owned by Gary Westergren from Lincoln, NE, and spent a year in training with my mom, Shelly Mueller.
“Isa” (Frenchmans Isa Dash) also made a really nice run and placed in the Futurity sidepot as well. Isa is owned by John and Lis Hollmann from Hot Springs, SD, and she also spent a year in training with my mom.
The third futurity mare I ran was Frenchmans Chere, who is also owned by the Hollmanns and was trained by my mom. She has been the problem child of the three, but she is making progress and I have confidence that she’s going to turn into a great barrel horse with time.
The last horse I ran was Woody (Sunders Fame). She had a little trouble on the third barrel but overall made a real nice run.
I have to do a little bragging on Special this week. Most of you reading this already know Special’s story but for those of you that don’t, Special is a product of Smoothie, my rodeo horse for the past 12 years. We bought Smoothie as a 3-year-old and it turns out she was bred and no one knew about it. So about 10 months after we bought her, Special was born. We never took the time to find out who his sire was so he is not registered… he’s just Special.
Special was just starting to give his mother a run for her money when it came to barrel racing when, at the age of 7, he ruptured his suspensory ligament. To this day we don’t know how he did it. I just went out to feed one night and he wouldn’t walk to the barn and as I got closer to him I noticed that his leg was swollen to at least twice it’s size. Anyway, whereas most horses who suffer ligament injuries just tear them, Special had torn his into 2 completely separate pieces, so he had a good stretch of leg that had no suspensory ligament at all anymore.
The prognosis was not good. I contacted numerous vets after getting him x-rayed and none of them thought it could heal. I refused to put him down, though, and a good friend of mine suggested I call Dr. Brunc in Grand Island, NE, who had dealt with race horse injuries for many, many years. Dr. Brunc talked me through what needed to be done and with the help of Scott Camack at Northern Hills Vet Clinic in Sturgis, SD, the healing process began.
I rode Special for the first time about a year and a half after it happened. I remember being so excited that first day, and Riley saying “That’s great that you’re riding him, but what do you expect to do with him?” Needless to say he was a little off. But I quickly learned that he wasn’t off because he was in pain… it was just because everything was so tight from not being used for so long, so things needed to stretch back out.
Exactly two years after the injury I ran Special at a jackpot during the Badlands Circuit Finals in Minot, ND, and he tipped a barrel to win the barrel race. I spent the next year running him at jackpots here and there. There was one week where I had to give him a little time off because he tripped running home and was sore afterward, but that has been our only setback.
It has now been almost 4 years since Special got hurt. Last fall I ran him at the pro rodeo in Casper, WY, and we ended up 5th. He’s been placing regularly this summer at the amateur rodeos I’ve taken him to, including this weekend at Lemmon (video below), where he placed 4th in a really tough barrel race. Less than 1/10 of a second separated first place and last hole!
I don’t really have any expectations for Special at this point. We just take things one day at a time. His ‘bad’ leg is about 1.5 times bigger than it should be because it is filled with scar tissue, but it doesn’t seem to bother him. The only thing I’ve had to do different is use polo wraps instead of boots on him because if you can get a boot to fit, it’s just too bulky and he trips.
I’m just so thankful for every run that we make, and I hope that Special is an inspiration to others who have had horses get hurt or sick. I know I’m extremely lucky that things turned out the way they did, but before you give up on a situation, don’t be afraid to get a second (or third or FOURTH) opinion and don’t ever lose faith.