I want to give my deepest condolences to Greg, Jemi, Alison, Dee and every other person who was important to Amy. The list of people she touched is very long, as she was an important part of our lives. I know we are all in shock about her passing. I have so many strong memories of Amy that I wanted to share some of them with you.
I probably would not have Polestar Farm if it was not for Amy being in my life. Well, I might, but I definitely would not be the person I am today without her. Amy was one of the first people I sought out when I quit grad school at Davis and raced north to have a career in horses. At the time, I didn’t really know that I would have a career – I just wanted to have a good time with the two horses I owned at the time! Amy immediately welcomed me into her barn and we rekindled a friendship that we started back in grade school on the soccer field.
I have really great memories of the old farm, Mapleleaf on Novelty Hill. It was a small facility that had friends in every stall – Dee Strand, Lexi Lind, Janet VonPressentin, Leigh Mesher and myself managed to not fight too much and developed a little pack of people all wanting the best for each other. Amy was the ringleader, as her strong personality dictated. Anybody who knew her as a youngster could have predicted that this young lady was going to be one tough cookie when she got wings! She helped all of us learn and ride as well as we could and she kept us on the conservative and smart path with every single horse. Because Amy was a full time firefighter during that time, we all helped chip in to make sure the chores and riding were done perfectly, it was a cooperative in some ways. Greg, bless his heart (one of her favorite sayings) was always rolling his eyes at our soap opera life out there in the barn, yet never turned anyone away when we needed a neutral friend most.
I lived with Amy and Greg for a spell or two, and it was one of the formative, life changing times in my life. Without Amy, I don’t think that I would be the professional rider that I am today. She helped me believe in my skills from the very start. She steered me to buy Blueprint, and then he became the next most formative thing in my riding life. Amy and I traveled together for most of two years – gathering up as many qualifications as we could. We camped out in her un-insulated, unheated trailer for shows in the snow and blistering heat. Our goals being quite common: Get Blueprint and Poggio qualified for their first CCI** and then move up to Advanced. We were both so driven that nothing seemed impossible. And looking back, it does seem like a fairy tale. Poggio ending up being one of the best eventing horses America has ever seen and Blueprint being my solid Advanced horse for 7 years. Both horses and us running over countless full format courses, and driving home with smiles on our faces. We always told each other that the longer we drove to an event, the more important it was to go clear XC. Otherwise, the return trip was more and more torturous given every mile we had to relive a silly run out. Funny enough, those never happened. I was always so well prepared for what I aimed to do under her guidance and ambition.
Amy’s drive and resolve flowed over everyone around her, like a fog. Suddenly, you were enveloped in it, for better or worse. She was a complicated person, and I always believe that she spoke better “horse” than “people”. She often gave off an impression of being gruff and impersonal. Until you knew her better, she could be maddeningly undiplomatic. I often felt like she stepped on my toes as a friend, but I always knew that I could depend on her for anything and vice versa. If there was friction between us for something, it was erased quite quickly because of the depth of the friendship. She meant what she said and didn’t waste anybody’s time. Foremost, I appreciated the professional way that she conducted herself. She refused to get caught up in social melodrama and stayed true to her course. You have to admire anybody who knows themselves and their destiny that well, her path never budged. If she stepped on your toes on the way, she would sincerely apologize but you probably could have seen that it was coming had you thought about it. Amy never was un-Amy.
Today, Ive run the whole gamut of emotions about her death. Ive cried, laughed, been confused and mad. Im stuck on crying, but the girls in the barn helped me laugh when they pointed out that we can remember her by planting tulips in the trench she left on my driveway a few weeks ago. She nearly sunk her giant trailer in the wetlands when she missed a critical turn. I think that would be fitting, since she was always calling someone “Tulip” if they were not quite as tough as they should be and its also fitting that she will leave a deep, clear path that I will look at every single day for the next year. I think we will call it Amy’s Memorial Trench.
Rest in peace Amy, you touched so many people.