One of my favorite people died yesterday. Her name was Erica Groat and she was a horse trainer at Kenlyn Stables. She was only twenty six years old.I met Erica on the first day of this year, when I was trying to decide whether or not I should lease Rev. One of her students had leased him previously, and it had not gone well. We spent some time discussing his issues, and what I could expect if I chose to go ahead with the lease. After our talk, she offered to ride him so that I could see him under saddle.
Rev had been out of serious work for nearly six weeks, so he was a real brat.
Fortunately, Erica was patient with him. She stayed calm while he fussed and pranced and carried on, and eventually he settled down and acted like a normal horse. That was all I needed to see. I decided Rev was worth the gamble and went ahead and signed the lease papers.
Since that day, I've really enjoyed getting to know Erica. A natural teacher with a positive attitude, she was a real cheerleader for Rev and I, offering both advice and applause as we struggled through our first couple months together.
I was so impressed with her abilities that I sent her several new customers including my friend's daughter, Kacey and my former horse daughter, Cara.
Whether we were trail riding together or just gabbing by the stalls, I always enjoyed talking to Erica. She reminded me of myself at twenty six, and I often thought her life was what mine might have been had I pursued a career in horse training.
Erica was a kindred spirit, a true horse lover and just the nicest, most down to earth person you could ever hope to meet. My heart is filled with sadness today.
P.S. Every time I post pictures of someone riding without a helmet, someone is sure to make a negative comment. Please do not do that today. Erica collapsed and died while she running with her dogs. Her death was not horse related and a helmet would not have helped.