The two sisters, Cassie (Bahe) Latham and Anna Bahe, qualified to rope at the inaugural National Finals of Breakaway Roping with the help of a 15-year-old bald-faced sorrel gelding they called Roy.
On October 28, 2020, the Bahe family laid Roy to rest after two weeks of hoping and praying he would make a comeback from an unplanned colic.
"I was working late one night and I didn't even get to rope," Anna said. "He (Roy) was just hanging out in his stall. I fed him and everything was good and when I woke up the next morning I saw him and I just knew that he was colicking."
Anna was in need of a truck to rush Roy to the vet, which was an hour away from their house.
"My dad had his truck at his work," Anna said. "I found one of our neighbors and their truck wouldn’t start. They ran me to their grandpa's, who was a complete stranger. He let me take his truck and trailer to the vet."
Once Anna got Roy to the vet, the vet techs began testing the gelding for colic and realized that he needed to be rushed in for colic surgery.
"He actually died right when they did the surgery," Anna said. "He died for two minutes and when his heart stopped beating one of the vet techs ran to get the drugs and it brought him back to life. They stitched him back up and had everything right."
After two weeks of uncertainty, the vets did an ultrasound and found an abscess on Roy's right lung, meaning they would need to perform another emergency surgery. That's when the Bahe family came to the difficult decision to put Roy down.
"It would have been really hard for him to recover from that," Anna said. "I don't think he would have made it through the second surgery."
The Bahe family will never forget the horse that has done so much for them. Roy helped Cassie win the Fort Worth (Texas) Stock Show and Rodeo, which set her No. 1 in the WPRA breakaway world standings, and set Anna at No. 11.
"Before Fort Worth I qualified for the National High School Finals Rodeo on him heeling," Cassie said. "We've done everything on him. My sister did ranch horse competitions on him and my dad has heeled on him in the World Series. He was a family horse. Basically every win that my family has had has been on Roy. He's really special to us. Fort Worth was actually the last big place we've taken him to, so Fort Worth will always be special to me because of that."
Roy is a family-raised horse that the Bahes got from a trade that their father, Francis, made with their uncle when Roy was a colt.
"I was at the point to where I was going to slow down and one of the heading horses that I had was a backup horse," Francis said. "My brother-in-law bull dogged quite a bit, and my backup head horse was a good haze horse. I swung a deal with him and got Roy. He should have been papered, but we never went though with it. His mom was a Doc Bar."
Roy was noticed as the 2019 Top Horse of the Year in the Wilderness Circuit for his athletic ability—which he also won Anna back-to-back year-end breakaway roping championship titles in 2018 and 2019, and helped Cassie win the reserve championship title in 2019.
"He did really good for us through his entire life," Anna said. "He really tried hard. He would pin his ears and go to every single calf."
Cassie and Anna both owe their success to the unregistered horse that went to greener pastures sooner than they had hoped.
"If I could say anything to him I'd tell him thank you," Cassie said. "He sure gave us all he had. He always tried his hardest and always gave us a shot to win." BRJ