We could all use a bit of Silky Sullivan in our lives
If you have HoofPrints' Favorite Horse Quotes Calendar you would know that on this day in 1957 Silky Sullivan won the Golden Gate Futurity after making up 27 lengths.
His name is now a term used in sports and politics for someone who seems so far behind the competition that they cannot win, yet they do.
Until I started work on the calendars, I'd never heard of Silky Sullivan. Racing journalist Peter Monaco tells us that in the late 1950s, Silky Sullivan was a household name; synonymous with winning a losing battle.

"Silky, often ridden by the great Bill Shoemaker, was nicknamed Mr. Heart Attack, and for good reason. This horse didn't just come from the clouds, he came from another planet! I've heard many stories of old timers who tore up their betting tickets while watching the horse hopelessly left behind, only to go through the garbage and try to tape together their winning slips.

In 1957, Silly won the Golden Gate Futurity, easily making up 27 lengths on the field. In a race at Santa Anita in 1958, Silky took back some 41 lengths off the leaders and passed them all to win by open lengths in a 6-1/2-furlong sprint! What's even more amazing is he ran the last quarter-mile of that race in 22 seconds."

You can read the rest of the article, as well as see video of Silky Sullivan's amazing come-from-behind wins here
Did you find this Silky Sullivan trivia interesting?
Consider ordering HoofPrints' own Favorite Horse Quotes Calendar for 2020.
Each month has all the traditional holidays noted, as well as dozens of fun and interesting horse related anniversaries. ALSO MAKES A GREAT GIFT! - Shipping is FREE and I can send it directly to your recipient along with a hand written gift card.
Shown here is April; this month features Sybil Ludington. She is celebrated as a heroine of the American Revolutionary War. She rode to alert militia forces in the towns of Putnam County, New York and Danbury, Connecticut on the night of April 26, 1777 at age 16, warning of the approach of the British. Ludington reportedly rode more than twice the distance attributed to Paul Revere and was much younger.
There's a larger than life statue dedicated to her in Carmel, NY; that's the background image behind the calendar numbers. More about her here.
The calendar is a super deal, too, each month also features a Coupon Code to be used for big savings on selected items that month, with the biggest being a refund of the entire purchase price of the calendar ($14.95) to be used on your $40+ order placed in 2019.
It's been 6 years since I shared the wonderful news that Beautiful Jim Key was being made into a movie, with Morgan Freeman as the star
At the time, filming was supposed to commence in 2015, but it didn't happen. Funding had not been secured, so sadly, things did not move forward. Every year at catalog time, I'd drop a note to author Mim Eichler Rivas - asking about the status of the production. And every year I'd get disappointing news that made me feel like hope for the project was waning.
I have raved about this book for years. Suffice to say it is one of my favorites. I like books that are engaging. Meaning that they cause me to think, and to ask questions. Although it is a fine line - if there are too many questions and not enough answers, then I feel the author has not done his or her job of providing sufficient details to keep the reader interested in the story.

You will have your own questions, too, if you read this book. "How in the world did such an amazing story slip into obscurity?" "Why didn't horse lovers latch onto this equine cultural icon - and keep his memory alive?" Most of us know about Clever Hans - the horse who was able to read the subtle body language of humans, and could answer all manner of questions. It was subsequently proven that if the person asking Hans the question did not know the answer, then he did not either - thus denouncing Hans' "cleverness" after all. Ironically, Harvard experts studied Beautiful Jim Key and were not able to relegate his alleged 6th grade intelligence to some sort of ruse or parlor trick. So why was he forgotten?
Jim Key's owner/trainer Dr William Key was a former slave. He traveled with his horse to places where he was regarded as something below the animal he was presenting. His educated, dignified image, openness and kindness with Jim Key often softened the hearts of those who would otherwise oppose him solely due to his race.
Here are a few bits of trivia from the book that I find remarkable: 
- Jim Key (the horse) was a half Arabian stallion (his dam was an Arabian mare formerly owned by PT Barnum - who was purported to be worth her weight in gold - exhibited as such - then forgotten, abused and neglected... this is a fascinating story in it's own right) 
- Dr Key followed his master's sons as they fought in the civil war - himself fighting - as he looked after their well being as best he could. 
- Dr Key was imprisoned at one point during the war, and was able to win his freedom through a series of card games. 
- Beautiful Jim Key was the first real "spokes-horse" for the humane movement. Serving to provoke thought in a society who previously viewed horses as only transportation - without any reason to consider that they should be treated compassionately. 
- This story nearly faded into obscurity - but Dr Key had meticulously kept a trunk of records, documentation, etc. Through a series of fascinating coincidences, this information came to Tennessee native and author Mim Eichler Rivas. As if chosen by fate to tell the story - Rivas rose marvelously to the challenge. The resulting book, Beautiful Jim Key is one that should be in everyone's library.
However, getting the likes of MORGAN FREEMAN to agree to star does not ensure that that film will be able to be made
But maybe now, with this new development, the needed funding will be secured. A couple weeks ago, renowned film maker David Hoffman posted this 15 minute video about Beautiful Jim Key on YouTube.
His enthusiasm for the story is palpable, and he mentions the need for funding. Hoffman's YouTube channel has 547,000 subscribers, and so far this video has been viewed over TWO MILLION times.
With that kind of exposure, I am so very hopeful that funding will be secured and this project will finally come to fruition. David Hoffman's video is here

