This Blog is dedicated to the Noble and Great horses in our lives and throughout history. Visit the land of the unicorns in Behind The Mist, the horse lover's fantasy for pre-teens to adults.

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

DIA'S DEMON HORSE - Inspiration for Hasbadana

If you have read Behind the Mist already, you will know that Hasbadana is the ultimate BAD HORSE. Whenever I would write about him, I would be picturing the 32 foot tall statue that "greets" travelers as they arrive at or depart from Denver International Airport. It is mounted on a concrete and steel slab between the lanes along Pena Boulevard. You can't miss it...fortunately or unfortunately, depending upon your definition of art. In any case, "Mustang" as the City of Denver art commissioners call it or "Demon Horse" as I call it, was my inspiration for the evil Lord of the Dark Kingdom: Hasbadana.

Workers installing the Demon Horse in February, 2008

The story of the Demon horse is very interesting, while at the same time very tragic. The sculpture was commission by the City of Denver in 1992 to be the crowning piece for their new, overly expensive but beautiful airport. In Behind the Mist, DIA is referred to as the "white peaks on the plains" in reference to the canvas mountain-like peaked roof. Luis Jimenez from New Mexico was selected to complete the work and was offered $300,000 to do so if he completed it by year after the completion of the airport. Jimenez's son said that from the onset, the artist and the horse had a "love-hate" relationship. Sixteen years, four missed deadlines, two lawsuits and one death later, the long-awaited "Demon Horse" was finally corraled.

In June of 2006, the fiberglass torso portion of the sculpture swung out of control and fell on Luis Jimenez while it was being hoisted in the artist's Hondo, New Mexico Studio. The City of Denver immediately claimed ownership of the sculpture and spent another $350,000 to rehab it, ship it to California for completion, ship it back to Colorado, install it and dedicate it. I don't know about you, but I think the dedication was necessary at this point!

On You-tube I found the the perfect song for the evil unicorn, Hasbadana:

The real thoroughbred of sin is Hasbadana! If you haven't learned to hate him yet, please buy a copy of Behind the will be glad you did!

Purchase your own copy of Behind the Mist on its own website:

or wherever fine books are sold!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

DARKER N BEY - A story of love and perserverance

Here is another story from Jan Sharp, the owner of Black Tie Affair that I wrote about in the last post.

Since I have shown Arabian horses for nearly 40 years and am a trick horse trainer, when Darken was born, I expected him to become a champion show horse and a trick horse super star. He would be my star pupil who would reflect my years of horse training skills. A champion in the making for sure.

What I got was a crooked-legged, scaredy cat colt who was afraid of his own shadow. He over reacted to everything he saw and heard for no reason. Sudden movements practically knocked him off his feet. Standing a bit like a duck, it would seem he didn't have much future as a show horse and hope of him becoming a trick horse dissolved when he refused to learn any tricks.

I gave up trying to teach him tricks and went to work trying to get him to just behave like a normal horse. He had no intention of being normal. As a two year old, he fractured his skull somehow in his stall and needed surgery to repair the broken bones in his forehead. More surgery came later when he developed a massive infection after being gelded. After he recovered, he proved to not take to be ridden either. He'd spook and bolt at the slightest noises.

Then, one day, all that changed. He walked out of his stall and started to perform tricks on his own. He bowed, he lay down, he sat - all things I never taught him. The horse I thought might never fulfill the dreams I had for him had taught himself tricks. Apparently, his ablibly to teach himself tricks and quickly learn new ones I taught him gave him a new focus in life and there was no stopping him.

Despite standing crooked in the front at times, he went on to become a reserve world champion in halter. And, dispite being difficult to ride, he went on to earn the high score Arabian award at his first big rated open dressage show and qualified for the sport horse nationals.

By sharing his story with hundreds of kids, he teaches them to never give up because of any obstacles in their life. His example of perseverance gives hope to those who perhaps find their own life challenged in some way. Many kids can relate to the roadblocks he faced in his early life. His mother died when he was young, he suffered several medical emergencies and surgeries, he was very timid and shy, and it seemed as if he had no real talent in anything, Yet, he stuck with it and kept going.

Darken did became a trick horse star and he's been an inspiration to hundreds of people. He continues to share his story with kids and performs his tricks at horse shows, schools, Pony Club, nursing homes, special needs homes, horse shows, camps, benefits, and charity events as well as pursuing his career in the show ring.

Darken, the little horse who not only could, but did.

Jan Sharp
Ashtabula, Ohio

P.S. I have written a book about my trials and adventures with Darken ( the true story of his first 5 years ) and am working on getting it published. If you have any connections in the publishing business, just let me know!


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

T.S. BLACK TIE AFFAIR - Trick horse

Continuing my theme of horses immortalized by Breyer, I contacted the owner of T.S. Black Tie Affair, a new Breyer horse. Jan Sharp sent me the following pictures and stories about this beautiful stallion who will surely earn his unicorn horn someday!

Black Tie is a 21 year old 7/8 Arabian pinto stallion. When I saw his photo in an Arabian magazine, I contacted his owner on the other side of the country to ask about breeding some of my mares to him and ended up buying the whole horse instead. When I got him home, he would charge the front of his stall at me. So, being a trick horse trainer, I knew he needed to change his attitude and give him a new direction and focus in his life, so I would begin to teach him tricks. The first trick I taught him was to lay down. The next day when he charged his stall door at me, this time I turned around and yelled at him. He looked a bit startled, then retreated to the rear of his stall and promptly lay down. He had no idea what I was yelling about, but he had connected that laying down made me happy, so he lay down. That was the start of his brilliant trick horse career and he never charged the door again.

Eighteen years later, he had performed for tens of thousands of people, stood amid wheelchairs and walkers, and put his head into baby buggies so toddlers could pet him. Many kids first contact with a real live horse has been by touching Black Tie's velvety soft nose. I use him to both entertain and educate children about horses. They always ask the most funny questions. They want to see his teeth and his horse shoes, things they never get to see if their only contact with horses is from their TV set.
We have a good time teaching kids about horses. Black Tie stands motionless amid hundreds of kids when we visit schools. He knows he needs to be careful around them.

Not only did Black Tie become a star trick horse, but also in the show ring. He has earned 22 Pinto World and Reserve World Championships, the Pinto Open Supreme Championship, two World Show trophy saddles, and over 3800+ show points in all divisions. In 2010, he earned the Arabian Ambassador Award from the Arabian Horse Association for his many years of sharing his talents with so many people for so many years. Black Tie is also the star of the how-to book, "Trick Training Your Horse To Success" (Eclipse Press).
In 2011, Black Tie became a Breyer model horse, which opened the doors to him reaching every more people. Just knowing that somewhere out there, there are little girls sleeping with a Black Tie model, or have it standing on a place of honor, makes me happy. I hope that Black Tie and I have done our own little part of helping to ignite a love of horses to a whole new generation of children. That would make us very happy.

Jan Sharp

Thank you Jan!
You can follow Black Tie Affair on his own facebook page by clicking here:

Visit me next week for another story by Jan Sharp.

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or to the Behind the Mist facebook page:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

SSgt Reckless - Her story deserves to be told

Did you know that in the 1990's Life Magazine named a horse as one of the 100 all time greatest American Heros? That's right! A little, sorrel, Mongolian mare was a war hero, serving our country and our soldiers during the Korean war. Reckless deserves to have her story told. Watch this touching video!

Staff Sargeant Reckless deserves to become a unicorn. God Bless America and God Bless Reckless as she gallops across the flower-filled fields of Celestia!