The thoroughbred who Learned to Dance
He spooked. He cribbed. He was barely broke to ride. Bred to race with a career sidelined by unfortunate circumstance, Mystical Harbor, or “Fellow” (Harbor Man x Gambling Joy), was
a highly reactive 4-year-old Thoroughbred gelding at the mercy of human decision.
Enter Kimberly Godwin Clark and Thoroughbred Placement Resources, an A Home For Every Horse rescue in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
Known for her knack with difficult horses, Clark was contacted by Fellow’s owner for help in 2013.
“She was afraid of him, and she was afraid of what would happen to him,” said Clark. Understanding the precarious
situation of notoriously difficult horses, she took the gelding sight unseen.
Thoroughbred Placement Resources, or TPR, is home to Thoroughbreds with various abilities and backgrounds. Like she does with all horses at TPR, Clark was ready to assess Fellow and ensure that he had proper training and a suitable home for his abilities. However, as Fellow’s training progressed, she uncovered his innate talent for dressage and his love for people.
For years, Clark has evaluated, promoted and placed Thoroughbreds as upper-level prospects with top riders. She managed the rise of Constant Star, a Thoroughbred mare who won the Breeder’s Bridge to High Performance Contest (hosted by John Madden Sales) and is now owned by Olympian Tad Coffin. She placed fourstar eventer Houdini with Katie Ruppel as a 3-year-old. Clark’s Thoroughbreds are ambassadors striving for the echelons of Bally Cor, Touch of Class and Jet Run.
As with any breed, cultivating the talent of a young, athletic Thoroughbred takes time, proper nutrition and a lot of training. Matching horses to the right discipline with the best training and Purina® horse feed has been Clark’s model for success to help her Thoroughbreds reach upper levels.
“I don’t select the horses that come here,” said Clark. “They come here, I evaluate them, ride them and then go, ‘Hmm, what is your best purpose?’ ”
For Fellow’s best purpose, Clark expanded her own dressage skills and partnered with FEI dressage judge and trainer Linda Zang. Now 9 years old, Fellow has amassed a show record through Third Level and is ready to take on more; he’s solidly schooling Fourth Level with a repertoire of Intermediaire movements.
As he continues to progress in dressage, Clark is on the lookout for the right person to partner with Fellow. But it’s not his talent and training she feels most responsible for—it’s preserving his complete trust in people.
“He completely trusts,” she remarked. “He does not realize that [humans] could ever be unfair to him. I don’t ever want him to know. He has a joy associated with him because of that.”
The gelding’s love of people and generosity under saddle have led to a fan club of Fellow followers. “The further he goes, the more amazing he becomes,” said Clark. “We call him ‘Mr. Wow.’ ”
Clark and Thoroughbred Placement Resources are pursuing sponsorships for Fellow to continue training with Zang, showing and allowing him to “wow” the world.
With help from Kimberly Godwin Clark, Fellow has found his niche as a competitive dressage horse.