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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!


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