Darryl Hage Leifheit, HBR Class of 1963
After graduating from H-BR in 1963, Darryl attended the University of Illinois on a 4-H Scholarship to study Forestry and pursue his dream job with the U.S. Forestry Service. He envisioned riding horses and sitting in towers watching for forest fires.
College costs were expensive even then and Darryl took a break from college to work construction full-time and attend Northern Illinois University part-time. He graduated from NIU in the spring 1975 with a bachelor degree in biological science: emphasis pre- med, embryology and genetics.
Darryl joined IBM’s Office Products Division sales team in the spring of 1975. What followed were 12 very successful years as office systems specialist selling IBM office products and computers in Northern Illinois.
His next job was with a custom manufacturing personal computer start-up firm, PC Ltd., in Austin Texas in the fall of 1987. He was hired by this companies founder Michael Dell who was 23 years old and Darryl was 42.
PC Ltd. had an IPO in 1988 as DELL Computer. Darryl formed and built their national Public Sector sales and marketing teams and had other marketing management roles until early retirement in 1999. He moved from Austin to be full time with his horses at his Fredericksburg, Texas, Hill Country ranch on the Pedernales River.
In 2001 Darryl purchased a small horse farm in the Blue Grass area near Lexington Kentucky to continue raising and showing American Saddlebred horses. His 5-gaited mare, “A Touch Too Much”, won her division at the 2002 World Championship Horse Show during the Kentucky State Fair. He rode her to other wins during her career until she was retired to broodmare in 2006.
In 2005 Darryl purchased a 5-gaited champion Saddlebred, a gelding named Singsation, aka Clint. After a very successful saddle seat riding show career, Clint and Darryl started a very different competitive career in 2008. Both were trained for the International equine competition world of Combined Driving—a 3-day event of pulling a carriage and driver. Clint thrived in this sport winning many U.S. competitions against International competitors. Unfortunately, a leg injury forced Clint’s retirement from competition in 2010.
In 2018 Clint (Singsation) was recognized for his versatility, intelligence, and endurance by the American Saddlebred Horse Association Board of Directors, established in 1891, with their coveted Wing Tempo Award. “An American Saddlebred receiving this award has achieved excellence of the highest order in disciplines and venues not typically considered within the standard show ring structure. This is a discretionary award which may not be presented on an annual basis.”
Darryl has two sons, Darrin and Dustin as well as two grandchildren, Maya and Seth, all residents of Austin Texas.
Darryl and his wife Janeene have retired from the world of equine competitions, living with their 4 retired show horses, four cats, and one dog on their Lexington KY horse farm, Knight Skye Farm, near the Kentucky Horse Park.
Darryl’s favorite quote:
“It’s hard to overestimate how far a man can go in America if he looks good on a horse.”