Barrel racer Mehalic and his horse battle through adversity

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July 30–CHEYENNE–Lake Mehalic didn’t start calling his horse “Miracle Moly” for no reason.

Mehalic was told by her vets at Colorado State University in February that Holy Moly would have to be retired from barrel racing and put down within six months due to a knee chip. There had been other chips removed, but there was still one that was causing problems. Something kept telling Mehalic that Holy Moly’s career wasn’t over yet.

“The only reason I can run it is because of God,” she said. “He kept telling me, ‘I’m not done with him yet, I’m not done with him yet.’ And I was like, ‘Are you sure?’ Because everyone kept telling me he was done.”

Mehalic has taken it upon herself to prove that he is just getting started.

She is a Certified Equine Acuscope and Myopulse Therapist in Animal Therapy Systems. She graduated from CSU — where she also rodeoed — with an undergraduate degree in equine science and a master’s degree in agricultural science. Her experience and knowledge allowed her to begin providing therapy at Holy Moly herself.

She uses an equine electric magnetic modality that uses micro-current, which sends feedback to a computer system that “basically tells you where it hurts.” It reads the cells to find out if they are running at too high or too low a current, regulates this and puts the body back into a state of homeostasis. It is FDA approved to treat pain and increase healing. Mehalic said it’s been around in human medicine for about 40 years and in animal medicine for 25 or 30 years.

“It’s been a real game-changer keeping him healthy and active this summer,” she said. “Or just go, because it wasn’t supposed to be. So that was really helpful.”

Mehalic had lost a horse in 2018 and wasn’t sure she was ready to start looking for another. She was on her way to the College National Finals Rodeo that same year when she first heard of Holy Moly.

“I got a Facebook message from a girl, and she said, ‘I’ve got a horse that’s perfect for you,’ and sent me videos of Holy Moly,” Mehalic said. “I ended up having it two weeks later.”

The uphill battle had just begun, however.

The pre-purchase review that Holy Moly passed in June went well. But when Mehalic took him home to Arizona in November, his vet told him that Mehalic had been misinformed and that Holy Moly couldn’t run barrels. She didn’t think that was the case.

“My first vet said he would never do a barrel horse, and I said, ‘No, they’re wrong. God tells me he’s going to do something big,'” Mehalic said. “I don’t know if it’s going to be this year, I don’t know what it’s going to be. But I know he’s not finished yet.”

The knee issue was just part of what Holy Moly overcame.

At one point, he suffered from exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage, which occurs when the capillaries in the lungs burst after exercise. It causes the lungs to fill with blood and creates a feeling of drowning. Shortly thereafter, in December 2020, Holy Moly underwent colic surgery. Colic is abdominal pain caused by problems in the gastrointestinal tract. In March 2021, he nearly had his eye removed when he got something in his eye, which created an ulcer.

“They told me that if I had taken him away even a day later, they would have had to gouge out his eye,” Mehalic said.

Even before all of this, he suffered from foot problems due to his horseshoes being cut too short, causing bleeding.

Despite the adversity, Holy Moly still has an upward trend. Only his seventh competitive race of the season came in Thursday’s quarterfinal of the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo’s 126th anniversary. The duo clocked 18.98 seconds in the muddy Frontier Park Arena and did not earn a place in the semi-finals. But for him to even be on that stage is a blessing in itself, Mehalic said.

He has helped Mehalic earn a check in five of the six rodeos they entered this year. At only 10 years old, he still has plenty of time to experience success. He only competed about 30 times in the four years they were together, she said.

“The fact that he’s here right now is crazy,” Mehalic said. “He deserves to have a successful professional career because he can. He’s fantastic.”

Success aside, the opportunity Mehalic gave Holy Moly to show off his skills didn’t come by chance. She never considered giving up hope no matter what was thrown at them.

“He just wasn’t blessed with the best body parts, but I think that’s why he ended up in my care – it was to take care of him as much as possible,” she said. “Because a lot of people would have given up on a horse like that.”

Robert Munoz is a writer for WyoSports. He can be contacted at rmunoz@wyosports.net. Follow him on Twitter @rmunoz307.

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