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Paving His Own Way- Carl Sims

Filed under: Featured,The Buzz |     

IMG_0166By: Brittany Bevis

While Heather Harkey was searching for a photographer for the 2016-2017 season, she received a tip about a young man, still in high school, who loved horses and was looking to build his portfolio. Ordinarily, she wouldn’t have selected a teenager to photograph her string of show horses, but something about this kid seemed special.

“I live in a small town south of Houston, TX. called Dickinson,” Heather says. “There aren’t a lot of horse show people in Dickinson, and he went to the same high school I graduated from 15 years ago. Something told me to call this kid, meet him, and give him a shot. So I did, and it all began.”

The young man who showed up at Heather’s ranch was Carl Sims. “He got out of his car with a smile that I couldn’t forget,” she says. “He did the photo shoot and the whole time was telling me how beautiful my horses were and how he dreamed one day of showing horses. I asked him how much I owed him for his time, and he said not to worry about it.”

After a bit of convincing, Heather was able to coax a price out of Carl- a mere $75. “I said, ‘That’s underpriced for your time and skills, Bud.’ He was so thankful and finally took my money and went on his way. I thought, as he pulled out of my driveway, ‘Wow, what a remarkable young man.’ I started thinking, ‘What could I do to help him?’ He already had a horse, just no knowledge of the grooming, feeding, lights, blankets, clipping, and everything else that comes with making a show horse.”

Heather and Carl at the 2017 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Heather and Carl at the 2017 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

So, Heather asked Carl if she could check out his horse and possibly offer a bit of professional advice. He jumped at the opportunity. “I showed up and it was a decent looking Paint mare. She just needed some polishing, brushing, clipping and a better feeding program. Before I left the barn, I gave him some stuff: a sheet, blanket, slinky, a couple of buckets, brushes, bell boots, and a chain with a lead. He teared up and said that I would never understand how much he appreciated the help.”

Carl remembers the day vividly. “Heather sent me an email February 25th, 2016. I’ll never forget the words, ‘Hi Carl. Good to have a fellow Dickinson person interested in show horses. I’ve been showing in AQHA for 26 years. If I could help or assist you in any way, let me know.’ From that day forward, I can’t count how many times she’s helped me. She’s helped me get through everything from a colic episode, to clipping a yearling, to meeting some of AQHA’s finest people who have treated me with the utmost respect. Heather is truly an inspiration, motivator, and is very selfless. God does things for a reason and brings people into your life unexpectedly. She’s a blessing.”

IMG_0168A New Horse

Now, Carl has a new partner for 2017, a 2-year-old APHA solid paint-bred mare named MMR Very Obvious, aka “Callie.” Carl picked her out and purchased her from the Marimore Ranch in Bellville, Texas. He’s competing this week at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for the first time. It’s all quite impressive considering the fact that Carl is the first male in his family to graduate from high school and often works two jobs to pay the bills. Also, he recently received a scholarship to Blinn College. He plans to transfer to Texas A&M University within the year to study Agricultural Business.

Because Carl expressed an interest in Halter, Heather connected him with fellow professional, Todd Grant. “I’ve been fitting on this filly since November with the help of Todd. He answers any questions that I may have concerning fitting my filly. He’s a great mentor. Without him, this horse wouldn’t be at her greatest potential, regarding the lack of knowledge I had.”

IMG_2195Heather is very proud of the hard work that Carl has put into this filly. “He’s been at the barn and put in countless hours. He’s asked many people for help along the way, but he has done it all himself. I couldn’t be more proud of the way this mare will be entering the show ring, prepared by him and ready to show.”

One of the reasons why Carl loves Halter horses is the opportunity for dramatic transformation. “Halter has become one of my passion, because I love to get a horse that’s not in shape and see what I can transform it into.”

Another passion of Carl’s is photography, a hobby he’s pursued semi-professionally since seventh grade. “It has mentally and financially helped me along the way. I have met such great people through doing photography, such as Heather. It has brought me several different business relationships.”

For Carl, these types of relationships are helping him make an investment in his future. “One of my ultimate goals in the equine industry is to look back ten years from now and say that I’ve done ten times better than how I’m doing now. Another one of my goals is to be able to show other amateurs that whatever you put your mind to, you can achieve. You just need to have the will and the determination.”

IMG_2194“My family is very proud of me. One of the ways I continue to encourage myself to stay motivated and determined is to draw out a board and see what I have accomplished. I don’t want to be a product of what I was raised around. I’ve always told myself to go above and beyond and be a better individual. Not growing up with everything handed to me really taught me a lot. I want to tell others to do something that sets you apart from the next person, set goals, and go beyond the goals that you set.”
“Carl is such an inspiration to so many, including myself, although I’m years older than him,” Heather says. “If you dream it and have the work ethic behind your dream, it’s all possible. He’s living proof.”
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