November 13, 2013
By Jody ReynoldsThe American Quarter Horse Journal
Tyler Jasper and Lukes Best In Blue in open jumping prelims. Photo courtesy of KC Montgomery.
In his fourth year to qualify for the AQHA World Championship Show, 23-year-old Tyler Jasper takes little for granted, including having horses in his life.
Last year, about two weeks before he was to show at the 2012 World Show, Tyler faced an unspeakable nightmare.
He doesn’t remember much but knows he was in an accident that led to an emergency craniotomy to repair an epidural hematoma (a traumatic brain injury). He was told that he almost died.
After brain surgery, his life should have hit the pause button. Instead, he was asking doctors, “When can I ride?” as soon as he woke. They told him he could try when he had his stitches out.
Time was not on his side, but the Lubbock, Texas, equestrian miraculously made it to the 2012 AQHA World Show with his 1996 chestnut gelding, Rapscallion At Play, to compete in jumping.
“I ended up missing my open class but was able to come compete at the amateur,” he said. “I had worked so hard to get to this. It was just determination to be able to show there.”
He and “Dynamite” were finalists.
“His dedication to horses and riding are so amazing to me,” said Tyler’s mom, LaNita Jasper. “He not only went to World last year just short of two weeks after brain surgery, he went into the arena and did wonderful. This, to me, is a story of dedication and the love of the sport.”
Surprisingly, Tyler said he didn’t feel much different after his brain surgery.
“I was just thankful to be alive and be able to show still,” he said.
He’s only reminded of his one lingering side effect when the weather turns bad.
“When storms come around, just like if you break a bone, my head aches a little bit,” he said with nonchalance.
Tyler contends that horses healed him – and continue to do so daily.
“Horses help you. They’ve always helped. They understand. They know what’s going on. I’m out there at the barn twice a day, every day. There’s always something positive coming out of anything to do with horses.”
Tyler started riding horses when he was 11 and got his first Quarter Horse about four years ago when he got into the jumpers.
“Jumping is a huge adrenaline rush,” he said.
He appreciates Quarter Horses because of their “versatility, attitude and willingness.”
Tyler competed in the open jumping prelims on November 9, with Lukes Best In Blue, or “Sky,” and Dynamite. He shows Dynamite Friday, November 15, in the amateur jumping finals.
Tyler is a pre-chiropractic major at South Plains College in Leveland, Texas, and plans to work on humans and horses when he’s finished with school.