There are moments which mark your life. Moments when you realize nothing will ever be the same and time is divided into two parts, before this and after this.
Kevin Myers, my friend, colleague, and mentor, is gone. Kevin and I shared a CONNECTION. Many good times: through social media, email, and in person traveling together to teach, meeting up at conferences, visiting each other's houses and even riding together. I first connected with Kevin through EasyCare, but honestly can't remember the first time we met in person. He was the kind of guy who you felt like you knew forever. He always brightened a room, and had a way of making everyone feel like they were on top of the world.
"There are two ways to bring out the light: be the candle or the mirror that reflects it". Edith Warrington
Kevin was both the light and the mirror. He was my mentor in many ways. He lit the spark that started my endurance riding journey after being a dressage rider my entire life.
On one ride in particular, I was riding in Durango with Kevin, Rusty Toth and Kim Lipko, another endurance friend. I was discombobulated in the treeless endurance saddle on the horse I was riding as I was used to riding in an english dressage saddle. We had 25 miles to cover that day, up and down one of the beautiful mountains in the area. The horses were being conditioned for Tevis and I was along as a guest. I was never going to get through 25 miles bouncing around the way I was! Kevin generously sent Rusty and Kim on ahead and slowed down with me, giving me an "endurance riding lesson" while on the trail. He coached me to absorb the irregularities of the terrain with my ankles and to post differently in a more forward position so I could stay with the horse easier. And best of all, he taught me the "endurance shimmy", trotting with the horse down hill at speed.
Halfway through the ride we caught back up with Rusty and Kim and all finished the ride together. It was one of the highlights of my 20 year riding career. I felt like I could ride anything, anywhere that day, all because of Kevin. And that experience spring-boarded my confidence with riding out on trail which I had never done much before, and enabled me to successfully participate in endurance rides, my FIRST one just a few weeks later we took 3rd place and Best Condition in the Vermont 50. Kevin's support even helped me feel comfortable taking my seven-year-old daughter out riding now too.
Kevin was always going above and beyond to make sure everyone around him was taken care of in a light hearted way. He and I taught several EasyShoe clinics together. He was fabulous at improvising and problem solving on the fly which made traveling together and teaching the clinics fun and easy. Especially with his dynamic sense of humor. We had favorite songs that we would sing at the top of our lungs going to and from the clinics to get motivated for the day (Rixton "Me and My Broken Heart"), and crazy words that Kevin used became part of my daily vocabulary even when we weren't together (Re-DONK-ulous!!).
Kevin was a gifted teacher, sharing information and techniques brilliantly to help the clinic participants feel successful. He was always the first to cheer you on, whether it was the first time you've glued or your 1000th. He made you feel like you could do anything.
I am eternally grateful to Kevin in so many ways. He has been a huge supporter of my hoof care work, from helping me navigate the blogs I write here for EasyCare, Hoof Love Not War, to offering me opportunities to teach and be part Team Easyboot, and Team Easyboot Elite 2016. I taught a hoof mapping course to the EasyCare employees and Kevin helped me do an EasyCare webinar on Therapeutic EasyShoe Application during which we had technical difficulties where one camera went down and so most of the webinar was taken from behind me...we laughed about that a lot. I know these opportunities were available in large part because of Kevin's support. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Kevin, for your faith and support over the years. It has meant so much to me.
Kevin Myers leaves a dark place where his light no longer shines. His loss leaves a hole I cannot fill. I will miss his sense of fun, his energy and way of making me feel like I could conquer the world.
Fly free my friend, you will always be in my heart and mind.