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Tribute To Bethany Vaughn



(Editor’s note: The following was read by announcer Mark Farrar before the start of the Saturday morning academy session at the recent Blue Ridge Classic Horse Show.)

 

Fourteen-year-old Bethany Vaughn of Helena, Ala., was tragically killed in an unlikely accident on July 16 while she was riding a non-Saddlebred lesson horse at Rocking S Farm during summer camp.

         

Rocking S Farm could have been considered her second home. Just a month before her passing, she wrote, “I really love what I do. And that would be riding horses. I love it! I really think that it’s a job, but I think it’s what I was meant to do. I’ve never been so happy in my life. And I have the greatest teacher ever.”

         

Suzanne Schnetzler, her instructor, remembers Bethany’s first lesson. “It was like she had ridden all of her life. Bethany went to her first show after only three months of riding lessons and placed second and fourth. Her second show, only a few months later, she placed first and second. She was so dedicated and driven to learn absolutely everything about horses. She loved being at the barn and always worked hard, always being there to help us when we needed it the most.

         

Bethany was gifted both as a rider and as a friend. We all love her still and will miss her at our barn. Her sweet presence will always be there, urging us to always do our best. So, through our tears we smile. in fact, it is at the insistence of her parents that we all found the strength, courage and presence of mind to be here today.

         

Today as the Rocking S Farm riders show, their eyes may brim with tears, but in their hearts is a vibrant rainbow left there by their friend that shared their love and passion for these majestic animals. Bethany touched each of their lives and a part of her exuberant spirit will like on in each of them.

         

Just days ago, this testament was discovered by Bethany’s parents:

         

“I never wanted much, just a few dogs, some horses, but most of all land. Land with rolling hills freckled with wild flowers and giant oak, pecan and apple trees. I want a quiet place, somewhere that I can read, somewhere I can think. It really saddens me to see all of these people in such a hurry. They never stop to watch the clouds pass by; they just run around underneath them, letting their beauty go unnoticed. God has given us such a beautiful, glorious Earth, yet despite its beauty, hardly anyone stops to recognize or appreciate it. I promise, if you lay down and watch the clouds or stars for any amount of time, your thoughts will be just as vivid as mine are now. It is like they capture you in a net of thoughts. When I watch them I think of what it would be like to stand in front of God.”

         

Today, all of the Rocking S riders wear a single pearl that was given to them by Bethany’s mother. Bethany always wore pearls. While July 16 was a very sad day, their barn family and the “Rocking S Rockettes” are here today to honor Bethany and to ride for her.

         

A memorial gazebo is being built in Bethany’s honor, funded by donations made to Rocking S Farm. Also a scholarship to fund riding lessons for a child that would not otherwise be able to take lessons is being set up at the farm.

         

Please join us in honoring the memory of Bethany Vaughn.

 

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