Walla Walla Whiz, ridden by Shawn Flarida, is at the top of the standings at the NRHA Open Derby this weekend, even though he was hospitalized a few days ago. Photo courtesy of Kathy Dambrill, NRHA, and Waltenberry, Inc.
(via NRHA press release)
Oklahoma City, OK - May 17, 2007 - To watch National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Two Million Dollar Rider Shawn Flarida and Walla Walla Whiz compete in the first section of the of the $80,000 added Open Derby go round on Wednesday, May 16, you'd never know just two days before Walla Walla Whiz had a frightening experience!
Flarida says on Monday, they noticed Walla Walla Whiz (Topsail Whiz x Shiney Walla Wanda) seemed lethargic and was obviously in pain. Flarida called Dr. Alan Donnell, DVM, at Equine Sports Medicine, to check him out. Flarida says Walla Walla Whiz's condition was worsening. "Dr. Donnell was very instrumental in getting him (Walla Walla Whiz) to the hospital. By the time we left the barn, it took three men to carry him to the trailer. He was really, really sick. They told me it could be life threatening."
Walla Walla Whiz, owned by Arcese Quarter Horses USA, from Weatherford, TX, was transported to Oakridge Equine Hospital in Edmond, OK. Dr. Kevin Kersh performed a diagnostic examination to try and figure out what was wrong. "When he (Walla Walla Whiz) came in he was colicky and what I noticed was he was quite dehydrated. Dr. Donnell started fluids at the show and gave him a fair amount there and the horse was still quite dehydrated when he got here." Dr. Kersh continued, "I don't know how close to losing him we were, but if it progresses, it doesn't take a lot of time to go to life threatening. The potential was there and it could have quickly turned into something bigger."
For the next 24 hours, Doctors at the Oakridge Equine Hospital gave him lots of intravenous fluids and electrolytes to get him re-hydrated. Dr. Kersh says they gave Walla Walla Whiz other medications through gastric tubes pumping into his stomach."
Dr. Kersh released Walla Walla Whiz around 9:00 pm on Tuesday evening. The next decision to be made was whether or not Flarida could compete in the Open Derby go round the next morning. Dr. Kersh says it was a collaborative decision between the other veterinarians at the hospital, Dr. Donnell, Flarida and himself. They all agreed that it would not be detrimental to Walla Walla Whiz's well being to compete.
Dr. Kersh says, "I told Shawn to prepare himself because he (Walla Walla Whiz) might not perform to his usual level, but there was no risk of any long-term damage." Flarida's draw with Walla Walla Whiz was set for Wednesday at noon, just 15 hours after being released from the veterinary hospital.
When Walla Walla Whiz's run was over the judges' score was announced ?.. 225.5! That score secured first place in the first section of the Open Derby go round. It's the talk of the barns and everyone is still amazed at how he performed.
Dr. Kersh says his quick recovery shows the horse's determination. "For him to bounce back, to go from looking as bad as he did to performing that well is remarkable. He's an incredibly tough horse. He obviously likes what he does to be able to bounce back and do as well as he did." Flarida says Walla Walla Whiz is like a football player, "He's a game-type horse, always ready."
The 2007 NRHA Derby runs through Saturday, May 19, at the Oklahoma State Fair Park in Oklahoma City, OK.