Horse Overcomes Near Death Surgery To Compete In NRHA Derby


Friday, June 24th 2022, 6:30 pm


When Rocky was born, his owners appropriately named him because they knew this horse was a fighter.  

“We recognized that at about three days old, that he was pretty sick,” said Gabby Solum, Rocky’s previous owner.  

The diagnosis was a ruptured bladder. Solum was Rocky’s owner at the time, and also in her first year of veterinarian school.  

“You know they laid them on their back for the surgery, and so the surgical scrub seeped to his back,” said Solum.    

The surgery was unsuccessful and complications from the surgery caused a chemical burn to Rocky’s back.  

Doctors told her, “You have two options, one you can euthanize him or two you can do this surgery that’s not done on horses it’s only done on goats and try and give him a chance at life,” said Solum.  

The second surgery was successful, but Rocky was bred for competition as a riding horse, but the wounds would probably prevent that from ever being a possibility.  

“This was right over his hip and over his back and we weren’t sure that he would ever hold up as a riding horse,” said Solum.  

Rocky at one time was only given a 20% chance of living, never mind being ridden for competition. But his name is Rocky, and he is a fighter.  

“He’s got a huge, huge heart, he tries so hard, I mean no matter how he’s feeling every single day he comes out and tries hard,” said Jen Kasper Rocky’s current owner and rider.  

“He’s so special to me and I’ve had a lot of horses in my life, and nothing comes close to him,” said Kasper.  

She bought Rocky in February but skipped the typical veterinarian check.  

“Bless his heart, he would not pass one,” said Kasper.  

Rocky is pretty much a celebrity at reigning events around the country.  

“So, his registered name is a cool back story, just for his history and his big, scarred back,” said Kasper.  

“This is what we dreamed of everyday that we were treating him,” said Solum.  

Rocky will be competing this weekend at the state fairgrounds for the NRHA Derby competition.