Horseback Rider To Compete After Significant Injury


Thursday, January 13th 2022, 6:45 pm


Lauren and her horse Watchie are both survivors of horrific injuries, but they’re at the Lazy E competing in the International Finals Rodeo this weekend.

“I went to a local rodeo, and I saw barrel racing and I decided that’s what I wanted to do,” said Lauren Smith.  

Smith has been barrel racing for 16 years, however, in 2015 she was attending to her horses, One became spooked and trampled her. 

“I was in and out of consciousness and I somehow managed to call my mom,” said Smith.  

Her mom found her battered and beaten.  

“I was covered in blood and just sitting there holding my face,” said Smith.  

Smith doesn’t remember much of what happened, but she was in pretty bad shape.  

“I had a lacerated liver, sprained ankle, crushed my eye sockets, broke my nose, I have eight plates in my face,” said Smith.  

She would undergo complete facial reconstruction. After a lengthy hospital stay and months of rehab Lauren was back riding, despite her doctor's objection.  

“He was like I know you’re probably not going to listen to what I say but he was like at least be careful and run in a helmet, so I ran in helmet for two years,” said Smith.  

Smith isn’t the only one who has had to overcome adversity, her horse Watchie also had a serious injury.  

“She tore her suspensory ligament it’s a ligament that runs down all four of their legs, her’s was her left hind [leg],” said Smith.  

The injury left Watchie sidelined for eight months. So, her best friend Grits came out of retirement  

“I decided to see what grits would do at a rodeo and she won second at the first rodeo she went to,” said Smith.  

Watchie is back competing and ready to go for this weekend’s IFR at the Lazy E  

“I trust her with my life, and she trust me with hers,”  

Smith is currently ranked number two in the world but if she does well this weekend, she could take over that number one spot.  

Thursday, January 13 at 7:30pm  

Friday, January 14 at 7:30pm  

Saturday, January 15 at 7:30pm  

Sunday, January 16 at 2:00pm