the return of admiral

Welcome Back, Admiral: Coleman Proctor’s Lena Spark Dunit Returns from Sidelines
A year after a season-ending injury at The Daddy, Coleman Proctor’s gelding Admiral kicked off his comeback with wins at Baker and Tremonton.
Coleman Proctor heading a steer in Baker, Montana, aboard "Admiral" to get the 2023 win.
Admiral helping Proctor and Medlin go 4.6 seconds to win Baker, Montana. | Clay Guardipee photo

When Coleman Proctor swung a leg over go-to gelding “Admiral” for their second-round run in Cheyenne last year, they were gunning for Proctor’s seventh NFR qualification. Proctor made it to the Thomas & Mack; Admiral didn’t. But now, the 15-year-old mount is back, and he’s cracking out with some big, late-season wins.

After sustaining a season-ending injury at Cheyenne in 2022, Admiral made his comeback Aug. 18, 2023, at the Fallon County Fair & Rodeo in Baker, Montana, where Proctor and Logan Medlin were 4.6 to get the win. For Proctor, it was a whirlwind of emotions.

“You can see him puff up—he’s antsy, and I can’t help but smile,” Proctor said. “He scored great. I gave him a go, and he just laid the barrier back. He kept his space, I got it on the horns, and he was just on the money. I was scared a little bit to finish, but he was good. There was a lot of hard work that went into getting that run back, and I was emotional because of it.”

READ: Coleman Proctor on Winning the All-Around at The Daddy: ‘This is Every Cowboy’s Dream’

Admiral’s return is a direct result of the great care he received as a Signature Equine Hospital patient in Stephenville, Texas, over the past year. The hard work hasn’t stopped, though. Admiral has an extensive list of requirements to keep him sound and in fighting shape. 

“Theramics, mud, Previcoxx and Adequan,” Proctor explained. “A pregame Bemer; I warm him up, ice him immediately and follow with mud. There’s a laundry list of things for a 4.5-second run, but he’s good enough I want to keep doing it.”

The additional efforts are a no-brainer for the seven-time NFR qualifier, as the palomino is worth his weight in gold to Proctor. Since adding Admiral to his team in 2019, they’ve garnered some big wins together: the 2020 Robertson Hill Winter Classic Open, 2020 Hork Dog and he helped Proctor and Medlin put together a $15,000 Fourth run in 2022. Admiral also played a part in Proctor’s 2022 Cheyenne Frontier Days all-around win.

Coleman Proctor Lena Spark Dunit, aka "Admiral."
Coleman Proctor’s Lena Spark Dunit, aka “Admiral.”

“He’s so great, I don’t know how to train it into one,” Proctor said. “He’s efficient without taking advantage of you, and he’s the easiest horse I’ve ever roped the horns on. When it hits the horns, he brings the run together; it’s so vital for me. I have a heeler that throws fast, but I’m older and I don’t throw as far. So, it’s been a big shot in the arm getting Admiral into the lineup here in the fourth quarter.”

Admiral also helped Proctor and Medlin get another fourth-quarter win at the Golden Spike Rodeo in Tremonton, Utah, where they were 4.0 to take home the win and $4,790 a man.

Road to Recovery 

Getting Admiral back into Proctor’s arsenal took extensive work and care. Last summer in Cheyenne, Admiral overextended, tearing some scar tissue loose and causing calcification on the tendon. Proctor sent him straight to Signature Equine, where he was under the care of Charlie Buchanan and Lane Bargar—the same team that took care of Admiral after his first injury in 2020.

“The tendon was trying to calcify and was losing its flexibility,” Proctor explained. “They got ground-breaking equipment to remove calcium deposits off his tendon—a 10X Machine [Charlie] bought—and started putting it to work on the horse. It drops lidocaine on the deposits, and the same needle can remove them. From the middle of the cannon bone down, it’s clean from calcium. Our hope was to get scar tissue to come back, and the tendon started healing itself. Honestly, the leg will actually be stronger, in theory, than the year before.”

READ: Coleman Proctor’s Admiral Sent Back to the Sidelines

Originally, Proctor tried not to think of Admiral as an option for the 2023 ProRodeo season. With a strong team of horses like Ricky Bobby, Mills and Hawk, he was in good shape anyway. But under the close care of Buchanan and Bargar, Admiral’s recovery became impressive. 

“He got started on the walker, and he just kept progressing good,” Proctor said. “I was trying not to get excited. Charlie wanted me to take him the week of Lawton (Oklahoma) and rope slow steers on him for two weeks, but professional sports players learning to trust their injuries is an issue. I went to a friend’s house the week of Caldwell and ran one the first day and lost a shoe. Second day, I ran three and he was great. My plan was to crack him out at Kennewick, but I decided to try him out at Baker instead.”

With a $4,524-check from Baker, it’s safe to say Buchanan’s and Bargar’s efforts were just what Admiral needed to get back to his old self. With all they’ve done for Admiral and Proctor, they’ve become like family.

“At this point, he’s as much their horse as he is mine,” Proctor said. “We’ve had horses down there forever. The fact that they take the time and try to do it with me, I feel very blessed.”

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