It’s funny how life’s trails can lead a person into strange and wonderful diversions before eventually leading him or her back home.
Jim Gath comes from a family of horsemen – his grandfather was a trick rider, trainer and horse trader, one of his uncles was a jockey and another was an owner of rather questionably talented racehorses. As a kid, horses were an important part of his life, but he began his adult life taking a different trail.
He was one of the founders of USA TODAY and eventually rose through the ranks to become the head of its advertising sales department. He moved on to Turner Broadcasting, where he worked with CNN, TBS, TNT and The Cartoon Network, before developing the marketing platform for the 1998 Goodwill Games.
He was the publisher of College Sports Magazine. He produced the first-ever Insight.com Bowl, a post-season college football game. He produced Phoenix 2000, a huge turn-of-the-century extravaganza in downtown Phoenix that drew tens of thousands of revelers. He became a concert promoter in Las Vegas producing, among other things, the first-ever major open air concert in the Las Vegas suburb of Summerlin, the country’s largest master-planned community.
Jim finally decided none of those achievements – or the pursuit of them – was making him happy or satisfied. Upon reflection, he realized the best times in his life were spent around and among horses. So he took another, more fulfilling trail.
He worked at a Summer horse camp for kids. Gave riding lessons at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. Guided trail rides through LA’s Griffith Park. Got a few of his own horses. Moved to Phoenix. Found a ranch he and his family would take over. Trained horses. Trained riders. Boarded horses. Rescued horses. Cared for horses.
And here he is. At Rancho Tierra Madre, home of Tierra Madre Horse Sanctuary, with nearly two dozen rescued horses. And his dog, Lee.
He’s never, ever met a horse he didn’t like. “You just have to listen to them”, he says. “They’ll tell you everything you need to know.”
Jim is also the author of “I Hear You, Horse.”, a book on how to better understand your horse and how to allow him to better understand you.
His philosophy can be summed up by two anonymous quotes:
“My gold neither sparkles nor jingles. It glistens in the sunlight and whinnies in the darkness.”
“….and he said unto the horse, ‘Trust no man in whose eyes you do not see yourself reflected as an equal.’”