photo by Mike Frye
The missive this morning hit me like a steamroller/ton of bricks/lead weights et al., crushing the breath right out of me. Her newly widowed husband had navigated his wife's Facebook page and informed her friends near and afar that after a confirmation of an extremely rare cancer but two days ago and concomitant appalling news that there were only days left, she had died at the hospital within 36 hours and that the cremation funeral was this coming Friday, tomorrow.
Horse-keeping still retains the oral tradition of learning amongst individuals to compare notes, be it from horse-trainers, veterinarians or fellow horse-owning buddies. I have had three horse mentors, my friend Mary Kay, bassist of THE DOGS with whom I spent many happy years trail-riding together until she got even more serious about her life's work of rock and roll and sold her last horse to a mutual friend; Christy Monfort my current horse Indy's trainer extraordinaire who took it upon herself to bring me up to speed along with my then young and extremely feisty National Show Horse (so named Indiana Jones because he was an adventure to ride;) and Ginny Frye whom I initially met online through her capacity as the friendliest board of directors' member ever of the otherwise somewhat rather occasionally prone to snobbery National Show Horse Registry.
Ginny was a successfully winning showhorsewoman with a specialty in driving our notoriously highstrung National Show Horses and Arabians, and was a true, unprejudiced horse appreciator. She later found Norwegian Fjord horses to her liking and happily took up trail-riding her beloved Fjord Hoover, just because the breed are such cool little equines. Residing in Vermont and then North Carolina with her husband Mike and horses, Ginny and I shared a longtime correspondence and fortunately one in person stayover visit as she wanted to meet Indy. Indy promptly payed his respects to his NSH Board of Directors' member by picking up then flinging a flake of hay on her head, something he had never done before nor has done since. She just cracked up.
She also encouraged me to enter my horse Indy in the NSH Registry debut category of "Sport Horse of the Year, 2002" for his High Point Championship in Dressage under his wins with aforementioned trainer Christy Monfort (I'd only placed second on him in my far lower level Dressage shows) since they counted training shows as well as A-class ones the one year I could afford to show. So there in the American Show Horse Association (of all horse breeds and disciplines) for all time is its first winner in the National Show Horse category, Sport Horse High Point of the Year 2002: Indiana Jones RLB owned by Heather Harris.
Above, Indy showing with his trainer Christy Monfort first 2 photos; Indy and I trail riding in our dressage saddle as is our wont.
She was a razor sharp wit, whip smart, highly educated and appreciative of same when mutually encountered. Her online advice on now dormant NSH chats to rookies frequently proved hilarious. She once led on some youngster that the correct way to stop a runaway carriage horses in the show ring was to hurl yourself Roy Rogers style onto their furiously galloping backs and wrestle them to a halt... Not!!! Or when queried what the ancestral breeding of National Show Horses was, she began quoting "Well... Allah took part of the East winds and the spirit of the West winds and fashioned it into the holy horses...or something..." (quoting apocryphal mists of time legends of the Arabian Horse breed.)
She considered me a genuine free spirit rather than a write-off flake like some arty types she knew. She was generous to a fault. We had still exchanged Xmas gifts all these seventeen years later. But the gift I most treasured remained her constant encouragement and appreciation of my better half and me throughout our respective serious travails. Yes...we of the rather oddball backgrounds and creative arts vocations for the staidly traditional sport of horses. That's her gift I'll take with me everywhere forever. Rest in peace Ginny Frye.