Vet's View Dr Galley roping with Clay Cooper

Roper's Sports News is proud to announce the welcome addition of a monthly column, Vet's View by Dr. Richard H. Galley.

Richard H. Galley, DVM graduated from Colorado State University with a degree as Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1965. After serving in Vietnam, he practiced veterinary medicine on major racetracks from 1968 until 1993. He now has a clinical equine practice limited to the equine athlete in Willow Park, Texas.

Dr. Galley is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Assoc., and the Texas Veterinary Medical Assoc. He has presented professional papers and held seminars at various conferences over the years, as well as being a contributing author in equine industry publications.

Dr. Galley has also competed in professional team roping competitions throughout the south-western United States from 1967 to 2007.


We were practicing at a friend’s house last night and during our third run there was a real loud popping sound just as he set the steer and the horse could not even put his left hind leg down. He would try to swing the leg forward but not even try to bend it or put any weight on it. There were several of us there and he is pretty gentle so we helped get him into a trailer and we took him to the vet. It was pretty late when we got him there and the main vet was gone but one of his young assistants treated him and they were going to look at him a little better this morning. I know you haven’t seen him but what do you think might have happened?

Hi Dick,
I miss seeing you at the ropings and hope you are feeling better. I rope (in the senior ropings) with an older man that lives fairly close so we have gotten to know each other really well. He trained race horses for many years at the major racetracks, but it seems like he won’t offer any horse advice unless he knows you pretty well. My older heading horse (actually he is only 21 years old) has not been acting just right lately and when I mentioned him to my partner he told me that he has a “sour stomach.” Now, I have been around a while myself but that is a new one on me. What can you tell me about it?

Dr. Galley,
We sure miss seeing you at the ropings... maybe since you can’t rope anymore you can still send your entry fees (just kidding).
I remember several years ago that you wrote about injuries to the hind end of the heading horses. This year I was entered at the Windy Ryon Roping (in the amateur roping) and my horse wasn’t handling the ground very well. The ground looked really good (MUCH better than in years past) but I overheard several guys mention that their horses were slipping. I don’t know if any horses were hurt there but I wonder if you could discuss how the various ground conditions might contribute to back end problems.

I was at a couple of ropings taking pictures recently and there were several wrecks that occurred that were totally avoidable. A couple of horses were injured slightly but it could have been a LOT worse. Sometimes we are a wreck-waiting-to-happen.