Last week Fox News shared a very inspiring story via their My America: Against All Odds series and we wanted to share the story with you.
Everyone experiences hardships in their lives, and many people have to find ways to keep living their lives after severe injuries. Dan Hendricks is one of those people, and his story is one of success after he experienced an injury that confined him to a wheelchair.
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Dan Hendricks grew up around horses. His father and his uncle performed horse tricks and worked at rodeos for many years, before bringing their talents to the racetrack. Hendricks was always in the barns and around the horses, watching and learning how they were trained.
When he turned 20, Hendricks began working with Richard Mandella, another long-time horse lover who had opened his own stable only two years before. Mandella enjoyed a lot of success throughout his career, with six horses running in the Kentucky Derby, and eventually entering the US Racing Hall of Fame in 2001. Mandella credits Hendricks as being “a big part of where I’m at”, and calls him “a true horseman”. Although Hendricks began working on his own in 1987, the two still work beside each other, sharing stable space.
Well into a successful career, Hendricks experienced a setback that would have been a career-ender for some people. While at a motocross track in Perris, California, he slipped on the wet ground while attempting a jump and fell. The result of the devastating accident was that he was paralyzed from the waist down.
Although doctors told him that he should expect his recovery to take eight months, Hendricks was back at work in his motorized wheelchair in only six weeks. He credits his three young sons as being an encouragement to him when they immediately accepted his new limitations.
Hendricks says that he is so committed to training horses because it’s such a demanding job. For him, the world didn’t end when he had an injury, but he just had to learn how to keep doing what he loved. There is a lot involved in working with the horses. Not only is the schedule packed, but days off can be rare, and sometimes he will work every day for months. These days, his son Greg helps out at the racetrack, following the example of his father and grandfather.
Those around Hendricks say that he always seems driven to do his best, and his hard work and honesty have gained the respect of everyone he works with. None of that changed after his injury, and he continues to be a well-known figure in horse racing. Recently, however, he has had some amazing success with the horses he has trained.
In 2005, Hendricks worked with the two-year-old Brother Derek, leading him to win his first race at the Santa Anita Derby, as well as the Norfolk Stakes the next year. However, these wins were not as breathtaking as what was still to come.
In 2014, Hendricks acted to purchase a horse for an owner who named the horse “Om”. That August, Om surprised everyone by winning at Del Mar. Although Hendricks had been hoping he would come in at least third, he beat the other racers handily. What was most surprising, however, was that the horse American Pharaoh was also in that race. After Del Mar, American Pharaoh went on to win every race he was entered in, and become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978. This horse won every race except the one he raced in against Om, the horse trained by Dan Hendricks.
After this spectacular win, Om had to take an eight-month break from racing for treatment of an inflamed growth plate. The time off was frustrating for his owner, but he was soon able to return to the track. A few good showings were encouraging as he began racing again. Finally, in September, 2015, Om won the Del Mar Derby, his first graded win.
Dan Hendricks is a great example of someone who didn’t let their injury slow them down. Although his job is a demanding one, with long hours and a lot of hard work required, he was able to go back to it and find even more success than he had in the past. In fact, almost nothing changed in his work, except that he was even more motivated to succeed. With the help of his associates and the support of his family, he was able to do everything he aspired to. In fact, those around him have always been impressed by his dedication, and he is an inspiration to all of us who must keep working hard despite hardships.
We at Keystone Mobility have always admired those who have overcame such adversity in life and demonstrated that life is still full of endless possibilities. We love our customers and the similar stories that we have heard from many individuals who have suffered injuries or are dealing with life altering diseases. We have heard some very admiring stories and we want to hear yours! We want to share your story with others so that they can inspire others to discover their own possibilities. If you are interested in sharing your story with us, please feel free to share your story on our website here.