Several weeks ago, the Appaloosa Horse Club announced the winner of the poster contest for the 75th Anniversary Appaloosa Horse Club Youth World and National Horse Show. The talented winner is Sarrah Dibble-Camburn, a native of Pennsylvania with deep ties to appaloosa horses.
I spoke to Sarrah last week and she shared that her first horse was an appaloosa named Applejacks. Applejacks was Sarrah’s 12th birthday present, and she still remembers his arrival. She was sitting on the porch swing at her house and saw a bright yellow horse trailer coming down her road. To her amazement, the trailer pulled in her driveway and out came Applejacks. He was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen.
Once Applejacks arrived, Sarrah lost interest in other activities and focused on her riding. Early on, a local riding instructor named Kelly Marcy came to the farm and gave her lessons in the pasture. Applejacks needed a friend, so the family then purchased his half-brother, named Commanche. Both horses came from their neighbor Marge Singer.
Commanche was a “head strong, 14 hand, never tiring, grade gelding.” Sarrah recalls that he was also barn sour like no other horse she has ever known. She recalled a time when she fought with him for what felt like forever to get him to go two miles from the farm. After such an epic battle, she didn’t feel like she could just turn around and go home so she made him back and side pass the entire two-mile trip home!
As a kid, Sarrah and her friend and neighbor Marcia (White) Wilcox would spend their entire days riding the two horses. They would leave in the morning and sometimes be out until dark. They would often ride to the local country store to get ice cream. She remembered that one day of riding resulted with them coming home with puppies in their saddles.
Sarrah and Marcia took Sarrah’s two appaloosas to their first show together and rode them in parades with the local 4-H group. Around 1995, Sarrah entered Commanche in the 4-H show. They rode in the games classes, and she entered him in the reining as her favorite type of riding was the reining. When she asked a local trainer for help with his behavior issues, they told her to get a new horse. Sarrah’s response was to work on Commanche’s spins and stops. They ended up going to the Pennsylvania State 4-H Championship show in Harrisburg that year.
At the state 4-H show, she and Commanche had a good run, but she was worried about their score as they dragged a leg on one of the lead changes. When they lined everyone up and called the first-place winner, they had to do it twice as Sarrah didn’t realize that she was the winning number. Winning the State 4-H class in reining is one of her most treasured horse memories to this day. Her father, Kern Dibble, was so overwhelmed with fatherly pride that he bought the entire family jackets that proclaimed Commanche as the State Champion.
Applejacks and Commanche lived out the rest of their days on Sarrah’s parent’s farm. Applejacks lived to be 32 years old and Commanche into his late 20s. They are buried under apple trees on her parent’s farm in a beautiful valley.
As she grew older and outgrew her first horses, Sarrah became a very active competitor in NRHA events under the guidance of Josette Kain. She has also added ranch riding events to her current equine activities. Sarrah and her husband Bucky currently have six horses in the family. They are all quarter horses or paints with the exception one unregistered half appaloosa. Sarrah and Bucky also enjoy trail riding and camping with their horses and dogs at the Horse Camps at Otter Creek.
When Sarrah entered middle school she met her physical education teacher, Holly Anderson. Holly’s husband Ray had been the family farrier, but she had yet to meet Holly. Holly was not only Sarrah’s gym teacher but became her mentor as well. What started as a student teacher relationship has morphed into a lifelong friendship. Holly and fellow Appaloosa competitor, Stephanie Patton, encouraged Sarrah to enter the poster contest.
Art has always been part of Sarrah’s life as well as a love of drawing horses. She graduated from Marywood University with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts specializing in painting. She returned to school to obtain her k-12 teaching certification as well as her master’s degree in art education. For the past 14 years, she has worked as an art educator in the Blue Ridge School District as well as teaching art education at Keystone College.
Sarrah’s favorite medium is oil paint, but she also enjoys creating large mixed media abstract paintings. Over the past few years, she has been exhibiting her abstract work locally and currently has her first solo exhibition at The Orazio Salati Gallery in Binghamton, New York.
The Blue Appaloosa painting that will be the poster art for the National Show was painted at an event called Riverfest that is put on by the Kitson Art Alliance. The event is a fund day full of vendors, live music and artists creating. The event was a benefit for the Howland Preserve in Meshoppen, Pennsylvania.
Sarrah loves painting appaloosas as they have amazing color and variety. She said that winning this contest has inspired her to come back to her first love, which is painting horses.
If you are interested in commissioning Sarrah for a painting, you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She does have prints available of her work available on Etsy at etsy.com/shop/eponaspaintbrush or you can follow her on Instagram at @eponaspaintbrush.
We are very excited to have such a talented artist be part of the Appaloosa family and be gracious enough to have her amazing work the subject of the 75th Anniversary National Show Poster.