The Blackmons know horses.
Nestled on 255 acres of rolling hills about 20 minutes east of Dallas sits an equine oasis: Black Star Sport Horses in Rockwall, Texas. Horses graze on either side of your car as you drive up the iconic crepe myrtle-lined driveway. There are two well-kept barns, 20 pastures, acres of trails, a pond the shape of Texas, and one of the largest privately owned arenas in the state.
Fifty-five lucky horses call Black Star Sport Horses home.
Black Star Sport Horses owners Jackie and Lisa Blackmon have cared for horses together for over 35 years. Lisa is a fourth-generation equestrian who grew up riding and competing, winning numerous national titles in several disciplines. For the past 20 years, Lisa has focused on international sport horses, training extensively in Europe with some of the best dressage trainers in the world. She earned her United States Dressage Federation (USDF) bronze and silver medals in 1998 and her USDF gold medal in 2000. Lisa has trained seven Grand Prix horses and qualified over 30 horses for regional championships.
She met husband Jackie more than three decades ago when her friend suggested she take her new, unruly stallion, which needed to put on weight and have behavioral training, to him. Jackie had a reputation for rehabbing horses even then. Jackie was interested in more than the stallion, but Lisa had a no-more-than-three-dates rule so Jackie never did officially ask her out, not wanting to use up his three dates. They’ve been married for over 33 years.
Jackie grew up breaking horses on a farm in Fort Worth. He’s always had a golden touch with young and wild horses. Jackie has won over 40 USDF sport horse championships, and even trained the highest scoring horse in the nation in 1998.
The Blackmon’s daughter, Jessica, practically grew up on a horse. The fifth-generation equestrian is a champion in her own right, having won USDF gold and silver medals, been nominated for UDEF young person of the year and Dallas Dressage Sports Person of the Year, shown at the Festival of Champions and qualified to show in Aachen, Germany in the Under 25 Grand Prix… and more. At 29 years old, Jessica’s legendary show horse, Irnas, now spends his days happily grazing in the Texas sunshine.
Jackie and Lisa both did their time in the corporate world but have found happiness working side by side at the family business. Black Star is not a job but rather a passion and a way of life for the Blackmon family. “Having a career that allows us to work together with our children, extended family, and the horses we both love has been a blessed life indeed,” says Lisa.
The Black Star family includes dressage instructor Jessica Blackmon-White; Jackie and Lisa’s son, Army Captain Michael Blackmon, an occasional yet always much anticipated visitor; dressage trainer Katelyn Kok; young horse specialist and Lisa’s right hand, barn manager Joanne Gramlich who has been with the Blackmon family for over 25 years; and farm foreman and Army veteran Denver Rearick. If you ask Rearick how he is doing any day of the week, he will tell you, “I am living the dream!”
Today, Black Star Sport Horses is a bustling dressage training, show and sales facility. In addition to training and lessons, the farm opens its gates for visitors 8-12 times a year, offering numerous events that are free and open to the public. Upcoming dates include the spring schooling show on May 18, during which horse enthusiasts can watch equestrians of all ages and experience levels compete in dressage.
Black Star Sport Horses also hosts private tours of the farm upon request. “We love hosting visitors at the farm,” says Lisa. “Some requests are more unusual than others.” They once had a gentleman call asking if he could bring his mother to the farm for her 85th birthday. She loved horses and hadn’t been around them for a while. “It turns out, she used to sing with Gene Autry in concerts,” explains Lisa. “So, our team put together a musical freestyle routine with several of the Friesians on the farm set to Autry’s ‘Deep in the Heart of Texas.’ It was such a special day.”
What truly sets Black Star Sport Horses apart is the level of care given to each and every horse. The Blackmon family lives on the farm and offers unprecedented care. The feed program is tailored to every horse.
Ready to give it a try? You don’t need your own horse to ride at Black Star Sport Horses, which offers riding lessons for all ages and skill levels. You might even get to take a lesson on Tjitte, a championship Friesian from the Netherlands. The indoor arena allows for riding year-round in a multitude of weather conditions.
Click here for information on boarding, training, and lessons.
To get a horse fix and tour the farm, call Jackie Blackmon at (940) 367-7499.
Cover: Jackie Blackmon at Black Star Sport Horses. Courtesy photo
Katie-Rose Watson is a publicist, writer, and major foodie. She’s the creator of the food and lifestyle website The Rose Table and likely wrote this story on a picnic blanket with a glass of wine. Follow her on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook