This book should be required reading for everyone in the horse industry. Photo © Darol Rodrock

Darol Rodrock Book Review: Out Of The Shadow – I Can and I Will

Darol Rodrock’s autobiographical account of his childhood growing up a foster child was both heartbreaking and inspiring. His tale of his rocky childhood in Kansas mixed with his overwhelming success later in life as a person and businessman creates an intimate portrait of a man who did not let challenges hold him back.

While the book doesn’t go into much detail about his life with horses, most people are aware that Darol is a legendary breeder who has helped transform the industry. Rodrock’s stallion offering boasts get with more than 100 World, Congress and NSBA championships and reserve championships combined and more than 3 million dollars in money earned. Offspring of Rodrock’s broodmares and stallions have received over 55,000 AQHA points. Some of his famous sires include Only In The Moonlite, Certain Potential, and A Scenic Impulse.

In his autobiography, Darol Rodrock, calls himself a “lucky” person. Even the license plate on his truck bears the initials LDR—for Lucky Darol Rodrock. But Rodrock will tell you that his is the luck born of “preparation meeting opportunity” that has changed his life, and the lives of countless others who he has influenced.

Rodrock’s book titled, Out Of The Shadow – I Can and I Will, was told chronologically from his childhood to adulthood detailing the experiences with his abusive mother and father and how he survived through being beaten, sexually abused and neglected. When he was 11 years-old he was tragically sent off to Arkansas by his mother to go work for strangers. These strangers had put out a newspaper ad looking for a young boy to come work for them. Rodrock’s mother drove him there, made him get out of the car and left. You can use your imagination to guess what happened to him during his time in Arkansas.

Rodrock talks about his struggles of being sent to an orphanage twice with his siblings, Beverly, Donnie and Barbara. During his time at the orphanage, the book goes into detail about how Rodrock discovered God. His teacher, Miss Pinnt introduced him to His teachings. Darol says that his relationship with God is what got him through the hard times because he knew he was not alone. The importance of God in Rodrock’s life was discussed throughout the book, and Darol mentions several times that his faith kept him from despair and loneliness.

Rodrock discusses a time when he was traveling on trains with hobos until some relatives reached out and he went to live with his Great Aunt Pearline and Uncle Raymond Stephens who gave him a safe, stable home, but Darol decided to run away from home still. Rodrock talks about his eventual foster parents, his school teacher, Lavon Robinson and her husband, Ray, who made a huge difference in his life.

An all-star athlete, track and football were helpful in building Rodrock’s confidence. Darol ended up meeting his now ex-wife, Karen, when he was a sophomore at the University of Kansas where he got married and eventually graduated and then went on to get a Master’s Degree. Rodrock became a teacher and wrestling and assistant football coach while trying to raise three children on a teacher’s salary. That’s when Rodrock decided he needed to take a chance in his life which led to him to selling real estate, eventually quitting his teaching job and becoming involved with it full-time.

To date, Rodrock Development is a multi-million dollar company that has built 87 communities in Kansas. “I suppose you could say my early upbringing made a big impression on me, and so I’ve always worked to help families have a better life,” says Rodrock. His Rodrock Development Mom’s Council was an idea he created decades ago to help his new neighborhoods get off to a good start. He invested in community swimming pools, playgrounds, walking trails and parks, before he even built model homes, an idea that runs counter to conventional real estate development wisdom, but a formula that has proven itself over time. “We’re proud to say that more than 30,000 people come home to a Rodrock community every day,” says Rodrock.

Rodrock gives some helpful but straightforward business tips in the book including: take in more than you spend, the business of being in business is about people and stop a snowball before it becomes an avalanche are some of the sage advice that he mentions in his book.

As comfortable in the corporate boardroom as he is in the saddle, Rodrock’s operating philosophy is simple: “Leave things better than you found them.” It’s a philosophy that has guided him as both a community developer and as a horseman.

This book should be required reading for everyone in the horse industry. Also, there is extra incentive to buy the book because all proceeds go to help foster children. You may also donate to the Darol Rodrock Foundation at

CLICK HERE to purchase the book from Amazon.