Shugak and Janice Boswell share a quiet moment after a bath and a grooming session.

My mother used to tell me that “to have a friend, you have to BE one.” If ever there is someone who lives her life by this philosophy, Janice Boswell is that someone—she’s cultivated a circle of the very best of friends. When Boswell was unable to attend the long-awaited 30 th birthday party that she had been planning for weeks for her beloved stallion, Shugak, these friends stepped up and made it happen in her absence.

But we get ahead of the story.

Boswell has owned and worked with Arabians since she was 16, developing an appreciation for their intelligence, and for the challenges they present during the training process. She worked with Lamar Fisher, an area trainer, to hone her skills, and as her abilities grew, she began to train for others. Among her first clients were Bonnie and Steve Page and their horse, Black Magic BG. (Incidentally, Boswell switched club affiliations to Western Carolinas because the Pages spoke so highly of its membership and activities.)

BA Bahim Sharaab, another stallion owned by Janice Boswell, on which she has competed in country pleasure, show hack and native costume classes.

Fisher was instrumental in Boswell’s purchase of Shugak. This 14-month-old colt by Lea Baron and out of a Wasl Raffles granddaughter, was “wild as weeds,” as Boswell puts it, “but I could see in his eyes a kind and wonderful soul,” she says. “He moved beautifully and had so much presence, that he seemed almost magical to me.”

Although Boswell has bred a few foals for herself, she notes that Shugak has had more foals over the years for outside breeders looking for the attributes that Boswell’s stallion sires consistently.

“Beautiful heads, loving attitudes, and the desire to please their owners…” she says, in describing Shugak’s get. He has sired hunter, saddleseat and western horses that according to Boswell, have all been very trainable and willing and have done well in all facets of Arabian activities. And many of his get are now doing very well in the new sport horse division.

Shugak himself is a veritable study in versatility. Not only has he shown, but WON, says Boswell, in hunter/jumper, show hack, native Arabian costume, halter, country pleasure, trail, sidesaddle, western, country pleasure driving, and even barrel racing! Boswell explains that in an area versatility show with 10 different judges for various events that included English, western, dressage suitability, halter, hunter, and barrel racing, Shugak won the overall versatility award four years in a row.

Shugak is not the only horse that Boswell loves. She describes the rest as, “my other children.” Among the “other children” are two Arbil daughters and Balaclava, the dam of CBS HOBBIT, aka “Frodo” and JA SHAB MONIET, aka “Bambi,” both champions by Shugak. In addition, she owns a black stallion, JA Bahim Sharaab (nickname “Sparky”) that she has shown in country pleasure, show hack and native costume.

“Most all of my horses are very old, but I do have 2 young pinto mares for sale at this time,” she says.

Boswell has shown a variety of horses over the years since 1971—her own and those owned by others.

“I rode at the US Nationals twice, making several judges’ cards,” she relates. “Competition is very stiff there, and I will relive those moments in my dreams forever.”

Boswell believes that trainers should not make a horse do anything that they are not able to do in a natural way. She explains: “I'm not saying that you can't enhance, but there are limits to a horse’s abilities. I refuse to cripple anything by employing my method of training. That’s why Shugak is 30 years young and still breeding and (so far) doing well.”

In full regalia at the US Nationals after competing in the Arabian native costume class. Boswell up.

Because of health problems since she was a teenager, Boswell looks to her horses for friendship and healing.

“I have NEVER met a horse that cared what I could or could not do,” she explains. “And if I were lost on an island somewhere with only animals for company, I don’t think that I would WANT to be rescued,” she laughs.

Boswell had been planning a birthday party for weeks for Shugak’s birthday party. However, three days before the party, she became very ill and was unable to attend. That’s when her “Verizon network” sprung into action. Friends Diane Caruso, Patti Tucker, Sandra Oglesby, Lynda Bragg, Rachael Tucker and Chris Carey, neighbor Shirley Viera, Amanda Houston Grey and other Hoofers members (a small, hometown horse club) pulled the event together for Boswell and for Shugak .

“I was bedridden and would have been unable to negotiate the front steps in order to get to the barn,” says Boswell. “These wonderful people ‘saved the day!’”

More than 50 people attended the party (see related story).

“I will be in their debt forever,” Boswell says. “Some of these folks have known me less than a year, and they are dearer to me than you can possibly believe! There are ‘angels’ here on earth.”

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