|Valie with Kyle Rao in the saddle|
Four Winds Farm in North Oxford, MA
"....sometimes you get to experience one of those chance encounters with a person that has a deep impact on your life and it happens when you need it most! The anomaly is that when this occurs, you suddenly find yourself wondering how you managed to get by prior to meeting such a person. As for me, I did experience one of those once in a lifetime events by meeting a young man named Kyle Rao and it happened when I was going through multiple surgeries during the winter of 2010 - 2011."
As one surgery turned into multiple surgeries, I was neglecting my horse Valie because I was in and out of surgery and I was often in pain. In addition to feeling very guilty about not being with him on a daily basis, I was misssing him like crazy. During that time, I received a call from my trainer/instructor, Jamie, the owner of Four Winds Farm. She wanted to know how I felt about letting one of her students ride and care for Valie. Now, since I have the utmost trust in Jamie, I immediately said yes but I never expected how much care he would really receive!
Over a period of a few weeks, Jamie and her barn manager Caitlin relayed reports about the first few rides that Kyle had on Valie and when I was able to get down to the barn, albeit only a few times, I was happy to find that my horse was in excellent shape as it related to grooming, weight gain and even muscle development. His coat gleamed, his mane, ears, muzzle, etc. were pulled, clipped and so forth and he looked content and happy! I began to wonder about this young man and was anxious to learn more. I found that he was a senior in high school, didn't have a lot of riding years under his belt but had excelled from his very first time in the saddle. Now, even though my guy Valie is quiet and has a good, honest mind, he's still a Thoroughbred and he has his moments. However, Kyle handled him with patience and understanding. In other words, this young man took the time to get to know my horse, to bond with him and to care for him as if he was his own.
In the interim, we began to chat on the phone and I knew right away that this kid was all-right! He never failed to keep me updated via email and texts and when Valie had a minor paddock accident that resulted in a corneal injury, Kyle was right there for both of us!
This young man had managed to enrich the life of my horse and while doing so he gave me serenity and with that came the peace-of-mind I needed to focus on my recovery. I now have renewed faith in young people. We often hear the down-side of the "kids of our times" and when the media sensationalizes gangs, drugs, etc., we rarely see the good role models. However, when one comes along that does what he says he'll do and does so with care and consideration for the task at hand, that's when you know there's hope for our future!
I think it's very important to share positive stories about the young people of today; therefore, if you know anyone like Kyle Rao or you just want to comment on this story, please feel free to do so!