My mom created a Flickr account, scanning countless pictures of me and my siblings growing up. I came across one picture of my sister riding Kirby. Kirby was not a fancy show pony. She was round with a thick neck and legs we used to say “went like an eggbeater.” She was a real live Thelwell pony. What made Kirby stand out though, was her heart. For anyone who doesn’t know horses, it probably sounds crazy, but there are some who really love there job. Kirby was one of them. She carried me around for two years, including my first horse show and years later, my sister took over. There were children before us and long after us.
I loved my other ponies and horses to death, but they tested you, they spooked and shied and bolted. Kirby’s priority was the child on her back. She never faltered, never took a second look. You could almost read her mind when she was in the ring: “I got this kid, just enjoy the ride.”
Kirby passed away several years ago at the old age of 34 and though she had been out of the show ring for some time, she carried kids around until the end. Every time they tried to retire her she’d stop eating, lose weight…become depressed, because she loved what she did. Slowly over two decades, three states, and six barns, I’ve finally realized there will never be another Kirby. I know now how lucky I am to have been taught by her…to have known her.
I turned thirty on Tuesday. Waited to post just to see if there was anything really different — if I felt different or depressed…or whatever. I didn’t, I still don’t. I doubt I ever will.
The last decade of my life was one for the books. Time to start a new one.