by Sarabeth Asaff
A few years ago, at the age of nineteen, I was out in Montana, visiting
relatives. While there, I was asked to help re-train a horse so that
grandchildren could ride her. On a beautiful sunny morning, I woke
early to get in some riding time before breakfast. I was thinking about
how blue the sky was, and about the mare I was training...wondering how
she would take to my riding her bareback. I was uncomfortable with the
western saddle, having ridden English since I was a little girl. I was
not thinking about Davy Jones, the man who I'd once had a crush on at
the age of ten.
After riding for a little bit, I went back to my aunt's house to see if
my cousin wanted to ride with me. The mare had to get used to carrying
two children at once, and since neither my cousin, nor I, were all that
big, I figured it would work.
Unfortunately, my cousin spooked the horse as she prepared to get on,
and the mare began to prance and buck. Since I'd been riding from the
age of five, and was known as one of New England's up and coming new
riders, I didn't give it much thought. I simply sat calmly, waiting on
the horse to calm down. I leaned over her neck to pat her, and reassure
her that there was nothing to be frightened of.
But as my cousin came up behind her, I was caught unaware when the mare
spooked one more time, cracking one last buck. I was already off-balance.
I popped right off, and was thrown against a stone fountain in the yard,
splitting my head open on the rim of the fountain.
A few days later, in the hospital, I was unable to stop crying. Up until
this point, my life had revolved around two things; art/acting, and
horses. My parents thought that I had a better shot at making a living
with horses, so they pushed me to make that my career, even as I took
classes in art/theater in college. Now I was being told by doctors
that I might never ride again....that I wouldn't have the same control
over my body....and that another blow to the same spot on my head could
do permanent damage. I hadn't been wearing a helmet at the time of the
accident, but now have one, specially made in England, to protect that
part of my head.
To cheer me up and take my mind off all this, my brother bought me some
videos of The Monkees. He asked me, "Remember when we were kids...how
we used to watch this show every day?" "And we never believed our mother
when she told us that it had been made in the sixties?" "I always wanted
to be Micky Dolenz, and you always wanted to marry Davy Jones!" I had to
smile through my tears.
As we watched the video, I gradually stopped crying, and started to fall
in love with Davy Jones all over again! There was one scene that sobered
me up, and set me to thinking: An episode where Davy rides a race horse
to save it. It dawned on me that he had once been a jockey, and I wondered
if he still rode. I asked my aunt, who had been a David Jones fan even
before the Monkees, when she saw him in "Oliver!" on Broadway.
She told me that, yes, he still rode,and brought me in an article the
next day that she had saved. Apparently, just a short time before, David
had been injured in a horse racing accident, and had broken his shin.
The article went on to say that he was still touring, and that he had
plans to continue racing. At first I empathized with his injury, but then
it hit me. This man was doing all the things that I loved! He was
working with horses, and in the arts. He was leading the life that I'd
always dreamed of leading. As of that minute, he became my hero, and
The months passed, and I was back at school. I was still recovering,
still not riding, but doing my best to find out everything I could about
David and the Monkees. I was intrigued by the story of how the four of
them had never been allowed to play their own music, but now, thirty
years later, they had done it with their own album, "Justus". If this
wasn't enough inspiration to keep going, I soon learned that David had
won his first race. He had done it at the age of fifty, on Digpast, the
horse that his daughter had bought for him. I was determined that even
if it took me thirty years, I was going to accomplish my dreams; both in
the arts and in horses, just like David had done. Within a few months
of that, I was referred to a man who is said to be among the best at
bringing horses and riders back to their top form.
AT his farm, I met a horse named Milky Way. He was recovering from serious
injuries of his own. Although it was some time before I was able to ride
him, it was inevitable that the girl who was never supposed to ride again,
and the horse who was never going to work again, were to become a great
team! It pleased me no end to learn that my trainer's wife was a Monkees
fan, and I learned how to "sit trot" dressage, in time to "I'm a Believer".
My trainer told me that the best thing about this sport is that you can
keep getting better until you can't walk. And he told me the story of
a man who rode his first three day event at the age of seventy-six!
I, in turn, told him about David...winning his first race at the age of
fifty. He laughed and told me that whatever my inspiration was, to stick
Seven months ago, I was told that since I was the only one who could
work with Milky Way, whose mind was shattered when he injured his back,
I was being given the chance to take him and make him my own. The
alternative was for Milky Way to be put down. It had taken so much
patience for me to learn to ride again, that it was only natural for
me to transfer that patience to whatever horse I was riding. It was
that patience that Milky Way responded to, when he didn't seem to respond
to anything else. So I took the chance, and bought the horse.
Another thing to thank David for; if I hadn't learned to ride again,
an amazing horse would either still be locked in the darkness of his mind,
or could possibly be dead.
Now, just a few months later, and three hundred miles away from Massachusetts,
and that farm where we both recovered; Milky Way and I are competing
together at Training Level (third level), with the USCTA. When I decided
that it was time to get out of Boston for awhile and try my hand at being
an artist, horse rider/instructor, I found a horse racing farm in southern
Pennsylvania. I would work for a year, training the horses, and testing
the waters for my "come back" into national competition. I remembered that
David had once said that Pennsylvania was one of the most beautiful places
he'd ever seen, and that clinched it. Within three months, Milky Way and I
were on our way south.
Though I've never met David, he remains an inspiration to me when things
get tough. Because of him, I know that one day I'll make it. Maybe I'll
be fifty, maybe I'll be seventy-six, but I'll make it!
........An update on Sarabeth's story- At the concert at Hershey Park, PA,
on December 11th, she was to meet her hero! David had mentioned having
several horses to sell on his website. Sarabeth contacted him about the
possibility of buying one for her boss, and David met her back stage at
Hershey! They are now discussing the tranfer of ownership, and Sarabeth
has been to David's house, taken the horse on a trial basis, and they
are getting to know one another. Sara has accomplished what hundreds
of us would give anything to do. She has become David's friend. Whatever
else she may do in her lifetime, nothing else will ever compare to that!
Below is a picture of David's horse, "GG", and Sarabeth, and if you look
closely at the bottom, you will see David's shadow as he takes the photo!
That is some beautiful mare, and Sara says, like her father, GG is very
social and talkative, and dislikes being separated from the others!
TAKE THE TOUR!
GUESTBOOK & LINKS!
HE STANDS THERE, A POEM FROM A FAN"
THE NEW YORK SEMINAR!
A KISS FROM A GOD!
ANOTHER DREAM COME TRUE--THE HUG!
A TEENAGER'S IDOL, TARA'S STORY!
THE DAVY JONES LEGACY!
HOW WE FEEL-A LETTER TO DAVID!
A PSYCHOLOGIST'S VIEWS!
LOVE POETRY TO DAVID!
THE DUEL WITH PETER NOONE!
DAVID'S CHINESE HOROSCOPE!
ST PETERSBURG TIMES INTERVIEW!
SEND A DAVY POSTCARD!!
AN INTERVIEW FROM DAVID'S HOMETOWN PAPER!
A REVIEW OF THE JAPAN TOUR!!
A FAN'S ORIGINAL POEM TO DAVID! YOVA'S PAGE!