Monday, April 13, 2009

Kenneth Eugene Smith - Obituary

How do you write an obituary for one of your very best friends that you have had for 23+ years?

Kenneth & I met just before Christmas when I was 10 years old. It was love at first sight! He was THE best listener and friend I have EVER had. He knew exactly what to do when I was sad, mad, hurt, frustrated, upset, heartbroken, lonely, and happy. He was ALWAYS there for me. He never, ever let me down. In college, when I was figuring out life, I would drive home, and FIRST, go to the barn to talk with Kenneth. Sometimes, I would just come home to talk with him, & not even bother to talk with my parents. Kenneth was the only person who understood me during my akward teen years.

Just wanted to let you know that my heart is truly CRACKED in two. I know he had a wonderful life. I know that he simply went to sleep & woke up in Heaven, but it still hurts. I know that my girls have cried most of the evening. My Honey called my dad, & Honey found him.
Yes, Kenneth was a horse, but. he. was. my. horse!

You might think this picture is morbid. But A.Cowgirl wanted me to take her picture one last time with Kenneth.

He was the first horse I ever had. I was 10, and had wanted a horse for EVER (really like 5 solid years!). My sister named him after a boy in her class and my Grandpa. Kenneth really was a person, you just couldn't see it from the outside.

I learned how to ride with Kenneth, and how to fall off. Kenny was technically a pony because he was 14.1 (feet trimmed) and he rode like a pony. Kenneth was born with a deformed front left foot. The first farrier he saw (and most everyone that trimmed or shod him) was amazed that he could walk, let alone be ridden and run. His foot was litterally shaped like a J, frog included. I always told them it was because he had SO much love for children that's why he could be ridden.

When I was about 12, I wanted to ride "Indian Style". You know from the movies how they rode bareback, and would shoot arrows under their horse's neck. Well, Kenny was too fat, and my legs were too short; but you couldn't tell me that. I would sidepass up to the well (it was a step up), get on, walk into the grassy area, try to get on the side and ask him to walk, FALL OFF, under his stomach. Literally under him. He would carefully stop and look down to make sure I was ok. He would step around me and go eat some grass. I would catch him, and take him back to the well to get on and start all over again. After about an hour, he would automatically walk to the well, so that I could get back on again.

Kenneth ALWAYS took care of me and NEVER stepped on me, no matter how stupid I was or how I fell off, or under him. He has done this with my girls, and everyone who ever rode him.

Kenneth taught most of the kids 10 years younger than me in Warren County how to ride. I showed him for 6 years, then my sister showed him for several years, then Sarah, the neighbor girl, then 2 other girls showed him, and so on and so forth. He went on trail rides with tons of people in Iowa, Missouri, and Nebraska. I showed Kenneth in everything! Our favorite was Trail Class, because you didn't have to be a great mover, but a great thinker, and take your time to do everything just right. In Trail, Kenneth & I beat a AQHYA World Champion Trail Horse. She came to our 4-H Invitational two months before the World Show that year. It was awesome to work a course with Kenneth, because he would seem to read my mind & put his feet exactly where I was thinking I wanted them, with slightly any cues.

When I was in college, I wanted to compete in a Rodeo Queen competition. At that time I was riding my mom's stud horse, and the contest would not allow me to bring a stallion. I tried my sister's show horse, and did not get along with her (Sister has long legs, mine are very short). So, Kenneth was pulled out of the pasture, and tuned up in 24 hours. Once again we instantly clicked and I was ready to roll. At the beginning of this rodeo (totally unknown to me) they set off a LOUD boom firecracker. This is the biggest rodeo in IA (at the time) and I was standing with all the other contestants in a mob of over 200 horses, 4 of the other girls' horses freak, rear, and jump. Kenneth lifts his head and looks around like "what are you upset about"?

I could go ON, and ON, and ON with Kenneth stories! I just might sprinkle them from time to time. I won't forget him, EVER. He will live on in my life, as a wonderful person. Cause he was a people, not just a horse.


  1. Now I'm crying! I'm so sorry for your loss. Horses really are the best medicine!

  2. I am so sorry. What wonderful memories to have though. You will treasure them always.

  3. I'm sorry for your loss. Our animals are such a part of the family. He will forever be in your heart. You're in my thoughts.

  4. Oh, what a shame. This really has not been a good week for you! I'll be thinking of you and am so, so sorry.

  5. I am so sorry for your loss. I once read somewhere the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man. Nothing is more true than that for those of us who have been blessed with the special "teacher" horses. I wish they could be with us for forever.

  6. Oh, I am so sorry. He sounds like he was a treasure and a true friend. You've had a rough week. Take care of yourself.

  7. Y'all have my condolences. I expect he thought he was a pretty lucky horse (or person, as the case may be), too.

  8. I'm soooo sorry about Kenneth!!!!! Hugs!!!