Page 1

Johanna Ullström The beautiful photographs on the following pages, taken by April Visel, capture an enchanted world … a place so infused with joy, compassion, and beauty that, each time we visit, I am almost afraid Darby Farm will, like Brigadoon, disappear

photos by april visel

in the mists when we depart. This article was made possible, without Johanna’s knowledge, by a group of people who treasure her and the world she has created for them and their horses in Sint-Truiden, Belgium. She and Jeremy Malou continually share the farm and their home with Arabian horse owners from around the world who have become close friends instead of just clients. Take time to linger as you browse these pages … for here is portrayed a sanctuary where showring prizes and commercial values fall away, and Arabian horses are celebrated daily for their beauty, heart, and spirit. And, at times, when the day fades into evening, it seems as if even the village church bells sing of the majesty and unfathomable allure of the Arabian horse.

— In gratitude … Allison Mehta-Westley, Talaria Farms, Atlanta, Georgia

32 b ARABIAN HORSE WORLD b AUGUST 2011

Top and facing page: Johanna with the 1991 mare ZT Sharuby (ZT Sharello x ZT Bint Ruby). Bottom: TF Afrikhan Shah (Botswana x Rohara Shahblee).


Johanna Ullström The beautiful photographs on the following pages, taken by April Visel, capture an enchanted world … a place so infused with joy, compassion, and beauty that, each time we visit, I am almost afraid Darby Farm will, like Brigadoon, disappear

photos by april visel

in the mists when we depart. This article was made possible, without Johanna’s knowledge, by a group of people who treasure her and the world she has created for them and their horses in Sint-Truiden, Belgium. She and Jeremy Malou continually share the farm and their home with Arabian horse owners from around the world who have become close friends instead of just clients. Take time to linger as you browse these pages … for here is portrayed a sanctuary where showring prizes and commercial values fall away, and Arabian horses are celebrated daily for their beauty, heart, and spirit. And, at times, when the day fades into evening, it seems as if even the village church bells sing of the majesty and unfathomable allure of the Arabian horse.

— In gratitude … Allison Mehta-Westley, Talaria Farms, Atlanta, Georgia

32 ARABIAN HORSE WORLD AUGUST 2011 b

b

Top and facing page: Johanna with the 1991 mare ZT Sharuby (ZT Sharello x ZT Bint Ruby). Bottom: TF Afrikhan Shah (Botswana x Rohara Shahblee).


… In gratitude

One of the most endearing mares anywhere in the world, ZT Sharuby moved into Johanna’s loving care in December of 2009. Since that time, her health has improved and she has been able to continue breeding successfully, all no doubt because of Johanna’s exceptional level of care. When Johanna welcomed Sharuby at Darby Farm with tears in her eyes, I had no doubt that this was the perfect place for Sharuby to spend the rest of her life. I’ve never encountered a horse with as sweet and unique a disposition as our precious Sharuby. She is the perfect companion for horses and humans alike. I invite you to visit Darby Farm personally and meet the one and only Sharuby. On behalf of Al Shaqab, I am forever grateful to Johanna and Jeremy for their friendship, support, and unwavering dedication to Sharuby. — Mohammed Al Sulaiti, Breeding and Show Manager, Al Shaqab Member of the Qatar Foundation, Qatar, UAE

,


Johanna is a girl who is easy and sweet to talk to — honest and professional. You can leave your horses with her without worry, because you just know that they will take really good care of them. The light in the horses’ eyes tells you they are confident and happy with Johanna in the showring. She is quiet, and allows horses to relax. My stallion was with Johanna for three months and when he came home I could feel that he missed Johanna and her team. Every horse should be so lucky to experience this magical place. Johanna is a great horsewoman and there is no doubt that her work is her passion. — Marianne Krog, Kastanielund Arabians, Denmark My first trip to shoot for Miss Johanna Ullström this summer was one I will never forget. Thank you to her, the staff, whom she considers friends, and Sir Jeremy, who made my visit full of laughter, beauty, artistic freedom, inspiration, joy, and especially appreciation for a career in a business still filled with kindred spirits. These things I love and will never take for granted. Johanna is special in many ways and her Darby Farm is a truly wonderful home for these amazing Arabians — Love you, Meatball! — April Visel, Oak View, California

Bottom left: Wish Me Lucks Wahed (Wish Me Luck x Sherifa). Top right: TF Afrikhan Shah (Botswana x Rohara Shahblee). Facing page: Johara Al Naif (Ansata Shalim x Al Johara) and Ansata Mouna (Farres x Talmona).

