Tad Leggett was scheduled off his ventilator for 10 hours on Wednesday, one more step in the rehabilitation process he is undergoing at Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colo., the renown center for treating people with spinal cord and traumatic brain injury.
Leggett, 45, a four-time quarter horse riding champion at Canterbury Park and the all-time money winner, was injured severely in a spill at Fair Meadows at Tulsa on June 30. He underwent a nine-hour spinal surgery on July 2 and has been recovering since. He is still unable to walk or function normally with his hands and arms and is still learning to breathe on his own.
“He’s on a ventilation weaning program,” said Leggett’s daughter, Tiffany, who works in the horsemen’s book-keeping office at Canterbury. “They were taking him off for an hour three times a day and now they’ll try with 10 hours.”
Tiffany said that she talked to her father by phone a week ago during one of his ventilator-free hours. “He sounded pretty much like himself,” she said. “You would have almost thought everything was normal.”
Tiffany said that during the conversation her father referred to a a gray horse he had recently acquired that his son Travis, 16, has taken a liking to. “Tell Travis not to get too attached to that gray horse,” her father told her. “He’s mine.”
The Craig center has specific programs for people with spinal cord injury. Tiffany said that the plan eventually is for her father to work on regaining his ability to walk.
In the meantime, the bills and expenses continue to accumulate. Sunday, Arizona’s at the Canterbury Inn will sponsor a benefit and fundraiser on Leggett’s behalf. Tickets at $10 apiece entitle a patron to a barbecue pork sandwich plate from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The Fanatics band will play from 8 p.m. to closing.
Tickets are available from trainer Jerry Livingston, in the horsemen’s book-keeping office and from various other trainers at Canterbury.
The Leggetts are from Bandera, Texas, a small town an hour from San Antonio. Tiffany plans to return to college at Adams State in Alamosa, Colo., after the Canterbury meet ends. Her brothers Travis and Trevor, 11, are staying with their dad’s brother, Mark, in Logan, Kan.
“They’ve already hauled their horses up there,” Tiffany said, “so they can do their roping while they go to school there this year.”
Meanwhile, Tad’s wife, Tina, is staying near the rehabilitation center in Colorado.
“Sometimes people ask me how my mom is doing,” Tiffany said, “and I don’t know what to say. She’s very strong, just rock solid.”
A silent auction is planned for Friday night and Saturday during the races with proceeds earmarked to help reduce remaining debt on the Dean Kutz Memorial Chapel in the stable area.
The auction will take place at the usual location, just inside the main doors to the grandstand. Among the items up for bid are signed drawings by renown Daily Racing Form artist Peb in addition to other framed artwork.
Chaplain Ed Underwood said other items include some Claiming Crown polo-style shirts, braided lead ropes, wine baskets and Pat Day t-shirts. Anyone who makes a $10 donation will get a t-shirt.
A number of books and a donated watch will be auctioned as well.
NEW STABLES BEGIN ARRIVING
Stall superintendent Mark Stancato began welcoming new arrivals, all from Iowa, on Wednesday. Cecil Stewart was due to arrive with five horses on Wednesday. Stancato is expecting the first of 25 horses from the Tim Gleason stable to begin arriving as early as this week with the bulk of them next Sunday and Monday.
Norm Ashauer, who has raced at Canterbury previously, was due to arrive as early as Wednesday with four horses.
HBPA ELECTION BALLOTS DUE SOON
Election ballots for the trainer and two owners who will be named to the HBPA board are due in the mail by Aug. 16, according to HBPA executive director Patrice Underwood.