God forbid that I should go to any Heaven in which there are no horses. ~R.B. Cunninghame Graham
Today, the world lost a rare gem, a truly wonderful, kind, genuine woman named Niki. Always cheerful and upbeat, Niki instantly made anyone she met comfortable.
I remember when she was new to Gladstone, and had a stunning black Arab/ASB mix named Raven. How proud of him she was! And with him came all the horse supplies--blankets, tack, and more. We shared tack trunk space, and would both laugh at how much "horse crap" we had. But of course, how could we give any of it up?
I remember all the late winter nights at the barn, riding around the indoor arena with Limerick's fleece quarter sheet over her rump, all bundled up in my winter riding clothes. And Niki and Raven would often be the only other ones there. I would often stop riding and just start chatting with her until Lim dozed off beneath me. We would talk about places, kids (or our desire for lack thereof), our animals, our husbands, and life. She really warmed up those cold nights!
I also remember the first time she saw me ride--she praised my riding skills and said she wished she could ride like me. I told her that it took a lot of hard work, but that she could do it! And you know what? Within two years she won a blue ribbon in her first show on her beloved Raven. I was so proud of her!
Whether she had met you once or a thousand times, she always had a friendly greeting for you. And if I was too far away to lip-read her? She would instead give me a huge, cheerful wave. How could you have a bad day after that?
She was a beloved member of my barn family, and she will be sorely missed by all. But although she is physically gone, she will always be in our hearts.
May you be surrounded by horses, Niki!