By Randy Tucker
“This has been quite the American adventure,” Shahayla Suhn’s mother Karie Suhn said.
The St. Margaret’s 4th grader traveled to Texas to compete at the American Rodeo at the Cowtown Coliseum in Ft. Worth.
The event started on February 20th with roping and breakaway then spread into barrel racing, with rough stock competition on the weekend.
The events were live streamed and Shayhayla’s classmates were able to watch her compete on big screens at St. Margaret’s when she rode the barrels.
Many cowboys and cowgirls claim to have been born on horseback, in Shahayla’s case that wasn’t far from the truth.
She began riding with her mom Karie and her dad Randy when she was only six months old. By the time she turned two, she was riding alone.
“She started riding as soon as she could get on a horse,” Randy said “She began really riding alone from two years old on.”
Shahayla began barrel competition when she was four-years old, going to little jackpot rodeos.
“As soon as she could make the horse go where she wanted to, we let her run them, even if she was trotting the pattern,” Randy said.
Extra drama, the kind you don’t want with horses came with the trip to Texas. The weather turned cold and Shahayla’s horse, “Famous French Perfume” that she calls Perfume came down with what they thought was a bad case of colic.
It wasn’t colic, but Perfume had choked on some feed and had an obstruction. They treated her for dehydration, assuming is was colic from the trip and bad weather.
Perfume’s throat swelled, and became inflamed. The Suhns found local veterinarians, Dr. Matt Duffy and Dr. Scott Martin who treated Perfume, with a few doses of IV fluids.
The horse responded well, and they continued on to Ft. Worth.
“She was not 100% but she was still respectable and tried for us like she always does,” Karie said. “We made some memories we will always have! What an outstanding level of competition.”
There were 300 girls in the barrel racing competition, and Shahayla finished in the top third, but only the top 30 moved on to the final rounds.