Muskegon teen runs for rodeo queen after riding accident

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SPARTA, Mich. - If you’re not a horse person, you may not know the number one rule: if you fall, get right back in the saddle.

“We were running. His head just went down,” Karleigh Vande Guchte told FOX 17, while recounting her accident from summer 2015. "He kind of did like a somersault, so I came over off of him and then he landed on top of me.”

The accident left her with a traumatic brain injury, leaving Karleigh with headaches and fatigue. Like most people, Karleigh needed physical therapy after her accident, but she also needed speech help.

Karleigh is still in speech therapy, but she is back in the saddle and running for Miss Michigan High School Rodeo Association. During the competition, not only will she be judged on her riding, but also her speech.

“It’s a pretty big swing for Karleigh, because she’s not typically a really outgoing kid,” Adam Vande Guchte, Karleigh’s dad explains. "So hopefully, the contest will help her with that and with the speech therapy, she’s come a long way.”

Win or lose at the Miss Michigan High School Rodeo Association contest this summer, Karleigh is already learning from her equestrian experiences.

“If the horse is OK, I’m OK,” she says.

For more on Michigan High School Rodeo visit their webpage .

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