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Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Legend Who Will Never Be Forgotten

Last week while I was at my training class in Portland, My Man called me...his news was sad...

John Sharp passed away peacefully in his sleep at the age of 94.

Back in 2001, I needed help gentling my first wild horse, Coyote. I couldn't get my hand past his eye...I hadn't a clue what to do. My friend suggested I get a hold of John Sharp. She said he was very experienced and had a video showing his technique. So, I called John and he invited me out to his place.

What a wonderful, kind old man. He had to show me every horse on the property telling me about their breeding and what he had done with them. Mares, babies, geldings, and his stallion Red was a very memorable day. Then he explained his gentling techniques. It sounded easy enough and something I could mysterious round pen work...a hands on "fishing for horses" that was quite intriguing. I couldn't wait to get home to give it a try. So, I bought his video and his knot tying book, autographed of course ;~). And, he gave me a bamboo pole too!

I sat down and watched the video over and over about 5 times...I think I'm ready! I grab the bamboo pole and my 1/2" cotton rope and head out to the pen. I do not lie. I had my hands all over Coyote within 45 minutes!!! I was one happy cowgirl I tell ya!

Coyote's first time out of the pen!

Thank you John Sharp for teaching me and hundreds of others a wonderful training technique that is helping wild horses every day. But, as John taught, the pole and the rope are tools to use on any horse, domestic or wild...and truer words could not have been said. I use the rope treatment on every horse I start. You left a legacy many will treasure.

I vision that John is sitting tall in the saddle again watching over all of us...he will be guiding us along when we get stuck on one of those hard to gentle horses. Thank goodness~~

Thanks for helping make Coyote
the wonderful horse he is today.



jane augenstein said...

What a wonderful story about your horse; so sad to hear of a great horseman passing.
How lucky for you to have met and gotten to learn his technicians for horse training. Coyote is beautiful!

a passion 'n frames said...

We all have teachers that inspire us to work as one with our horses. I am glad you found yours and every horse you grow to know will be lucky. I enjoy reading your blog and seeing such positive results.

the7msn said...

What a lucky cowgirl you are to learn at the hands of a master like Mr. Sharp. I love the concept "fishing for horses." It implies patience - the most important training tool of all.

Ed said...

Cool story, I've had mentors like that in my life. Great pics by the way... :-)

Anonymous said...

It's wonderful what a difference wonderful horsemen and women make in our lives and those of our horses. I've have the good fortune as well to work with a horseman like John, whose approach is based on close observation of the horse and a consistent and quiet approach. You were very lucky - thanks for passing on the information.

CTG Ponies said...

What a nice tribute to a true horseman.

Mikey said...

Amazing. What a wonderful man! He will surely be missed by many.

Kathleen Coy said...

What a great story, his work lives on through people like you. Loved seeing the pictures too, Coyote is beautiful!

C-ingspots said...

Sad to hear about John's passing. He'll be missed, but you're right for his legend will live on. What an honor for you to have gotten to spend an afternoon with him. What a treasure! I first learned of John when I saw him on Oregon Field Guide, but never had the pleasure of knowing him personally. Thank you Karen for this lovely and informative tribute to a wonderful horseman.

Broken Y said...

What a wonderful life experience for you to store up in your heart and treasure forever.


The Wife said...

A great tribute to a great horseman. No better way to show your gratitude than with a great horse story.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

What a fascinating man and legend. He wll never be forgotten as he has left behind his amazing legacy in his kind and patient ways in gentling horses and training many others his wonderful ways.
Just imagine how many horses and humans have been affected by his methods. Wow!
And to think that you had the opportunity to work with him. Coyote is Mr. Sharp's legacy to you.

God speed to heaven on the winged hooves of horses, Mr Sharp.


The W.O.W. factor said...

A great memory for you to carry always. And wonderful ideas for you to can carry on his legacy with.

Shirley said...

What a blessing for you to have known this gentleman; thanks for the links about him. It was interesting to read about his fishing technique, because that is pretty much the way I got through to Chickory, who wouldn't let anyone touch her for the longest time. Interesting!

Pony Girl said...

Sad loss, for sure. What a gorgeous horse Coyote grew up to! I will have to check out his techniques. It sounds pretty amazing, and common sense!

Andrea said...

He lived a very long life! He was a very neat man, for sure. It was so great that you got to learn from him. And totally off the subject, but girl, where can I get a waist like you have??

Reddunappy said...

So sorry to hear about John, I never had a chance to meet him, but my cousin and his wife were friends with him, and bought a couple of horses from him. They even stayed at the ranch a few times and helped feed the stock with the team. My cousin said that he has been ill for several years, and it sounds like he realy deserves to go to horsemans heaven!

May you ride a good horse in heaven John!

gtyyup said...

Thank you everyone for your wonderful comments. I'm really glad that the links were of interest and use to you. It's just basic desensitizing really. The pole method gets you up to the horse, the rope treatment gets him used to feel, giving to pressure, and movement.

I find that using the rope treatment on the colts I start during saddle training, makes the process of getting them used to swinging the lariat and dragging a log much easier.

John Sharp had a heart that just wouldn't quit...the last time I saw him work a wild horse (at a clinic at his ranch), he was packing around a tank of oxygen and a stool while working the horse!! I hope I have half the gumption he had!'re just too funny...not having any kids and forgetting to eat is the secret...shhhh...don't tell a soul ;~)

Reddunappy...yes, John had been failing for quite a few years. I used to take braiding classes from his wife Joyce in the winter time when we lived in Central Oregon, and John would come out to the bunkhouse to visit on class night and spin a few yarns when he felt up to it. He had the most amazing stories about horses and adventures...sigh...we last saw him at his 90th birthday bash...tootling around in his scooter!

I forgot to give photo credits to my late mother Marie Jackson. This was her last visit out to our place and she took all these pics of Coyote and me...she kept saying "I can't believe you can do all this." She never really understood her daughter's love of still brings tears to my eyes...I think she finally understood. Thanks mom~~

Jocelyn said...

What a fantastic story!

Coyote is drop dead gorgeous! You are so lucky to have been able to know such a legend!

And YOU! So Skinny and a great figure! Sign me up for that!

mugwump said...

This method is new to me and very interesting. Since I am going to be starting my last colt in a few weeks (I sound so sure don't I?) I think I'll study this a bit. It might be fun.

kdwhorses said...

What a great tribute to a wonderful horseman! I will be checking into his links, thanks for sharing. I'm sure he is sitting high in the saddle on a great stick watching over us all!

You were blessed to have had such a knowlegable horseman and spent time with him. I posted about Jim Fuller and he is a amazing horseman. Very kind, no flashy, just a good old honest man! I value his opinion a lot. We know several trainers that are that way, just such a wealth of info.

Sorry for the loss and will read more about him.

Tracey said...

Never met John, but have met Kitty and I must admit to going back to her videos of Ranger's training more than once while working with my makeover horses. John was a legend even while he was living and contributed greatly to the wild horse community.

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