By Amanda Luchsinger, originally published in the June 2003 issue of BHN
The 2000 WPRA World Champion barrel racer Kappy Allen, Austin, Texas, lost the use of her good horse Risky Chris — the horse that carried her to the World title — in a barn accident on Sunday, March 16. The day of the accident, Allen was in Sealy, Texas, at the home of her friend Shelly Martin, as the pair were preparing to drive to Houston for the final round of Rodeo Houston.
“Chris” rolled in some stinging grass while turned out and had a bad reaction. , As Allen and Martin were trying to treat the gelding’s sensitive skin in Martin’s barn, Chris reared up and over backwards, breaking the vertebrae in his withers. For now, whether Chris will ever be a barrel horse again, or even rideable, is uncertain.
“He’s not in any danger of being put down or any; thing,” Allen said. “We just have to give him time.”
Dr. Lewis of the Elgin, Texas, Veterinary Clinic, attempted a surgery on the horse, but was unable to complete it.
“When Dr. Lewis got in there,” Allen explained, “the bones weren’t broken quite the way the x-rays showed, so he wasn’t able to pin them.”
Chris is presently turned out to rest.
He’s pretty comfortable, really,” Allen said. “More so than I thought he would be.”
Since the accident, Allen said she’s heard many stories from others about horses that have had similar injuries but have come back.
“I don’t know for sure if he’ll be rideable again,” she said, “But if any horse could come back from this, he will; he’s got a lot of heart and a lot of guts. It’ll just take some time and be up to God.”
Allen said she hopes to check the gelding in July, taking new x-rays to see how Chris’ recovery is going.
“Then we’ll just go from there, and let him tell us what he can and can’t do,” she said.
After giving Chris a year off during the 2002 season, Kappy started this year strong with Chris. As of May 7, Allen has qualified in sixth place for the Wrangler Winter ProTour Finale at the MGM in Las Vegas, and is seventh in the World standings with over $15,000.
As far as the rest of the year goes, Kappy hasn’t decided on a game plan. If she were to continue on, she has a second horse which she purchased from Martin last year.
“I’ll go to the MGM and see how it goes, and decide from there,” Allen said. “If it started looking like maybe Chris would be able to go if I qualified for the NFR, then there’d be a lot more incentive to try. But if it looks like he’s done, or at least done until next year, then I don’t know how enthusiastic I’ll be. I was really down for a while, but, like I said, if anything can come back from it, he will.
“Quite honestly though, if he never ran again, he’s earned his keep. He’s earned his retirement, if that’s what it ends up being. If we don’t ride him again, he’ll be here and he’ll be happy.”
Allen would like to send her thanks out to all the caring people who have voiced their thoughts, concerns and prayers through letters and phone calls.
”A lot of people care about Chris, and we really appreciate it,” she said.