Besides being one of the top halter trainers in the world, Johanna also rides horses very well. “Come to California and go on a cattle drive with me and see what the real west is about,” I suggested. She and Jeremy Malou did just that and arrived in California thrilled to learn to be cowboys. Johanna stepped up on Murietta V, one of my ranch horses, and was riding after cattle like she’d done it all of her life. Johanna will continue to train halter horses all over the world, gently and softly, and then put on her boots and move cattle here in California. Isn’t life grand! — Sheila Varian, Varian Arabians, Arroyo Grande, California

34 b ARABIAN HORSE WORLD b AUGUST 2011


I first met Johanna a few years ago through a feature article about her. This woman was either a super con artist or the inspiration for good things to follow. Believing it was the latter, I told Allison we

had to have her for our next Talaria seminar. We got lucky and, for the past four years, Johanna has routinely been part of our special events at the farm, in addition to showing for us annually at the U.S. Egyptian Event. We have learned from Johanna, and our horses and farm staff are better horsemen because of her. To me, she sets the standard for all that the Arabian horse deserves. My Afrikhan Shah stands at ArcticTern in Belgium because he thrives there both physically and spiritually. Every time I visit, I know it is his place and that I am privileged to call Darby Farm his home. — Curt Westley, Talaria Farms, Atlanta, Georgia


We at Dogwood Springs Arabians are so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Johanna, who showed our filly DSA Sahara to a Top Ten at the 2011 Egyptian Event. Her relaxed way of showing, as well as her ability to communicate with our filly so that she was full of life and spirit, was in our view the key to her securing her win. We had long heard about Johanna’s abilities, but to experience her magic in person was an experience we enjoyed. — Jerel Kerby, Dogwood Springs Arabians, Daingerfield, Texas

Right: TF Afrikhan Shah. Below: Athena SA (Nuzyr HCF x Dell Touch), 2002 mare.

I observed Johanna showing in Europe for many years and was always impressed with the quiet rapport she had with her horses. I was so delighted to see her start to show in the U.S. She could put on a “how-to” clinic for scoring high marks for movement, running fast enough to keep up with the best of movers. — Elizabeth Salmon, Highland Village, Texas

36 b ARABIAN HORSE WORLD b AUGUST 2011


Johanna is special, both in the way she deals with horses and in the way she deals with people. Her love and care for her horses is legendary. Everyone who has visited Darby Farm has witnessed that. When we became friends several years ago, we realized we had the same likes and dislikes for horses. Over the years there was only one time that we disagreed upon a horse. I must now admit I was wrong. I feel privileged to count myself among her friends and to be able to spend time with her (and Jeremy) in Belgium, on her yearly trips to Brazil, and at events around the world. — Murilo Kammer, Haras Aratinga, São Paulo, Brazil

I have known Johanna for the past five years. I think her impressive records in both the show and marketing arenas speak for themselves. What I admire most about her is her consistency in character — what you see is the authentic Johanna Ullström! — Mike Wilson, Wilson Training Center, Tavares, Florida Johanna with the 2011 filly Elita (Ekstern x Euskara).

37 b ARABIAN HORSE WORLD b AUGUST 2011


I’ve known Johanna for many years, both from my point of view as a judge, and as a show organizer. She is one of the very few — she incorporates a beautiful blend of style, class, and care with a wonderful touch of emotion for her horses. She is a professional in the best meaning of the word — a trustworthy person and a pleasure to watch. She keeps horses and clients safe. Simply, she’s the best thing that can happen to a horse owner! — Ferdinand Huemer, La Movida Arabians, Krenglbach, Austria

38 b ARABIAN HORSE WORLD b AUGUST 2011


In the year 2000 I relocated my horses to Belgium to be in training at Johanna’s farm. What started as a business relationship quickly evolved into a wonderful friendship. Johanna has been a great support as she is not just my trainer but also my adviser when it comes to buying and selling horses. She manages to make all her clients feel like family and yet keeps a cool business head when needed. Her wonderful reputation in the industry is a testament to her work ethic and professionalism. Despite the fact that we live oceans apart I feel as close to my horses as if they were in my backyard, thanks to all the pictures and videos she sends regularly! I look forward to the next ten years with my best friend. — Liezl Els, Agmal Arabians, Belgium and South Africa

SF Shaklina (Sanadik El Shaklan x ZT Sharuby), 2000 mare. Facing page, bottom: ZT Sharuby and Johanna.

39 b ARABIAN HORSE WORLD b AUGUST 2011


Johanna UllstrÜm has been my friend for more than 20 years now, and I have always admired her approach to horses and her affinity with them. For many years she has both cared for, as well as trained and shown my horses in Europe as well as in Saudi Arabia when we were invited there with our mare NAG Olla Bez to compete. Johanna has created a heaven on earth for the horses in her care at Darby Farm. — Veronica Mann-Wernsten, W-Arabians, England

40 b ARABIAN HORSE WORLD b AUGUST 2011


Johanna, dear, dear Johanna, your qualities are numerous, but for us Arabian horse lovers you have the most valuable one: you know how to act with our horses, how to make them feel proud and full of joy. Thanks to you my mare Unic All JP was top ten in Paris and I am very grateful to you for this achievement. It would not have been possible with another handler who did not have your spirit and loving attitude toward her. You managed to make her smile, to have her happy to show. You act carefully and softly with horses and are straightforward with people. Some may not like it but it suits me very well and I appreciate all you do for me — Johanna with Faheem (NK Sahib x Ramses Minx).

your advice, your availability, and all that with such a beautiful smile. You are an Arabian professional of the highest level and a great person. This is very rare.

— Helene Zaleski, Lutetia Arabians, Normandy, France

JOHANNA ULLSTRÖM — IN GRATITUDE  

JOHANNA ULLSTRÖM — IN GRATITUDE Lucky are the horses, and humans, in the devoted care of this Swedish horsewoman by Denise Hearst Published...