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☛ Tragedy at the AQHA World Show 11-17 -17

TRAGEDY AT THE AQHA WORLD SHOW

 

SHARIN HALL LOSES A YOUNG CONTENDER IN THE JUNIOR BARREL RACE

A news and opinion piece by Glory Ann Kurtz
Nov. 17, 2017

AQHA photo.

After winning the first go-round of the Junior Barrel Race at the AQHA World Show, barrel racer Sharin Hall, of Winning Edge Stables, Harrah, Okla., and her top barrel mare Dreaming Of Foose (Foose x Hawks Dream Glrl), nicknamed Cali, were giving it their all in the final go-round on Nov. 15. While turning the second barrel, the mare fell and broke her pelvis and lacerated an artery which caused internal bleeding so bad that she passed away before they could get her to a veterinarian.

According to a report from the AQHA, “The mare became acutely lame during her barrel racing run and was provided emergency medical care. It was quickly determined to be in the horse’s best interest to be transported to a referral hospital. She was loaded into a trailer following medication administration to ease the pain and help control inflammation, but passed away enroute,” said Dr.Dave Frisbie of Equine Sports Medicine.”

Sharin is originally from Sunbury, Ohio. She was born to love, train and ride  horses as her father, Jackson Hall, was an accomplished horseman and a barrel horse trainer. Her mother is also into horses.

Sharin is a well-known trainer and competitor in barrel racing circles, having won and placed at many major barrel racing events, including “The American. Cali, a 2013 mare, was the 2017 Summer Shootout 1D Champion, Reserve Champion at Parker Wood Memorial Slot Race. She was also the Ultimate Isabella Quarter Horse Slot Race and Futurity Champion.

WAS THIS MARE’S DEATH PREVENTABLE?

However, from all the responses on Facebook, many barrel racers felt the death of this great mare was preventable. According to her friend Lainie Whitmire, who is also an accomplished barrel racer, the ground was the culprit.

“Multiple horses slipped in the prelims,” said Lainie in a post on Facebook. “Some went completely down and were pulled up. Great horses were unable to keep their footing in order to compete. I feel like the officials should have prepared the arena better before the finals. JMO. It might not have changed the outcome. This is a horse I know very well, owned by a friend, so it’s personal to me”

This was a terrible thing that happened to this young mare but it could have just as easily killed the rider. As a result, many petitions to the AQHA were started on my Facebook page as well as others I am sure, that were signed (including one I started by accident when I just thought I was signing another one) and sent to Pete Kyle, AQHA Executive Director of Shows and Judges,  stating, “There need to be changes made to the ground at the World Show, as well as other AQHA-approved events.”

One, signed by Amanda Earles, said, “After multiple horses going down, having footing problems and even passing away at the AQHA World Show in the barrel racing event held in Oklahoma City, Okla., the third week of November 2017, there need to be changes made to the ground. AQHA needs to bring in people, such as John Jamison, to evaluate and properly prep and work the ground before and during there AQHA World Show and other AQHA-approved events (such as the show during the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo.)

“The petition is to make AQHA take responsibility for their mismanagement of the round conditions at their shows and to fix this problem and hire outside organizations and/or people that are skilled in this area. This needs to happen now!”

MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE:

When I was younger and was hauling my daughter to barrel races, I occasionally ran barrels myself, I had a scary experience at the John Justin Arena, located in the Will Rogers Complex in Fort Worth. As I rounded the third barrel, I heard my horse’s shoes hitting the cement under the dirt in the arena . Many of my friends watching said the gelding was leaving sparks as he rounded the barrel for home. Luckily, this was an older, seasoned barrel horse that was raised in Montana and he knew how to handle bad ground.

Since then, Will Rogers and the John Justin arena have done a lot to change the ground, storing different ground for different events, like the NCHA Futurity that’s going on now, with the ground being deeper in front of the chutes where they cut. There are individuals out there who specialize in ground preparation for different events. The All-American Quarter Horse Congress has had problems for years as they also try to run various events in the same arena on the same ground. However, the last time I was there, they had additional buildings where they could run the timed events on different ground from the halter, pleasure and reining horses.

But now is the time for show management of all sizes to make an assessment of the ground for their shows, especially if they have several different classes, including timed events. If they don’t, there could be some big lawsuits in the wings if someone gets hurt badly or even killed.

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