Monday, June 17, 2013

Erica

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.

25 comments:

  1. Oh I'm so sorry to hear that! :( It's always horrible to hear of anyone dying but when they're so young and full of life it hits especially hard. :(

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  2. I'm so sorry! That's terrible. I'll keep you and her family in my prayers.

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  3. That is really tragic. I'm sorry for your loss :(

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  4. My heartfelt condolences Jennifer. A tragic loss of a young life.

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  5. I'm so sorry to hear that Jenn. Good thoughts for you :(

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  6. I'm so sorry to hear of the loss of your friend.. It sounds like all horses have lost one of their champions..

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  7. I'm so sorry. Way too young.

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  8. I am so sorry to hear that. We just laid our daughter in law to rest on Saturday, and she was 43. I'm glad you got to know Erica for the short time you did, she was in your life for a reason.

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  9. I'm so sorry about your friend.. :(

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  10. She was such a great person and a great trainer. It is so sad. When I was at the barn today it felt weird not seeing her training one of the horses made me sad :(

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  11. Hard to read with tears streaming down my face. Erica touched me in ways she will never know. I was looking forward to showing her my Dover sale purchases and scheduling lessons. She was proof that you can follow your dreams and she went out of her way to help others do the same. We will miss you Erica, thanks Jennifer for sharing your pictures.

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  12. Big Hugs Jen. Erica sounds like such a wonderful person. I am glad you got to meet and know her and I thank you for sharing her life with us through your blog. Life is so precious and delicate everybody. Live and love everyday like it is your last...

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  13. Good teachers are worth their weight in gold. And when they become your friend and helper it hits even harder. I'm sorry for your loss of a good friend and confidante. It was way too early. :-(

    *HUGS from Sweden*

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  14. So sorry for your loss. It's so tragic when someone so young dies unexpectedly.

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  15. I am so sorry of a loss of a friend of yours. She was so young! I and my family will be praying for you.

    ~Alyssa

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  16. This is so horrible, unexpected, and sad. I am so sorry for your loss. It sounds like she was a brilliant and inspirational person.

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  17. Sending thoughts and prayers your way from Arizona during this difficult time.

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  18. My prayers and thoughts are with you Jennifer and Erica's family God bless

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  19. My deepest sympathies to you, Jennifer, and Erica's family. Such a tragic loss with someone so young.

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  20. I am so very sorry... what a tragic and shocking loss for Erica's family and friends! I am glad she followed her dream and was doing what she loved. She sounds like a special and gifted horseperson (and regular person, too). My heartfelt sympathy to you all.

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  21. I have known Erica since we were in high school. I was her FFA President, and I was one of the many that got to watch her become a leader. She is a wonderful person, and it is comforting to know even people that didn't know her very long, understand her so well. She has always been down to earth, and her smile will be missed by everyone.

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  22. My heart goes out to you and all of Erica's friends and family. What a heartbreaking loss. I'm so sorry, Jennifer.

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  23. Well, its been awhile but I read your message and all the wonderful comments again. Still seems so impossible. We miss her more than ever. Thank you for being her friend and for posting this for your clients. And thank you to all of those who responded so wonderfully. Dg Erica's Dad

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  24. I was revisiting some of my early posts about Rev recently and found these words about Erica in the comment section of my January 1, 2012 post:

    "Didn't mention it in the post, but I liked the trainer very much. She offered to accompany me on some trail rides so that I could learn my way around, plus have someone to help if Rev was an idiot. I really appreciated that offer, and it was one of the things that convinced me to roll the dice on this particular horse."

    It's impossible to state how much everyone at Kenlyn misses Erica. She comes up often in conversation, and rides with us on the trails. Even though our time together was much too brief, my life was enriched by her friendship. I keep her "I love my job!" photo pinned to the wall in my studio. It's a wonderful reminder of a a wonderful person, and it reminds every day to take a moment and love my own job.

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