Producer Lori McCreary's words from 2014 still ring true today; "Every once in a while a story comes along that is the perfect confluence of real events and profound truth, and every once in a while there is a character that is written so well, that it deserves Morgan Freeman's presence. Beautiful Jim Key is both."
Going Steady by Anna Blake
Folks who are friends with me on Facebook (if you're not, send me a request here) know that I quote Anna Blake - A LOT. So I am thrilled to announce that I have her latest book Going Steady - More Relationship Advice from Your Horse here on the shelves at HoofPrints. This softcover book is just 318 pages, but it might as well be a million, for all the wisdom contained therein. Each chapter is short; just a few pages, but every single one contains profound words like those above, words that summarize a powerful, complex concept into a memorable, eloquent sentence or two with losing any of the meaning. 
Anna now has a special online group; The Relaxed and Forward Barn, where she answers individual questions, shares videos, comments on other folks' shared videos, and more. So many of the members (myself included) are engaged in perpetual struggle; trying to unlearn and leave behind all the conventional training we were taught that now looks a whole lot more like bullying than partnership.

This new book speaks to that struggle, is profound and encouraging - in actionable ways. Like this: "Continue to cue cleanly, clearly, and consistently. The other word for that is honesty. It's a profound relief to just say what you mean. No longer biting your tongue, soon confidence seeps in because honesty just feels good. Nice correction, give yourself a pat. Most women have known enough confident asshats that confidence has gotten a bad name.

Redefine confidence is a sense of positive well-being based in honesty. Set about demonstrating that for your horse. Know that training a horse to have confidence, to feel peace and acceptance, is the resolution for every problem he will ever encounter. Leadership is giving a feeling of safety. Correct your stiff contradictions and anxiety about not being good enough. Recognize you're passing it on to your horse, causing the behaviors you want to correct in him. Discipline yourself to accept your shortcomings and promise to do better. Love yourself as much as you love horses.

Your horse doesn't care if you're always right; he just wants to trust himself through your partnership. Your confidence is his confidence. Train that."
Just for Farriers! This super heavy Quarter Zip Sweatshirt
This super heavy quarter zip pullover looks sharp and is a hard worker. It's made of super heavyweight 12.5 oz 80% cotton/20% polyester fashion fleece. Choose Deep Spruce or Maroon with contrasting trim on collar, cuffs and waistband. It's got two side seam pockets and is embroidered with HoofPrints own Tools of the Trade logo.

These are generously sized; they shrink a bit with laundering. Machine wash with no special care - the examples you see in this photo have been washed and dried on normal settings, and the collar and trim came out as nice and smooth as it was when it went in.
Gina Keesling started HoofPrints in 1986 to provide helpful promotional materials for farrier husband Rob. Along the way she added a fun selection of horse and dog products geared toward women of a certain age. This newsletter is emailed to subscribers a few times a month. Watch for sales, stories (including dog-bathing instructions) and more.
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I have awesome customer service reps available 24/7 to take your order or answer questions at 765-724-7004, or email gina@hoofprints.com