Dual Smart Kitty, the 2013 National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity Open Champion, marked a 214.5 in her first run at the NCHA Super Stakes in Fort Worth on Tuesday, one day after suffering minor injuries during a traffic accident on her way to the show.
The driver of a truck and trailer hauling Dual Smart Kitty and six other horses swerved to miss hitting a deer while traveling along Farm to Market Road 51, near Weatherford, Texas, early Monday morning, trainer Clay Johnson said. The driver, an employee at Shadow Oak Ranch in Stephenville, Texas, was not injured in the single-vehicle accident, and Dual Smart Kitty was the only horse hurt, Johnson said. “It scuffed her left knee pretty good and she’s got a spot on her back, but [Tuesday] she was a lot better.”
Charlie Buchanan, DVM, of Brazos Valley Equine Hospital in Stephenville, Texas, examined and treated Dual Smart Kitty (Dual Smart Rey x Cats Peptolena x High Brow Cat). The 4-year-old mare, owned by Rusty and Shelley Simpson, of Nemo, Texas, received clearance to compete, plus tender loving care at home, before heading back to Fort Worth on Tuesday, Johnson said.
Jeremy Barwick, Dual Smart Kitty’s original trainer and co-owner of Shadow Oak Ranch, along with his wife, Candace, confirmed the six other horses, all boarders and training prospects at the ranch, were not injured. Dual Smart Kitty is apparently recovering well, he added, and he credited ranch employee Tiffany Sternfels with aiding the recovery. Sternfels stayed with the horse and supervised cold salt water therapy every two hours, from the time the mare returned to the ranch until she headed back to Fort Worth.
“She stayed up with the horse all night,” Barwick said.
If all had gone as planned, Dual Smart Kitty, who followed up her 224-point NCHA Futurity Open win with a 225-point win in January’s Abilene Spectacular 4-Year-Old Open, would have practiced Monday at the Super Stakes with Johnson. Instead, the pair worked only sparingly on a flag before Tuesday’s first-round effort.
Johnson is hopeful the first-go 214.5 he and Dual Smart Kitty marked will advance them into Friday and Saturday’s second round of the Super Stakes Open. The Open semifinals will take place on April 18, followed by an April 19 Open finals.
“She’ll get a few days off now,” Johnson said. “We’ll get another chance here in a few days.”