The thor­ough­bred who Learned to Dance

EQUUS - - Tack& Gear - By Sarah Kinzbach Wil­liams Fol­low Fel­low’s progress at good­ In­ter­ested in help­ing a lo­cal res­cue? Find one in your area through AHomeForEv­eryHorse. com. This story is brought to you by Pu­rina An­i­mal Nutrition. Feed Great­ness®. Find out more abo

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.

Les­sons Learned

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.

A Prom­ise

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.

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